Five Questions for Marijpol

Copyright: MarijpolMarijpol, born 1982 in Berlin, studied communication and illustration at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts (Hochschule für Bildende Künste / Hamburg), the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften / Hamburg) and at the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem, under Anke Feuchtenberger and Stefano Ricci, among others. Her comics appear in magazines and anthologies such as Canicola, Orang und Spring. In 2012 she was awarded the ICOM Prize in the category Best scenario for her first graphic novel Trommelfels. Marijpol lives and works in Hamburg. 2013, the publication of her second book Eremit was recognised with an exhibition at the Swiss comic festival Fumetto.

Your comics deal with death, dying, isolation – and the experience of being human. How do your stories emerge?

Often a single motif is at the beginning of a story. In the case of Eremit it was a split-open head. The story I weave around this motif derives from personal experience and an intention to bring the motif into a comprehensible context. In the stories I deal with things that I’m thinking about in my life at the moment, in a coded kind of way. Sometimes it’s only with time that I myself understand all the levels I’ve addressed in the drawings.

Your figures move between fantasy, esotericism and surrealism – how do they arise?

My ideas arise out of a conglomerate of impressions that I collect when I’m half asleep, in daily life, films and books. At the start of the process of finding an image is always an interest in the drawing aspects – in other words, the fascination of fathoming an object through drawing. The fact that the characters in my stories seldom look like normal people has to do with my interest in body symbolism: how does outward appearance influence character and vice-versa? How does my body feel in particular psychological states? I try to make visible these subjective and subconscious feelings.

Marijpol: Eremit

How was your stay at the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem?

During my stay I was scarcely able to realise my creative plans; first of all I had to take in the complexity of the situation in Jerusalem sink in. The daily routine at the art academy wasn’t all that different from Hamburg, except for my sense of being inside a bubble. Exploring Jerusalem was much more exciting that spending my time at the university. This way I collected a lot of impressions that I later processed creatively.

How do your contacts with publishers or magazine editorial boards come about?

Anthologies such as Orang or Spring come from Hamburg, and the people in charge were often my fellow students. I studied in the midst of the lively Hamburg comic scene. Contact with the editors of the Italian anthologies came about through my former teachers at the University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg, Stefano Ricci and Anke Feuchtenberger. Other contacts happen through the Internet or at comic festivals.

You’ve exhibited in Paris and Lucerne: what is your experience of the comic scene in other countries?

Comic festivals or exhibitions in other countries, where mainly comic enthusiasts gather, mostly have a very motivating effect on me. I return to my drawing table fulfilled and totally energised, finally reassured once again that there is in fact an audience for my stories. The comic scene in France or Belgium is much larger and therefore more diverse than in Germany. I have the impression that unconventional, less-accessible artistic postures are therefore accepted as a matter of course to a greater degree.

Rieke Harmsen conducted the interview.

Copyright: Goethe-Institut e. V., Internet-Redaktion
December 2013

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