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Creating Ivanka and Meaning

November 4th, 2014

jerryhalldayAfter 5 Season’s of Corporate Working Beauty it was time for a break. It’s not that I am tired of Sarah, Claire or Isobel… I just wanted to try something different. Create something new. And the idea woke in me to create an interpreter!

Actually the idea came to me in an exchange with a good friend of mine who in fact is an interpreter, she often writes to me bits and pieces about her experiences. But then I wanted to know more and she wrote this hilarious mail about the “interpreter booth” and how it looks like an aquarium etc… It all sounded brilliantly hilarious and I had to make a story out of it!

So this is it. With many thanks to Barbara Hegels, this comic started its first steps. And so the next weeks you will be able to read all about Ivanka the Interpreter. Ivanka is by no means similar to my friend, I think… Nor is this story a documentary. However Barbara helps me to ground this story in reality and acts as the trusted creative consultant! I am very grateful for that!

And the reason this story has a earned a place on this page is that it is a story about a professional woman in a profession that has not yet been explored at Working Beauty. A story about managing the daily madness, a story about management bullshit. A story about deformation professionelle and many other things that Working Beauty is about!

So I invite you all to dive into that tale of meaning, translation and interpretation…

Hugs
Aldona

Let’s talk about Boob Envy!

August 26th, 2014

boobies2What’s with all the cleavage?

Someone once said that I draw nice cleavage… And I often ask myself why?! And by all means maybe I have to face the Freudian truth:

Do I have Boob Envy?

What do you think? And now, slow, don’t judge! It is perfectly fine for men to have penis envy (according to Sigmund Freud) but why shouldn’t it be fine for a woman to have boob envy? And the nerve… to talk about it!?

I used to like the band “Army of Lovers”. Because of the Boobs! I couldn’t get enough of them! And now as I grow older and wiser, and realise that my breasts won’t grow anymore, I notice I feel slightly envious of women with bigger breasticles! I mean, c’mon, I hate Monica Bellucci! I despise Sofia Vergara! Oh my, I tell you, if I had the funds… I swear!

No but joking aside. I do try to channel my psychological traumas into my artistic work, and that also results in… cleavage on display! I just love to hate, and hate to love cleavage! And am I allowed to say that as a woman? I often feel repressed about that, and I thought, why not just let it out!… Yes I have Boob Envy! My name is Aldona and I got Boob Envy! What a relief!?

What is it that you are envious of in other people?

Tell me about it! Really curious!

This is not a feminist statement by the way! Just a human notion, thank you!

Hugs
Aldona

queenofhearts3What is Inspiration?

Don’t ask me… Go google it. But to be brief, Oxford Dictionary provides us with a definition: “The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative”. That sounds simple enough, but then some things make us feel, but don’t inspire… like if a brick would fall on your foot, you’d feel that, but would it be inspirational? … Hmmm, now that I think of it, maybe it would be! But I digress…

What inspires me?

Every person is inspired by different things. I can tell you what I am inspired by… and in turn maybe inspire you to seek some of those inputs out. And I am also interested in hearing what inspires you.

1. Lying somewhere in the dark and looking up to the stars (hence that dreamy/lying picture for this post)… Always does the trick for me to inspire me and both make me feel insignificant and yet also purposeful…

2. Books… I am pretty flexible, although I prefer fiction. I can read Sophie Kinsella, Clive Barker (who some of you would find gruesome, … and yes, true… but also very reflective on life and death and everything in between), David Mitchell (oh my, don’t even get me started on him)…

3. Music. Some artists who inspire me are: Mylène Farmer, Lily Allen, Lana Del Rey but also oh so many more…

4. Animation Series… Funny you would think my work is mainly inspired by cartoons, but actually the reason I draw cartoons are animation series. I always revert to Japanese anime series for major inspiration. Neon Genesis Evangelion for example. But I grew up with Captain Harlock, Gigi, Candy-Candy and (non-Japanese) Mysterious City of Gold!

5. Animation Movies… Anything from the Ghibli Studios really. And no, not the Hollywood/Disney type of animation. With some exceptions those were nice to look at, but they never really inspired me. I implore you to watch Hayao Miyazake’s Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and/or Howl’s Moving Castle!

6. Movies… Go watch Lucy by Luc Besson (or even better, one of his previous efforts Angel-A… and I challenge you not to cry the last 10 minutes straight)! ’nuff said! (Oh and don’t even ask me if i like the new instalment of Transformers, because I didn’t see it and I don’t care!)

7. The Art of Drag… (and if you don’t know what I mean, then that one is probably not for you… or google RuPaul and find out for yourself)

Apart from that, of course other people inspire me CONSTANTLY (but that’s kind of obvious, isn’t it? We all inspire each other in this world)… conversations… trying to make sense of stuff!… But the one thing I try to avoid is daily news or movies based on true events (unless events were uplifting), because I find life to be somewhat depressing at times!

What inspires you?

I gave you quite a run for your money, haven’t I?… so please, let me know what inspires you! I am interested and very happy to broaden my horizon!! Bring it on!

