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Art & Life with Joan Varitek

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joan Varitek.

Joan, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, I always loved cartoons and comics as a kid and knew I wanted to pursue art in some way as a career. I got really into anime and manga as a teenager which I’m realizing is true of many artists in my cohort! I wrote my own webcomics and made doodle comics for my friends; my aim was just to make people I love smile with things I drew, but also as a way to have readers learn a bit more about my sense of humor and inner life and ideas.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I have been freelancing since 2007, doing any job that came through, logo stuff, medical illustrations, character design, educational materials, children’s books concepts. Most of my personal work was dairy comics and pinup girl art, processing ideas and feelings about femininity and culture. When my husband and I moved to LA, work became steadier so other than figure drawing I had less time for personal art. Around that time, I got pregnant, and my commitment was to get back to diary comicking throughout the pregnancy and the hazy, sleep-deprived newborn phase. Now that my son is 18 months old, the sky is opening up again and I have an opportunity I haven’t had since art school, to redefine myself as an artist. It’s both daunting and exhilarating. I’m eager to find my new voice, and personal comics and doodles have always been a useful method of self-reflection and meditation. Something lovable about autobio comics as a genre is that you can get through conflict if you are the main character of your own story. Even if I draw myself wallowing in misery, even self-indulgently, there is a layer of compassion and self-awareness, where I’m cheering myself on.

In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
I think it’s a challenge every day to make something meaningful, funny, and honest. I’m inspired by so many fearless artists and that encourages me to keep going.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I recently participated in the Feminist Nerd Resistance: Pussy Strikes Back II charity gallery show at Titmouse Inc. and I’m a longtime member of Girls Drawin’ Girls, a female artist collective who routinely have pinup gallery shows and tables at cons; some of my illustrations will be published in our new anthology later this year.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

All images by Joan Varitek

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