“I want to explore all the absurdity, humour and weirdness floating around my generation” says illustrator and comics artist Marie Weber. For quite some time now, the Strasbourg-based artist has been interested in social media and how we interact and communicate with it. The Seminar, her most recent comic, is another example of Marie threading those themes into her work.
It was during a 10 day residency at the Clubhouse in Berlin last year that she was introduced to the risograph process. Impressed by the “richness and finesse” of Johanna Maierski’s work, Marie wanted to begin exploring the realm of digital colours. Previously she’s regularly worked with monotypes, a form of printmaking made by drawing or painting on a smooth surface. She started making etched monotypes during her studies, developing a more experimental approach to the medium which meant she could work from home, or anywhere else for that matter.
“Monotypes were already a giant playground for me” says the illustrator, “but adding colour through risograph opened a new door for me.” The Seminar was written as a means to explore relationships, particularly the intimacy “between a group of people that have really different personalities, situated in an unusual context like a hotel spa for example.” The short story takes place across 24 hours in which the group of people have to band together to form “the perfect work team.” Together, the characters explore themes of recognition, status and self-esteem; “This story obviously involves my obsession with the internet” adds in Marie, “and the idiot ideas that arise out of it.”
Deconstructing the traditional comics grid, the narrative can be followed smoothly and clearly through Marie’s illustrations and accompanying text. Through the comic, Marie explores the realisation that while she was “making fun of silly social behaviours, at the same time, [she] was also partaking in these behaviours.”
Utilising this point of view, Marie constructed a storyline she “found interesting to question”. Through comics, she was able to visually explore some “absurd situations” which sparked some paradoxical opinions within the illustrator. “I think I like being in a deadlock where an answer is missing or not obvious, specifically when it’s about communication” she adds on the subject. “It’s why all the characters I draw have a strong body language. It helps me to evoke people’s interactions, adding another kind of dialogue to the story which in turn, strengthens the relationships that I explore.”
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