Daria Tessler // *1979, Finland. Born in Finland, Daria Tessler grew up in California, where she studied printmaking and mathematics. Daria is the creator of Animalsleep, a collection of silkscreened art, illustrations, children's books, and mini comics.
Her artist friend Sean Christensen conducted an interview with her especially for this edition of 'Behind The Comics'. In between there are also pictures from her studio and the process of creating her mini kuš! which she silkscreen printed.
SC: What are the most influential things to your work that are not of the arts?
DT: I'm really into history, math and science, and was reading a book on chaos theory this winter. It tied in well with thinking about John Cage's creative process. It really inspired me a lot. But I also think complex math gets into this beautiful space where it seems a lot like art. It's a form of creative expression, but it's also like a shared language, that given a common foundation of tools and understanding, mathematicians can all build the same mental sculptures and come to a consensus that logically, these thought sculptures must be valid and must exist. Then these structures can be used to build even more abstruse and complex mental structures. The fact that some humans can dedicate themselves to building this vast internal mental playground and play together on it is really wonderful to me.
SC: Knowing you personally, I know that your process is heavily collage based, using cutouts of sketchbook elements, scrap doodles and crazy patterns arranged all over. You also hand hatch all those dense blacks. You are a lot like a musical orchestrator of visuals.
How do you know when a pattern you developed or a figure, appendage or atmospheric element is ripe to be in a composition?
DT: I have a few days every year where everything I draw feels spot-on perfect but most of the time I have to really work at getting things right. I have stacks and stacks of light-boxed iterations of most of my drawings. To my eye some versions of a drawing feel alive and some feel incorrect, awkward or just void of personality. It's one of those hard to pin down things, a feeling that what I drew is finally right, and feels interesting with the other elements in the image.
SC: Your comics works have been mostly silent with a few recent exceptions, Music of Changes and the comic about an opera singer, Musical Ether. But Its undeniable that your comics are very loud to the eye in a beautiful way. What do you hear when you are crafting a page?
DT: It's funny to think that the process of filling a page with the visual chaos of almost endless detail is actually a somewhat meditative process, and calms my otherwise racing mind. It's more a matter of turning my anxious looping chatter down and hearing blissful silence.
SC: Can you hear your characters thoughts? What are they like?
DT: I'm not a writer in the normal way, where I create characters who feel real to me and take on a life of their own. I come up with random disconnected ideas, (like moments of action, or thought constructs), and then I create characters who can put those ideas into action, so the characters are more like empty puppets mouthing my words and being forced through the motions required to fulfill my ideas. I wish I could create realistic characters with depth and personality but so far I don't feel like any of them have come to life enough for me to feel they have any thoughts of their own! Their thoughts are my thoughts, but maybe with a little more freedom to abandon the constraints of reality.
To read Daria Tessler's marvellous mini kuš!, better get your copy here! Also you should definitely have a look at her wonderful silkscreens here!