Leipzig and the World
Anna Haifisch publishes comics in New York and co-founded a comic festival in Leipzig: this is how the illustrator combines her fascination with US culture, local engagement and her penchant for the independent.
By Stefan Pannor
At a glanceBorn in Leipzig in 1986, Anna Haifisch studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig from 2004 to 2011. She worked in the USA in 2008. In 2013 she was a co-founder of the Millionaires Club in Leipzig, one of the city’s two annual independent comic festivals. Von Spatz, her first book, was published in 2015.
The ambivalent DisneyIn Von Spatz, Haifisch tells the (fictitious) story of Walt Disney’s stay in a psychiatric clinic. This is a comedy of lost illusions: Haifisch’s Disney would like to be a great artist but is merely a gifted manager. His animated film studio goes to rack and ruin in his absence, as the comic explains: “The animators had built themselves little trenches from which they shot sharp pieces of metal at the colourists.” Why Disney? Anna Haifisch explains: “I find his vision and his work extremely impressive. Yet he is an ambivalent character: terribly domineering but at the same time extremely affectionate in his dealings with the drawings and animations.”
A special workIn 2015 and 2016, Haifisch’s The Artist comic strip appeared in the American online magazine Vice. This was the result of a coincidence: “The US cartoonist Alex Schubert had recommended me because he had found one of my comic books in a shop in New York.” And it was this coincidence that brought Haifisch her international breakthrough. Ever since, her books have also been regularly published in English. The Artist portrays the failed attempts by a nameless and pretentious artist to establish himself in the art scene. As Haifisch explains, the comic is not autobiographical, “but the protagonist does have a lot in common with me in terms of temperament”.
Minimalism and a visually alien-looking world are characteristic of Haifisch’s comics: The self-portrait is no exception.
The comic strip “The Artist” appeared in the American online magazine "Vice".
“The Artist” portrays the attempts of an artist to establish himself in the art scene. The drawings of the characters, the backgrounds, the colours and in many cases even the events are reduced to the bare minimum.
In “Von Spatz”, Anna Haifisch tells the (fictitious) story of Walt Disney’s stay in a Californian psychiatric clinic.
During the tale, other well-known artists also appear in an alienated form, such as the illustrator Tomi Ungerer who asks Walt Disney for advice.