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Meet MariNaomi

Today we’d like to introduce you to MariNaomi.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I’m a queer, GenX, half-Japanese visual storyteller. I was born in Texas, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and moved to Los Angeles five years ago, when my husband got a job in Burbank. At the time, I thought we’d just be here for a couple years, but I’ve really grown to love LA and we have no current plans to leave.

I’ve been writing, drawing, and publishing comics about my life since the nineties. I’ve also written poetry and novels, and made a brief living selling paintings. I worked for a long time as a video game writer, and of course I’ve had many less-creative jobs, such as bank teller, Japanese bar hostess, video game tester, proofreader, and copy editor–whatever would support my art habit. Eventually the art started supporting itself, but that took a long time to happen.

I recently started an advice podcast with my friend, author Myriam Gurba, called Ask Bi Grlz, where we talk about relationships, feminism, creativity, rabbit hygiene, and more.

On top of all that, I created and run the Cartoonists of Color and Queer Cartoonists databases, where you can discover over 1,500 creators.

Please tell us about your art.
Much of my work focuses on relationships and multiculturalism, with an emphasis on compassionate storytelling, and always with a sense of humor.

I’m mostly known as a cartoonist who writes and draws graphic memoirs (and recently, a graphic novel), but I consider myself a jacq-of-all-trades. I love working with all sorts of media (comics, painting, drawing, collage, prose, film-making), but the end result is always to tell a story that will make the reader/viewer feel more connected to those around them.

Also, fart jokes.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing artists today?
There are just so many of us, that it can be hard to stand out, especially if you’re a marginalized creator. It’s why I created my databases, to give people who need it a boost.

There are other, more difficult challenges of course, such as having enough time and money to create art, but those are challenges artists have faced through the ages.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I have a website,, which is sort of a hub that can connect you to my work.

Buying my books, or asking for them at the library, is always incredibly helpful. Spreading the word about my work is wonderful–there’s a special place in my heart for those who write (positive) reviews of my books and podcast.

For fans with a little to spare each month, I have a Patreon where folks can read my daily diary comics for only a dollar a month. Super-fans can subscribe at higher tiers and get stuff in the mail from me, or even a mentorship if they’re working on something of their own.

If you want to see me in person, I often do things around town, such as my book launch on May 3rd at Skylight Books. Details are on my website!

Contact Info:

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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