SFZF Featured Artist Interview: Roman Muradov

Roman Muradov started off as an engineer, and then came to terms with the fact that he was an artist. His work reflects his many talents and takes from poetry and literature, music, and the symmetry and wonder of moving machines. Roman's shy demeanor misleads the passing eye, for his world is full of color. He works in layers of contradiction, making a few brush strokes form a world of beauty, a world of sadness, irony, but most of all sharp wit. It's no surprise that his work has gained so much recognition in a short amount of time. 


1) When did you start identifying as an artist? 

I've always had mild artistic aspirations, most of them successfully repressed until my 20s, so I still have a lot of catching up to do.

2) What artists / writers inspired you or influenced you the most? 

I've always been attracted to artists who challenge the reader's expectations and the medium they're occupying, particularly Saul Steinberg, Marcel Proust, Georges Perec, Marcel Duchamp, James Joyce, Tove Jansson and Vladimir Nabokov. The comedy of Armando Iannucci and Chris Morris was a huge influence on me, as well as music of the Fall. My favorite cartoonists are Seth, Tim Hensley and Jason.

3) What is your creative process like?

I have a few approaches, but for most of my work I draw with brush/pen & ink, then color it digitally. I try to keep the roughness of the medium, so I use wellworn brushes and deliberate mess up the bristles or smudge things with my finger. Most of the time I'm trying to create the feel of a beautiful melody played on a tuneless instrument by someone who's on the verge of having a breakdown.

4) What's the most challenging thing about creating your work / the most rewarding thing about it?

The only rewarding part is the beginning, when it feels more like playing with words and ideas, rather than work. Everything else is pretty torturous.

5) How important is it for you to have a strong community of artists? Where did you find that community?

Drawing comics is a tedious and lonesome pastime, and with the intensely unrelatable subject matter that I pick it can feel pointless and unappreciated. So when I do hear from someone who gets what I'm doing and derives some pleasure from my work, it's always hugely motivating. I met most friends & colleagues through posting work online and festivals.

6) When did you start tabling at conventions or Zine Fests?

I first tabled at ZineFest in 2011, before that I felt too insecure to sell my stuff. Of all the festivals, ZineFest & TCAF are my favorites--both are well-curated and pleasantly located, very different from the more commercial and pop-culture-ridden funnybook conventions.

7) What do you take from events like SFZF, as an exhibitor and as a guest?

ZineFest is often the only event of the year when I get to meet and chat in person with fellow cartoonists, as well as share zines and comics. I like the idea of never reprinting my zines so that each one goes directly into someone's hands as a little artifact of that year.

Liz Mayorga