Hugs
Aldona

somethinginmyshirtWhere’s the world at?

As an artist I am often overcome with emotions and sensations. And also by the darkness of the world at times. With conflicts in Israel and Ukraine, planes being shot out of the sky and wars in countless other places… How does that reflect on us? On our society? I ask myself many questions and I realise that some of that darkness has found a way into my work. I hope you don’t mind.

Why are we here? Where are we going?

What are your questions about our human existence? I am curious! Is it too heavy? I guess, that’s the process of reflection and learning. But answers are elusive. Working Beauty doesn’t want to answer questions either, but it wants to ask as many as possible. It is about our own accountability to evolve and create our paths… Individually and as a society with (hopefully) a twinkle in our eye and a smile!

So apart from the darkness, there is humour and there is courage… and if nothing else, I hope you get inspired by that. Oh, it’s good to talk about it and get it off my chest, … even though, I must say, I almost like that pink little fluffy thing…

Hope you continue to enjoy the story, and get ready for a suspenseful episode on Sunday that rivals vertigo!

Hugs
Adona

The Apocalyptic Question

July 15th, 2014

IMG_0120What do you experience when reading Working Beauty? Please let me know…

As my work feels very much in “transition”, and I often wonder where I am heading. Creatively. I know how the story will end this Season (at least to some extent) but as I have become more apocalyptic in my story, I realise that I have brought a lot more colour into the art. Which is an interesting contradiction. Maybe the color represents the amount of “fantasy” and “science-fiction” that I brought into Working Beauty. I always felt drawn to fantasy in my stories… but then that doesn’t alway turn out for the best.

The next episodes will become more and more coloured and as I was just drawing a new episode with black and white (and red), it felt like a return to true focus and form.

I am curious where the creative force will lead me…

 

What are the questions you ask when reading Working Beauty?

Or is it turning into Walking Beauty? Or Working Dead?

See what I did there? No? Oh well… written humour is not my forté!

I also want to say, thanks a lot for your support during the last weeks, every message, comment and thought certainly helped… I feel like I am slowly coming back to the living, but I do hunger for different creative outlets and projects… Which might also mean rethinking Working Beauty altogether!

Hugs

Adona

Artist Corner: What’s Business?

September 3rd, 2013

fb8As an artist I sometimes feel a bit different… I feel a bit different in general,… but because I’m an artist I feel even differenter (I just made that up). My main target is for readers to enjoy my art and my work, but I have a real difficulty to put a price on it… I often just want to give everything away for free. It’s an like an urge… and this website is a testament of that!

In a way my aim is to use a business model where everyone can enjoy the art, yet also be able to pay (if they want to). And I would be very grateful, if you appreciate the art AND have the means, please do contribute as it keeps me going and helps me finance my “life-passion”. I know that this is not the common business model of the world, but currently I am able to do that and offer you my work for … basically free.

People say, artists only become valuable when they’re dead… Well… I am happy to be cheap then. And so everyone can continue reading Working Beauty online for free, but I will soon offer downloadable ebooks with exclusive content to buy as well. That being said, one ebook coming out soon is … yes TOSAOM, there will be two verisons available, one is for free (or a donation of your choice) and a higher quality print version from 6.39 USD! and here’s some more artwork from that, for you to enjoy. (should I make any TOSAOM t-shirts? anyone interested?)

 

 

Like every respectable actress knows, a career starts with some B- or C-movies and they are later a bit ashamed of the nudity, the sillyness or the horror of their earlier efforts. Our comic-stars have exactly the same past… but they are not ashamed of their origins, as silly and naked as they might have been.

That’s why Working Beauty will proudly bring to you the first re-issue of the “Belladona” series (a set of comics from Aldona Kaczkowski before ‘Working Beauty’ was born) as a download for everyone (I offer it for free, BUT I am looking on putting it up on a plattform where YOU can actually decide how much it is worth for you to download… ):

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It’s coming 9th of September 2013

 

 

Dancing with the past…

August 27th, 2013
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The first page… can you spot Sarah, Claire and… oh wait Isobel had a completely different hairdo…

As announced earlier this month, I am working on restoring one of my older comic stories so I can put it on the web for my readers. It is one of my favorites, because I remember I put a lot of thought and work into it and it is up to now my most consistent comic story. It’s also very harsh, politically incorrect and sexist… Or what else would you call a comic story titled “Tits of Steel and Arses of Marble” (TOSAOM in short)

So at times I am having serious doubts if this work is relevant today, or to put it differently, if it reflects my current work. And while I think in some way it is not relevant, because I made it at the age of about 28, and I have changed just like my work did. I have matured (although often I think I’m just “playing” grown-up rather than being it). And my view of the world is different today than it was then. But then I think it still holds some good points.

