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THE FINE PRINT: Your drawings represent the perfect balance of sexy and violent, while still portraying very provocative, feminine, and feminist views. Do those adjectives describe yourself as well?
CULT OF DANG: I hope so. That’s definitely what I aspire to be and represent (only replace the word feminine with gentle…).
TFP: We can find references from your Israeli background as Hebrew tattoos on your characters. How else would you say your heritage influences your work?
COD: Yes, being Israeli is complex; it’s a blessing and a curse that I carry with me wherever I am. I would say that being very politically aware from an early age has certainly informed my art.
Questioning things is important. Israel is a militant, male-dominant country, which in a sense defined me as a female artist fighting back. I live in the U.S. and I see my future here. But the critical eye I developed in Israel guides me in dealing with things I care about here.
TFP: You are now based in Brooklyn. What’s your daily life there like?
COD: The life of a young, foreign, female artist is pretty clichéd’… Of course, there are ups and downs, but it’s usually juggling a part-time service industry job and freelancing (music videos, cover art for albums/EP’s and commercial illustrations).
In between I squeeze in my personal projects which I share through social media (as “Cult of Dang”). At the moment, I’m putting all my efforts into my indie feminist sci-fi anime-ish short film, “Vicarious” which I co-wrote with a very talented poet, Tom Haviv.
TFP: There is definitely a cartoon feel to your artwork – manga references are omnipresent. Have you always been fascinated by those, or did you used to read them as a kid?
COD: Anime (= Japanese animation, less manga= Japanese comics) is a passion I grew into appreciating, ever since I moved to the States, thanks to my American friends.
As a classical animation student in Israel we weren’t really exposed to anime; that kind of animation art isn’t appreciated much beyond the community of cosplay-loving people, and I see a lot of problematic things in that “type” of art (especially the portrayal of women) but it’s also so superior, thought-out and beautifully detailed. I love it. I hope the future of anime would be more feminist and progressive.
TFP: What’s with all the half-decomposed bodies? What does that mean to you and what statement are you trying to make?
COD: I’d rather not say.
TFP: What’s in your toolbox? Are any of your drawings done digitally, considering you are a graphic designer, or the good ol’ way?
COD: I am more of a graphic artist then a graphic designer. These days time is money and using a drawing pad saves me time, so I mainly do everything digital. I mix up the programs for an ultra visual result (Photoshop, Flash and AfterEffects).
TFP: You say there’s a lot of queer themes in your work. Could you tell me more about those and how they define your work.
COD: I think working with queer themes and characters in my art is my small step towards giving them greater visibility. The graphic art field (and media in general) hasn’t been extremely kind nor appreciative of female characters or artists. It’s a man’s world. I hope that my art making helps reclaim that space, give visibility to scenes that don’t usually get center stage… surreal, queer and odd. It’s for me, for my friends and people I don’t even know. I grew up wanting to see cool sci-fi badass stories being told, and they were usually done by men, with their male point of view. The stories I care about and want to see may never get told. I can’t sit around and wait, I have to be the one to do them.
Text by ESTELLE GERVAIS