06 Jul Girls & Comics (III): Mirena Ossorno #issue10
Interview: Diana Cubo
How would your biography begin? (Where you are from, where you live, etc.)
Mirena Ossorno (Denia, Alicante, 1987) studied illustration at La Massana and, for over half a decade, has been designing for all types of graphic media. In 2009, she created the fanzine Sueño Samoano and, in 2013, the feminist publication Bulbasaur with Andrea Alvarado and Blanca Miró. (Keep reading on Fulgencio Pimentel website)
When did your interest in illustration start? And specifically in comics?
My interest in comics started before illustration, which came about because I wanted to go to art school and also to Barcelona, but I don’t identify with the idea of illustrator they teach you at Massana. I started to be seriously interested in comics when I was around 16 years old. A friend lent me his comics, but they were about superheroes and seemed pretty boring to me. Then I discovered Daniel Clowes, Preacher, Akira, and Ed Brubaker’s Lowlife. At that time, I saw a drawing I loved that made me think, “I want to do this”. It was a drawing of a zombie Traci Lords walking down a sidewalk and exuding a “too cool for school” attitude. I recently discovered that drawing was by Benjamin Marra, I don’t know why it took me so long to know it was his.
What inspires you when making comics, personal experiences or crazy thoughts?
Both. I like it when our everyday life has a comic and surreal tinge to it, which occurs rather more often than we think. What happens is that we are sleepwalking our life away –or perhaps that’s why those situations arise. I think I have a somewhat peculiar view of the world, something I consider important to differentiate your speech or your universe or whatever you call it from others. For the moment, I wouldn’t be able to write about a middle-aged doctor in 19th century London, but talking about girls like me, well, look, I do know how to do that. From there on, the sky is the limit.
Who are your favourite comic-book writers?
When I started to work on Sensación de vivir, I suffered a mental block as a reader of comics, until I discovered Seiichi Hayashi and then Kiriko Nananan. Right now, I have a mad desire to read Eguchi Hisashi and Seizō Watase. Of the latter, I have seen some Japanese editions on Tumblr that are amazingly pretty, but they make them a trifle ugly here I think. And since forever, I’m very fond of Dori Seda, Julie Doucet, Nazario, the comic strip cartoons Ceesepe made in the 80s, Miguel Calatayud, Mariscal. I have the feeling I’m leaving many out.
What would you say has been your professional milestone?
Sensación de vivir.
Is it possible to live off making comics in Spain or unfortunately do you need to have another job to pay the bills?
Some people do get by, but for now, I don’t, but I hope I will. It’s also true that I like to do other things, like working for i-D for example. It’s fun, and I get some extra dough.
At present in Spain, many groups and artists support each other. Who have you worked with?
Fosfatina and Tik Tok Comics have just published Teen Wolf, an anthology in which I participated together with many more female authors.
Apart from the endless hours spent at comic and self-publishing festivals, what positive experiences do you get from this?
When you get to know people in your trade, spend time walking around between beers, and meet the people who buy your fanzine or comic. At this year’s Libros Mutantes book fair, for example, I saw a woman who was with a group of students with special education needs. She was showing them some of the pages from my comic that had some sexual content, and all of them were kind of hiding and laughing as is they were in shock but wanting to keep on looking. It was very cute and funny.
Would you say that it is difficult to be in the world of comics being a girl?
For me, it isn’t. I’ve worked both with women (Ana Galvañ from Tik Tok website) and men (Fulgencio Pimentel and Toni from Apa Apa). My comic is, intentionally, quite girly, but I’ve noticed I get more feedback from men rather than from women, I don’t know why.
Tell us a little about your current work and upcoming projects.
In 2015, I stopped working for Fanzine Bulbasaur, and since then I’ve left the whole world of self-publishing and fanzines aside. Right now, I’m focused on my next comic, and I’d also like to do more stuff related to textile printing. What I’ve noticed in recent months is that what I’ve liked since I was little is imagine stories and characters. In the future, I’d like to try other ways to tell those stories, such as writing film scripts or something like that.
Where can we see your stuff and buy everything?
Fulgencio Pimentel publishing house do things very well and supply stuff to the most popular bookshops, but if you really love them, Berni and César, you can also buy my comic and much more on their web.
The towels I made for Labrador, a subdivision of Terranova Editorial, are sold here.
I also sell the posters I make for concerts here.
And even more! Painting makes me very happy, so if you want to make your pad look stylish, send me a DM <3