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Disa Wallander: Spare Me

Work / Illustration

Illustrator Disa Wallander’s work tries to understand the world we live in

Disa Wallander’s latest zine Spare Me, published by Glasgow-based O Panda Gordo, is an attempt “to impart the overwhelming feeling of beauty in the world,” the Swedish illustrator tells It’s Nice That. “The theme of the comic is climate anxiety and an impending sense of doom that people in my generation have grow up with and not knowing whether you’re going to live to see some very drastic changes on the planet”. Made over a few weeks, the comic is the result of Disa’s urge to “to write something about sweetness mixed with my own dread about the future”.

Spare Me takes the form of a “running commentary” (literally and visually), featuring an open conversation of two or more differing perspectives on the topic of climate anxiety. “I have an obsession with existentialism driving me towards meta-fiction because it somehow feels like the only honest way for me to write, to admit that nothing is certain and that there is always another way to look at something”, Disa explains. Through using collage, the illustrator set herself a “fun challenge to work out how to show this visually, and I’m happy to have found a new way around it in this comic”.

The final publication is filled with playful, mixed-media compositions featuring Disa’s photography and illustrations that reflect her “strong and specific emotions” during the image-making. It’s been a long process to develop this style, “but I feel so happy with it” Disa explains. “Mixed media allows me to use absolutely everything around me… That’s also how I write, clashing things against each other and seeing how they feel!” The illustrator adds how “the element of surprise is very important to me in art-making, and that’s not possible for me to get if I’m drawing or painting — the hand guides too much, it knows too well where to go. Collage is always surprising!”

Disa views her work as a pursuit towards understanding, “I make new work to try to understand myself and the world I live in as best I can”. She seeks out academic writing on her topics of interest; citing academia as “a treasure trove of poetry and information”. Inspired by “anything that holds fascination” and picked up some of her comics literacy from Kentaru Miura’s Berserk and Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece.

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Disa Wallander: Spare Me

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Disa Wallander: Spare Me

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Disa Wallander: Spare Me

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Disa Wallander: Spare Me

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Disa Wallander: Spare Me

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Disa Wallander: Spare Me

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Disa Wallander: Spare Me