Four Questions for: Aisha Franz

Aisha Franz was born in 1984 in Fürth, Franconia (Bavaria). She studied at the Kassel School of Art and Design and lives in Berlin as a comic artist. Her debut album “Alien” was published by Reprodukt Verlag in 2011 and tells the story of an eleven-year old girl who takes in an extraterrestrial being. In 2012 a collection of tales about “Brigitte” will be issued by Reprodukt as well.

In your sequel to “Brigitte,” a dog who also a secret agent, goes in search of a black-lipped pearl oyster. It appears as though you developed the idea from a spontaneous idea. Right?

Exactly, I began totally spontaneously with it – I even got the cover as my very first picture, and simply found “Brigitte” appealing and attractive. I felt like telling her story right away. I often get into a kind of narrative flow when I’m drawing; the characters begin to determine the story themselves. That was the case with “Brigitte.” But most of all it was the fact that I was having fun with it. It did me good to just be absorbed by a project that was as intensive as “Alien,” and to simply go ahead and draw without placing any particular demands on myself, and just enjoy it.

Brigitte first appeared in your own publishing company, “My Own Press.” Why?

What I like about mini-comics, fanzines and self-publishing is that you can both realise and publish relatively spontaneous projects just as spontaneously. Exactly this “imperfect,” raw and experimental quality is the charm of self-published booklets. I like both: larger-scale projects that challenge me as well as less-ambitious projects that I print and staple in a copy shop and can sell or give away at festivals. With the publishing company and the collective "The Treasure Fleet" that I founded together with six other Berliners, I can distribute my work at festivals and trade fairs and make contacts. And I have a continuing exchange with other artists, without which I would be sitting alone at my drawing board all the time.

What experiences, what inspiration have you taken with you from your studies with Hendrik Dorgathen in Kassel?

It was through my studies and Hendrik Dorgathen that I came to draw comics in the first place. Hendrik introduced us to the medium, acquainted us with numerous artists and awakened my interest in it. For me, comics quickly revealed themselves to be the most interesting way to tell stories. The Kassel School of Art and Design gave me the necessary space to try things out for myself. The course of study there is very open and free, you are not subjected to any structures or seminar requirements. That was very important to me personally. I have taken a lot of individual initiative and good artist colleagues and friends with me, people one can work with later on, as well.

Are you able to make a living drawing comics?

I can’t support myself with comics yet. I earn money irregularly through illustration commissions or readings, and I have a side job in addition. At the moment I am trying to create enough time and space with these jobs so that I can realise my projects. I am more than content with this. Let’s see what the future brings.

  • Aisha Franz: “Alien,” Reprodukt-Verlag Berlin 2011 
  • Aisha Franz: “Brigitte,” Reprodukt-Verlag Berlin 2012
Rieke Harmsen
Copyright: Goethe-Institut e. V., Internet-Redaktion

February 2012
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