Where does the inspiration for your artworks come from?
I watch series and films, read books and go to museums to come across stuff that inspires me. I’ve also always been fascinated by German fairytale symbolism and psychological archetypes. But mostly, I think, I get ideas from having a body and feeling a certain way in it – anxious about its changes, about how it looks, fearful that its processes are largely not under my control, curious about all its sensations and emotions and amazed that this body is mine to steer through this mess of a world. I process these feelings in fantasies. Mostly to turn an alien feeling into an image to be able to look at it.
Do you feel a new upcoming era of the medieval theme?
I feel it but I reject it. Apart from some welcome hobby escapism and visual fancy, I don’t want any part in it. I am very bored by some old “medieval” narratives that don’t take today’s world into account. I also hate oversimplification and don’t wanna give in to it. I try to hold opposing truths at the forefront of my mind. I don’t always succeed. I think a good conclusion for most arguments today that things are complicated.
How would you define your style and technique?
I would call the style I’m showcasing here ‘Photoshop Magic’. Or ‘Gradient Galore’? It has developed out of the need to escape another style of mine: I’ve been working on a long comic book for years in simple pencil drawings. When I get tired of working on that story (it has a logical narrative in a more or less realistic setting), I need to escape to something with a different texture and feel. This is how I started these digital collages or paintings. They exist on some otherworldly plane far away from the pencil dimension for sure.
If you could pick one medieval weapon, what would it be and why?
A simple spiked mace seems effective.
But if there were magic, I’d take a spell for flying. In times of war, I would become a birdlike creature without the need to care for all the trouble on the ground. But then I’d forget that I was a human and would start picking at the corpses like a common vulture.
Is there any repetitive theme/tale/story that appears in your artwork?
I might have thought too much about that. My impulse used to be that being repetitive in art is bad until it dawned on me that we’re probably all telling the same story over and over again with different levels of clarity?
About ten years ago, I thought my underlying theme was the concept of the ‘Inside’: a woman in a cave, a lung within a ribcage, a box in a box in a box and so on – basically, the quest of looking inside to find some deeper truth.
Then something changed – what if the ‘Inside’ was empty? An empty shell, a box in a box in a box and then nothing? Maybe looking within was pointless. To find meaning, let’s look outside at… other people? So, lately, I feel repetitious in telling stories about connection. People meeting people and trying to connect, sometimes successfully, sometimes in vain.
Are there any new projects of yours coming this year?
I hope to finish and publish a long story that I’ve been working on for a couple of years.
It is about three women who live together as roommates. Their life consists of their respective work and their friendship. Their bodies are special: Ulla is a fat giantess, Petra is a very muscular bodybuilder and Denise has modified her body by merging it with a serpent. The girlfriends spend their evenings at home together drinking and talking.
When they come across three neglected children in their neighborhood, the women take them under their wings. Their different ways of taking care of or not caring very much about the children become apparent and some kind of family forms.
The central questions are: what influences have the characteristics of my body on my life? And what influence can I have on my body? As a woman, how do I deal with my own and the general expectation of wanting to be a mother or to be maternal at all?
This story will not look anything like what you see showcased in this article (It’s boring old pencil work). But as an escape from their world, I took the three protagonists on a mythical stroll in another dimension:
BIO/ Marijpol (*1982) is a German comic artist and illustrator based in Hamburg. Her books and self-published zines revolve around themes like physicality and identity. Her work appears in anthologies like Orang, Mould Map and Lagon Revue. She also teaches workshops and has lectured at several Design Universities where her focus lies on the development of stories that are unique to their makers.