Interview: Diana Cubo
How would your biography begin? (Where you are from, where you live, etc.)
My autobiography: My name is Teresa, I live and work in London, and I was born in Santiago de Compostela in 1989. I studied fine art in Pontevedra, which changed my life. If I had studied medicine, as I thought at first, I would have gone crazy.
When did your interest in illustration start? And specifically in comics?
I’ve always liked to do creative things. I’ve drawn since my locomotive abilities allowed me and I began to make very bad comics at the age of five or six, more or less when I started to read them. Later, at about ten or eleven, I remember doing homemade fanzines with sheets of paper and a stapler. God, I need to find them. At first, they were the most cloying plagiaries of Ranma ½ and Marmalade Boy. Then I started to become more creative. I should have continued with those projects. [laughs]
What inspires you when making comics, personal experiences or crazy thoughts?
I’m inspired as much by my own personal experiences as by other people. In fact, I think all my favourite authors or the comics that impressed me the most have a strong autobiographical burden.
Who are your favourite comic-book writers?
Oh my, I have many favorite authors. So I’ll try to narrow down the list.
The Hermanos Hernández, authors of Love and Rockets, are one of my favourite artists. I’d especially recommend the Palomar saga by Beto Hernández, which begins with the comic book Sopa de gran pena. If you love Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, if you like magical realism, you should read it. I also admire Alison Bechdel. I’d recommend Dykes to Watch Out For and Fun House. She has a very strong political vision and reflects the LGBT community from within; in any case, I feel that I’m learning with her books. In Dykes to Watch Out For, there is a blank page about the twin towers that resulted in me crying on the bus.
In short: Daniel Clowes, Adrian Tomine, Peter Bagge, Taiyo Matsumoto, Mimi Pond, Junji Ito, Ai Yazawa, Ludovic Debeurme, Power Paola, Conor Stechschulte, Alberto Vázquez.
What would you say has been your professional milestone?
I was proud to finish Coming of Age in Samil (1 and 2) one summer; I drew it in three months because I wanted to present it in a market. During that time, I drew non-stop and everywhere, while still doing a thousand things; I didn’t stop travelling, and I remember inking on the beach. Such a mess. I wish I always worked like that.
Is it possible to live off making comics in Spain or unfortunately do you need to have another job to pay the bills?
It depends on the kind of life you want to lead. But, from my point of view, being an artist and especially a comic artist is a job that doesn’t allow you to have enough economic stability to enjoy a peaceful future. Most comic artists have to look for another job, even as illustrators. Of course, either you’re rich, or at some point, you’ll have to accept assignments.
At present in Spain, many groups and artists support each other. Who have you worked with?
In Spain with Orfidal, Hit With Tits, Migas, Revista PORNO, Vomitorium, Comics y Cigarrillos, Finnegans, and other collectives and fanzines that are not Spanish. But if you mean collectives of a feminist nature, I think the first two I mentioned from Spain; then Girls Get Busy in the USA, and I’ve collaborated with the techno-feminist collective Siren (UK).
I think we support each other because it’s hard out there. [laughs] I think there’s a good atmosphere in that sense in the world of comics.
Apart from the endless hours spent at comic and self-publishing festivals, what positive experiences do you get from this?
A lot of them. When I moved to London, I didn’t start to feel at home until I began to attend those festivals. Surrounding yourself with people with your same interests and priorities is important. I consider that I made contacts that have led me to know more about other festivals or simply cultural events that caught my attention. I’ve seen what other artists do, and what independent publishers and collectives there are. You listen to their good recommendations and make friends. It’s worth it just for that.
Would you say that it is difficult to be in the world of comics being a girl?
Well, I’d say that women are still more disadvantaged than men are in general and I don’t think the comic world is an exception. But personally, I haven’t felt discriminated against when presenting my work, and I want to think that the world of comics, being counterculture, is a little better educated regarding social discrimination.
Tell us a little about your current work and upcoming projects.
So far, I’ve published some comics by myself, Coming of Age in Samil (1 and 2), Cheap (1 and 2), and CACA. Some are in English because I live in England and want the people around me to be able to read them. I work in a screen-printing studio, and every time I can afford it, I like to print new copies. I try to go to markets once every two months. I’m very bad at doing anything online, so markets save my life.
I have a long project for the future, and something stops me when it comes to talking about it because I feel as if I will jinx it. But hey, it’s a comic, and it’s in Spanish. It’s about two people. One of them almost had one leg blown up in the Sahara desert at the age of 25, and the other was kidnapped at the age of 16 by an old man who sold cocaine, both of them based on real events.
Where can we see your stuff and buy everything?
You can contact me for assignments at email@example.com. I refuse to use Gmail. I have some articles on:
Through my blog, you can go to my web, Tumblr, etc.: teresaferreiro.blogspot.co.uk
Thank you very much.