In the following article, two artists, the French cartoonist Émilie Gleason and the American cartoonist Gina Wynbrandt, interview each other. Both have new work out from 2d Cloud this spring. Per that publisher, “Gleason’s Salz & Pfeffer is an absurd parody about alien abduction, fart jail, magical kingdoms and mice, and it is her first English language graphic novel. Wynbrandt’s Big Pussy is a hilarious mini about seeking a coming of age transformation through the wisdom of alley cats who, naturally, have other ideas. Both works are available at 2dcloud.com/spring.”
Émilie Interviews GinaÉmilie: How do you imagine the illustration world in France?
Gina: I imagine that everyone in France is an artist and everyone gets a beret and palette as soon as they’re born because everyone there has an appreciation for art. So, I guess the illustration world is all of France??
Émilie: What was your latest dream, and which actors could play the roles of it?
Gina: I think I smoke so much weed now that I barely have or remember dreams. My friend said he had a dream I was pooping out dimes the other day. For that very dignified role I would cast John Travolta in drag as myself and the dimes would all be played by Danny DeVito.Émilie: What is most rewarding for you about your drawings?
Gina: The most rewarding thing is being able to express an idea in a way other people can understand. I think I’m just okay at drawing; it’s really more of a tool for me to enhance my writing. When I was younger, I wanted to be a writer (a music journalist), but then I decided I’m not articulate enough, and I struggle with long-format writing. When I pair my writing with my drawings, my ideas are better communicated. When other people understand and are receptive to my stories, it’s very validating.
Émilie: Picturing you in a photographic way in Big Pussy gives an autobiographical impression. What’s with the cats?
Gina: I grew up watching and loving Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon as a regular human teenager is a whiny crybaby, lazy, bad at school, and eats a lot of food. It takes a magical cat, Luna, to teach Sailor Moon how to be the warrior princess she was born to be, and begins her on this journey of personal growth. I’m at an awkward stage in my life where I want to consider myself an adult, but I still live with and am partially supported by my parents. I thought it would be funny if I too could find a magical cat who helps me grow up, and that is the basis of Big Pussy.
Émilie: What music/sounds do you listen to while working?
Gina: I alternate between music and podcasts. Lately I like listening to a lot of solo female artists, like Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Amy Winehouse, Erykah Badu, and I sing along really loudly!! I like mostly comedy podcasts like Comedy Bang! Bang!, but sometimes it’s difficult because I laugh and fuck up my drawing!!
Émilie: What is the word you hate the most?
Gina: Gape. Of course it has a normal meaning, but it’s sort of a sub-genre in porn that focuses on big gaping vaginas and/or buttholes that have been stretched out. It makes me sick to think about it!
Émilie: Who could be the next face on a bill of US currency, according to you?
Gina: Probably Kim Kardashian-West and Kanye West. They are the closest thing we have to royalty at the moment.
Gina Interviews Émilie
Gina: Do you think the personality traits associated with your zodiac sign are an accurate representation of you?
Émilie: I’m a balance; this zodiac sign was the first excuse to justify my youth bipolar disorder. Now it’s like, “Mm, am I hungry? Am I not? Urrh, life!”
Gina: What’s your favorite French idiom or phrase that might not translate well in English?
Émilie: Well I always heard Anglophone people envy us the word dépayser. It is actually one of my favorites. Everybody once must have lived a dépaysement, when absolutely nothing looks like what you know, where you live, or like what you eat daily (on trips, or in jail, for example). Some people are in desperate search for the place that will break their routine; some others use this word to explain their homesickness.
Gina: Who would you rather dance with: Salz or Pfeffer? What kind of dance?
Émilie: Pfeffer definitely! Big shy guys are great when you dance flamenco. I picture him with a whole bunch of roses in his mouth, complaining silently while Salz throws us bananas.
Gina: What is the most exciting thing about living in Strasbourg?
Émilie: Strasbourg is the most beautiful city I ever saw in France. Particularly after 10:00pm, the city has put up night lights that distort every monument, with a lot of poetry in it. The first day I was convinced I was in a Truman Show studio. These lights make every lit monument look false, like pasteboard. But the only thing I really recommend while visiting Strasbourg is to wait for the sun to go, and drink the last glass of champagne/smoke the last cigarette/eat the last chocolate bar of your day, just in front of the cathédrale. Pfiuu, sometimes this scene make me cry tears of joy, especially listening to Jacques Brel.
Gina: Salz and Pfeffer involves intelligent life forms visiting Earth. Do believe aliens have visited us?
Émilie: Oh, tough question. Probably: Aliens need to be dépaysed, too, haha. Besides, they translate it as: “hhfus#bdizo##.” I re-watched Mars Attacks! yesterday and I don’t want aliens to visit us right now :( unless they’re friendly. Yeah. That reminds me of the song that gave birth to the whole Pfeffer story: “Le Martien” by Claude Francois (a really lame French singer that I adore). It tells the story of a man wanting to be friends with an alien even if they don’t speak the same language. Hahaha, it’s absurd, but cute.
Gina: What’s your drawing environment like, and what do you like to draw with these days?
Émilie: My computer is an appendix to me: I can’t create or draw without moving images. That’s how I can manage to see 18 movies in a day (or every episode of a three season series). I know it’s bad for concentration, but it allows me to work 48 hours without a break — btw, my eyes are burning, I don’t know why.
Gina: Describe your perfect meal, including dessert and drink.
Émilie: Aaah!!! It changes every week! Today my perfect meal would be 10 cheese naans, then a bowl of panade (another untranslatable word: a baby meal with only fruits, biscuit, and yogurt, and when you blend it, it looks like vomit, but sooo healthy and delicious, and simple!!), and a homemade lemon juice (I put food coloring agent in everything to eat colorfully).