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Interview: Meet Illustrator: Clara Girke

Leipzig based illustrator, Clara Girke explains her process and introduces a list of contemporaries and friends that influence her personal style.

How do you go about starting a piece of work? Does it start as a pencil drawing? What is your process?

Normally, I think about the topic, searching for connections, joking around with words and shapes. Just collecting ideas. A big part of the process is to put my ideas in a drawing and composition and often discard them, reorder or merch older ideas with new ones. The best way for me to draw, is while listening to podcasts or musik or talking to friends. 

What are you currently working on?

I recently came back from the international Comicfestival Fumetto in Luzern (CH). With my friend Leonie Rösler (@olineedraws), I sold posters, cups and merch under the topic „kein-bein“ (no legs), images about things without legs (mostly snakes and worms). I also sold my handdrawn ceramics, which I produced with my good friend Valena Ammon (@valenaammon).\

Tell us about a typical working day.

Depending on the topic I am working on, I like to do the research part in the morning, drawing and coloration is my favorite thing in the afternoon and evening or sometimes in the nighttime. This ist the good and tricky part of being independent in the working times. But there is no typical working day, often there is a lot of paperwork, phone calls, organisation tasks or other annoying adult stuff to do.

How do you want people to feel when they see your work?

Difficult question, it also depends on the topic, client and technique. Most of the time I want to make them smile, think or reflect.

Whose work do you admire and why?

I could name a lot of wonderful international illustrators, but I would like to use the space here to name a few artist friends whose art I love. There is Lucie Weiße (@eiculi) with her playful and vivid drawings and tattoos (she is also a great graphic designer), there is Valentin Krayl, talented comic artist, who tells incredibly humorous stories (@kraylstyle) for example his book „Machen ist wie wollen, nur krasser“ (doing is like wanting, just better). I really love the textile art and embroidery of Fern Liberty Kallenbach Campbell (@fernlibertykraut). And I am a huge fan of the type designer Hanna Boslau (@hannaboslau), who designed the wonderful Font Securita. 
I don’t know where to stop, there is a whole network of great artists and designers I admire!

Does music influence your work at all?

It helps me concentrate and focus on the drawing and forget my surrounding. Listening to podcasts or audiobooks is often my choice of input or a documentary about the topic I am working on. 

Who’s your favourite new band?

Even if it is not a new band I want to recommend the german Band BLOND, their lyrics and also the podcast „Da muss man dabei gewesen sein“ of two of the bandmembers is super funny.

Finally, what can we expect to see from you in the near future?

You can see an artwork for the brand new Tape of the post punk band „Heavy Petting“ from Leipzig, which is released a few days ago. You can listen to it on bandcamp and order a tape. Next month I will participate on a residency in france. In August, I will show parts of my bachelor thesis „Alltag ohne Aussicht“ in the sociocultural room „Das Bedürfnis“ in Halle Saale (GER). It is a comic project about living and working in jail. 

Clara Girke@wiebeipaint