As I said, I was “restoring” or “renovating” that comic page by page. And so I felt like dancing with my own past self. I remembered my thoughts, my mindsets and my moods at the time of drawing that particular piece of work. And while I don’t hold some of those moods or mindsets anymore the comic was an expression of who I was. And it was fun, reflective and sometimes painful to reconnect with who I used to be…

And while I was dancing with my own self, I realized that a lot of what I am doing now, was already present in my old work. I admit, it wasn’t subtle or maybe even intelligent, but some of what I try to convey with Working Beauty was already there. The harsh social commentary, the constant “battle” of the sexes and the testing of boundaries!

It’s also sexist! Not misogynistic!… Now funny thing is, I always have to look up what the opposite misogyny is, because I keep forgetting. And it’s actually misandry! The hatred of men… As a younger woman I felt I had to be misandrist. And while I thought at the time that it was because some men have disappointed me romantically (well who doesn’t make THAT experience) I now believe it was part of a bigger picture. I think I was often angry at how sexist the world is towards women, and how often I perceived it as unfair. And the only way for me to express that resentment was to try and balance it out with sexism that goes the other way.

Now, I know I would deal with this issue differently today, I still think this work is a good reminder of how women can be easily seen as the weaker sex and how “fun” it is to actually reverse the order of things… even if it is to some extent a bit … for the lack of a better word: immature.

With that teaser I let you look at two more of the “before” and “after” pictures of TOSAOM and hope you will read it once I am ready to put it out there… I am still trying to figure out how I put it online. Would you like to read it in a blog format in a Working Beauty subsection? (eg. every day a new page, so you can stretch the enjoyment into a 2 month period :-)), or should I create a special microsite for my old works and start of with TOSAOM (also blog format maybe?)… or just have the full comic as a say PDF?… let me know please….

promo2promo3

promotitleAs the new Season of Working Beauty is approaching and I told somebody about it, she asked me what my process was.

How am I creating the story?

I thought that’s a good opportunity for reflection because despite the fact that a some of the story just evolves, there is a certain amount of planning that does happen! The best answer I could come up with was “my process is kinda layered” (that’s just me being mysterious)… But, well it is, and I often don’t know the details that will come up, but my story needs a backbone and I try to come up with that pretty early on as it gives me a focus. Now I won’t reveal what that is going to be in Season 4, but I can say that we are going to have some funny (and somewhat sexy) expats visiting the corporation… They will challenge and question our heroines and stir up all sorts of things… And hopefully take everyone on a reflective journey.

I also have a couple of minor story-lines which I want to explore in the next Season (Beware: minor spoilers ahead)

 

  • - Prof. Betty Pattson is now in prison after her despicable crimes and her daughter Isobel will visit her at some point
  • - Isobel, as we know, came out of the closet (not literally). Now I’d really like her to find a nice girlfriend (as she is still single)
  • - Oh and I promised an episode which is using the 27 old-fashioned words that should see a revival (see here)!

Now those are examples where I already know I have to bring them into the next Season. However those smaller ideas need to also be part of the bigger story-arc. So yeah, it’s layered, like a lovely chocolate truffle cake without calories… And yet I hope it will have more mysterious twists and surprising turns than a South American telenovela!

Hasta Luego
Aldona

 

Someone asked me on facebook whether I feel I could use comedy for every subject, or if some things were taboo. After some reflection, I realized this question is worth a post of its own. Thanks Esther :-)

What is a taboo?! I could have asked that question back too, because taboos are individual and connect with our own values and boundaries. It’s a very intrigueing question. And I realized that indeed there are boundaries which I hold on to. In short my taboos are sex and death!

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Tits of Steel and A*ses of Marble- Comicbook title-page made in 2005

Sex: I have an issue with nudity (oh I see raised eyebrows and “really?”)… well yes, I make jokes about sex and there is an amount of cleavage and the occasional butt-cheek, but I do have an issue with nudity, as I do respect my characters privacy and my readers sensibilities. I would not depict sex in a comic that could be considered pornographic and I don’t think I could make fun of child abuse as I think this is the most horrible thing ever.

Death: Again, I made jokes about our society’s tendency to be in denial about death. But then I doubt I could make jokes about actual tragedies, accidents and deaths. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t let a character die (in a funny way, maybe?), but that’s fictional for me. Although I remember when I wanted to kill off Simon a friend reminded me “I don’t know, life imitates art,…” and so I didn’t kill him. So I am careful with that too.

I also realize that if people make fun of those taboos, I do feel offended. So taboos for me are very much linked with what we feel is offensive. And as someone once asked me “Do you reflect on what people might think when they read your comics?”. I do actually. In the end I try to make comedy for a purpose. So even when I am consciously offensive, I am offending the system and the structures we created collectively (so it’s a shared offense). But my aim is not to offend any reader. when I scratch on topics that could be considered taboos (homosexuality, racial stereotypes, gender stereotypes), it is from a systemic perspective. I try to reflect what I observe in our society.

Which ultimately leads me to my question: Is there anything you, my fellow readers, find “crossing a line” in my comics? It would be interesting to explore that. As I always believe, if we find something that offends us personally, it holds valuable information about ourselves. And THAT is the interesting bit.

Please, feel free to comment and tell me your views!

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