The ups and downs of Anu Ambasna’s personal practice, from NTS comics to Zayn Malik fan-fiction

Not shying away from the lower points in life, the illustrator and DJ shared how her long-lasting love of music and drawing helped her through the tougher times in June’s Nicer Tuesdays.

14 July 2022


It’s a well known fact that artistic expression is good for the soul, and no one quite represents this better than Anu Ambasna. The London-based illustrator, DJ and regular NTS host gave us a joyful insight into her world, from the very beginnings of her practice, to how she now managed to merge her two biggest loves – drawing and music. Starting off with her childhood, Anu confessed her love of comics, taking us all the way through to her teenage years and early adulthood, when she studied an illustration degree at London College of Communication and moved to Berlin – which, in Anu’s words, were both a bit “shit”. It was independently crafting her own voice, however, which eventually resulted in her first exhibition Whos is Snax? featuring a recurring figure based on Zayn Malik fan-fiction. “It’s a really weird corner of the internet to go down”, Anu laughed.

Anu also didn’t shy away from the lower points, discussing taking a break from drawing in 2017 after “hitting rock bottom”. The year 2020 understandably induced a “massive freak out” when her main source of income, DJing, was no longer an option. However, Anu then found herself once again using her “most powerful tool” – her hands, and observing everything around her and putting it into comics. Since then, Anu’s career and creativity has well and truly flourished. In the talk, we saw a breakdown of her first long form comic for East London Comic and Arts Festival – Corporate Fatigue – which tapped into the well-known yet creatively unexplored phenomenon so well. After an “overwhelming response from people who really related to it”, Anu released I’m Not Busy, I’m Not Free, a brilliant culmination of all of her previous years of hard work and passion. “It’s overwhelming that I can connect with people through my art and my music”, Anu concluded her talk, “it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

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Nicer Tuesdays is our monthly event of creative talks. You can find out more here.

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