In the nineties, shortly after I came across Mary Fleener’s contribution to Twisted Sisters: A Collection of Bad Girl Art, a light went on in my creative psyche. Her story, “The Jelly,” about her hot-mess of a roommate, resonated with me. I had stories like that! I should make comics, too! Excitedly, I sat down to make my first comic. That was in February of 1997, and I never stopped. From childhood, my goal was to write novels, and that’s what I was working towards when autobio comics stole my heart. Over the years I’ve utilized many creative mediums: poetry, prose, fiction, memoir, painting, collage, and on and on. For whatever reason, the comics have been my most consistent passion, my favorite medium in which to express myself. I write and draw the stories that I want to read: Stories about human relationships, explorations into compassion, the gray areas that make us who we are. By doing so I hope to not only entertain the reader, but to connect with them, make them laugh, make them sad, and ultimately make them feel like they, too, have a story to tell.
MariNaomi has been making memoir comics since 1997. She's the author and illustrator of the SPACE Prize-winning Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Resume, Ages 0 to 22 (Harper Perennial, 2011), the Eisner-nominated Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories (2dcloud/Uncivilized Books, 2014), the upcoming Turning Japanese (2dcloud, 2016) and I Thought You Hated Me (Retrofit Comics, 2016), and her self-published Estrus Comics (1998 to 2009). Her work has appeared in over sixty print publications, and has been featured on numerous websites, such as The Rumpus, The Weeklings, LA Review of Books, Midnight Breakfast, Truth-out, XOJane, Buzzfeed, PEN America and more. Mari's work on the Rumpus won a SPACE Prize and an honorable mention in Houghton Mifflin's Best American Comics 2013. MariNaomi's comics and paintings have been featured in such institutions as the De Young Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco's Asian American Museum, and the Japanese American Museums in Los Angeles and San Jose. In 2011, Mari toured with the literary roadshow Sister Spit. She is the creator and curator of the Cartoonists of Color Database and the Queer Cartoonists Database.
Los Angeles, CA