The Q&A: Rutu Modan

By Peggy Roalf   Tuesday May 30, 2017

Q: What are some of your favorite things about living and working in your current locale?

A: I’m in love with my city, Tel Aviv, which has the best of what you have in a big city—mixed population, tolerance, culture, many cafes as well as the best things you find in a small places: you can walk or bike anywhere, people are friendly, you always know someone who know the person you’re looking for. Also-it has a great beach

Q: Do you keep a sketchbook? 

A: I do, but I don’t sketch from real life but according to subject I’m interested in at the moment. For example, nowadays I’m interested in animals who were send to space during the 1950’s.   

Q: What is the balance between art you create on paper [or other analog medium] versus in the computer?

A: Mostly I draw on computer.

Q: What is the most important item in your studio?

A: My collection of old family-photographs (not necessarily my family).

Q: How do you know when the art is finished?

A: When what I do next starts to ruin it.

Q: What was your favorite book as a child?

A: Pippi Longstocking and the Moomins.

Q: What is the best book you’ve recently read?

A: Confession of Felix Krull  by Thomas Mann.  

Q: If you had to choose one medium to work in for an entire year, eliminating all others, what medium would you choose?

A: Pencils.

Q: What elements of daily life exert the most influence on your work practice?

A: Drinking 2 cups of black coffee before I start my day.

Q: What was the [Thunderbolt] painting or drawing or film or otherwise that most affected your approach to art? 

A: There is no ONE, it’s all of them together.

Q: Who was the [Thunderbolt] teacher or mentor or visiting artist who most influenced you early in your training or career?

A: My 4th grade art teacher. She was an artist herself and she didn’t just let us draw but also introduced us to great artists and taught us art history. She had us make presentations about Impressionism, Cubism etc. and sometimes told us to try to imitate their style in our drawings as an exercise. She also had great and originals ideas for subjects for us to draw. She took her job very seriously, even though we were just 10 years old.

 Q: What would be your last supper?

A: Gnocchi with pesto and my sister’s cheese cake for desert.

Rutu Modan is a Israeli comics artist and an Associate Professor at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem. She is co-founder (in 1996) of the Actus Comics group. Her books Exit Wound (2007)  and The Property (2013) won the Eisner Prize for the best book of the year and were translated into 15 languages. In 2013 Rutu established with Y. Pinkus, Noah Library, an independent publishing house specializing in comics for young children. Info