“The only thing I can talk about in my work is myself because it’s the only thing I know about.” Watch the trailblazing American cartoonist Aline Kominsky-Crumb talk about breaking taboos and reworking the raw material of her life in her comics.
In the 1970s, the New York-born cartoonist moved to San Francisco and joined a women’s art collective that was putting together one of the first feminist comics produced entirely by women – Wimmen’s Comix. In the end, she explains, the group split up “into the militant feminists and the other women, who were feminists but also liked men, I think. And so, I felt like I wanted to have as much sex as possible, and be promiscuous as I wanted to on my own terms, just as men did.” Some of her stories weren’t accepted by the group, who believed they didn’t “reflect an evolution of feminist consciousness”, and Kominsky-Crumb consequently started the comics ‘Twisted Sisters’ with Dianne Noomin in 1976: “And we considered ourselves the bad girls.” In connection to this, she feels that she didn’t come to the feminist movement through an experience of male oppression. However, she saw and fought against the unfairness in society: “So it’s not as though there are not incredibly important issues in society, but, you know, everyone has to confront them with what baggage we arrive with.” Kominsky-Crumb also talks about how seeing “the absurdity” of herself at all times, has helped her deal with things in her life, not least through drawing and writing about them. She is known to write with radical honesty about herself – and about sex and sexuality – but stresses that there are still things she leaves out: “The things that I write about are things that I’ve thought about a lot, and that I probably feel comfortable with, and that’s why I say my character, although it’s me, is only a part of me. There are things that I never tell and never will tell.”
Aline Kominsky-Crumb (b. 1948) is an American cartoonist. Kominsky-Crumb’s work, which is almost exclusively autobiographical, is known for its unvarnished, confessional nature. Her work includes ‘The Bunch’s Power Pak Comics’ (1979-81), ‘Love That Bunch’ (1990), and ‘Need More Love: A Graphic Memoir’ (2007). She is also one of the cartoonists behind ‘Dirty Laundry Comics’, and cofounder of ‘Twisted Sisters’. In 2016, Comics Alliance listed Kominsky-Crumb as one of the twelve women cartoonists deserving of lifetime achievement recognition. She has frequently collaborated with cartoonist Robert Crumb, with whom she is married, and the couple has made a joint comic strip based on their life together through four decades. A collection of the comics, ‘Drawn Together’, was published in 2012.
Aline Kominsky-Crumb was interviewed by Ditte Giese in connection with the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark in August 2019.
Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard
Produced and edited by Kasper Bech Dyg
Cover photo: Detail from ‘Love that Bunch’, 2018 by Aline Kominsky-Crumb. © 2018 Aline Kominsky-Crumb
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2020
Supported by Nordea-fonden