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Jayati Godhawat

IWB Blogger

Strip Tease Of An Artist’s Soul: Sreejita Talks About Homophobes, Mental Health, & More

  • IWB Post
  •  October 12, 2017

 

For every 90s kid living in India, comics meant Archie, Tintin, Champak, and Chacha Choudhary. But, the Internet changed it all. With the reach of the Internet and its easy accessibility by all, the face of comics also changed.

Recently I came across an e-magazine, StripTease the Mag, and was blown away by the variety of webcomics and comic strips. Apart from original webcomics, StripTease also offers a line of graphic novels, features, toy and character reviews, fanart, etc., and aims at providing a platform to the comic illustrators and junkies to indulge in the world of comics.

A little more research led me to the magazine’s brainchild, Sreejita Biswas who goes by the really interesting name, ‘Solo.’ Self-proclaimed ‘Cat-Lady,’ Sreejita’s Instagram is full of her awwdorably cute cats.

Bukowski, Crumb and Bass . . . . #weeklyfluff #bookstagram #catsandbooks #catsofinstagram #robertcrumb #charlesbukowski #tabbycat #catlady #catladylife #reading #fluffycat #kitteh #bookshelf #reader

94 Likes, 1 Comments – Solo (@sequentialtart) on Instagram: “Bukowski, Crumb and Bass . . . . #weeklyfluff #bookstagram #catsandbooks #catsofinstagram…”

Working in the field of advertising as a brand strategist, Sreejita is a columnist, photographer and a comic book creator by passion. What’s more?

Sreejita is not only using her passion for entertaining people with comics but is also addressing various issues like LGBTQ+, women stereotypes, and more through her empowering illustrations.

To explore her scope of work, her inspiration, and her vision, we had a hearty chat with the Solo Cat-Lady:

Sreejita Biswas

 

IWB: Which character from your comics describes your personality the best and why?

Sreejita: Tau. Because we are all lost aliens in our own, special rights.

IWB: What was your biggest tease behind starting StripTease The Mag?

Sreejita: It was my love for comics and the need to geek out about them. When I started ST some 3-4 years ago, comics weren’t as popular as they are now. In ways, I think ST is what helped us take the first step towards making comics.

IWB: And, how do you make it sustainable and viable?

Sreejita: We don’t! It is a project that a few comic lovers came together for. It has worked out well so far. Everyone involved with ST have day jobs, we do this to satiate the vigilantes in us.

IWB: As your brainchild, the sci-fi webcomic Tau is being taken forward by other independent artists. One artist’s twist to the plot that blew away your mind to the outer space.Sreejita Biswas

Sreejita: I have penciled the first two pages of Tau which were then completed by Oz. To be honest, I never envisioned Tau as an artistic project. It was an experiment where I got together some Indian artists to see how different they can make one story look — given the fact that they have just 3 pages to work their magic.

Though I am still not sure if I want to start drawing Tau at any point. But I am definitely going to keep writing it.

You can see and read all the episodes of Tau here.

IWB: Your beginners guide to Indian homophobes depicts all that is wrong with the society’s mindset when it comes to acceptance and rights of LGBT+ community. If you had to add your own opinion to the series, what would the message read? 

Sreejita Biswas

Sreejita: So, the series did feature a lot of homophobes I had met in real life. Though Sakshi came up with the idea, I had met enough and more homophobes to take it ahead myself and add my opinion to the series.

IWB: Share with us one comic strip which would help people understand the real sense of feminism.

Sreejita: This is again a very difficult thing to do. Not because there are enough and more feminist comics out there, but also because really, what is the real sense of feminism?

But the latest ‘feminist’ comic that I am currently in awe of is Monstress released by Image Comics. (You may see it here) It is high fantasy, so it really isn’t for the non-fiction reading audience.

IWB: If you had to portray an Indian superwoman, what superpowers would she posses?Sreejita Biswas

Sreejita: I would call her No Boss and her superpower would be the ability to say “NO” without flinching. And if someone failed to take her “NO” seriously, they freeze in the most embarrassing poses possible.

We don’t give enough importance to no-s in this country!

OMG, I want this superpower, too!

IWB: You are fighting many stereotypes through your art. Which one social stigma/stereotype that you are battling through art stems from your personal experience?Sreejita Biswas

Sreejita: Fighting against both homophobia and the inability to understand mental health arises from my personal experiences. Being a queer feminist with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) is pretty much the recipe for a series of misadventures.

IWB: What would define the authentic Indian comics for you?

Sreejita: Retro Bengali comics! It was in the 1960s or 70s that Mayukh Chowdhury came up with Aguntuk which had an alien superhero. The protagonist of the comic had the ability to grow his claws at times of need. And this had happened at least a decade before X-Men made an appearance. It is a shame that not everyone has access to these comics now.

IWB: Which topic has been the most challenging for you and why?

Sreejita: None really! I work full-time in advertising. I have sold cement and tractors. Nothing seems challenging anymore. LOL!

IWB: One project you have been trolled for the most and how did you respond to it?

Sreejita: I have never been trolled. Or maybe I have been on the Internet and I haven’t cared less. I hardly have the time to spend thinking about what others are saying about me. I have comics to make!

Isn’t ‘no response,’ the perfect response? Absolutely!

IWB: How has your art changed you overtime?Sreejita Biswas

Sreejita: It has improved by leaps and bounds in just a year. I took up art only last year after I had a pretty traumatizing year. My friend, my father, and my grandmother passed away in the span of a month. Being BPD, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) wasn’t kind to me. Until last year I was a writer, but thanks to the PTSD I started to lose control over thoughts and the ability to arrange words coherently – I can still write to pay my bills, but it isn’t the same.

During my worst, I decided to start making art. I am glad I did. I have managed to impress myself with all the improvement.

IWB: 5 Songs on your playlist when you are working on the comics.

Sreejita Biswas

Sreejita: Ignore Alien Orders by Nick Johnston 

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun by Pink Floyd

Waves by The Aristocrats

Mardy Bum by Arctic Monkeys

Scarified by Paul Gilbert

IWB: Your inspiration?

Sreejita: Anger and love to put it very simply.

IWB: Which food is your BFF on long nights?

Sreejita: Chocolates!

Oh, ditto! HAHA

IWB: Which new character are you working on?

Sreejita: A full-length graphic novel called Streetwise illustrated by Oz and Tampi and designed by Sage.

P.S. You can see and read more about her work on StripTease the mag website here and you may also check out her work on her Instagram page here.

Photo Source: Sreejita Biswas Instagram

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