Zinester Spotlight: Caroline Saddul

Caroline Saddul takes adults challenges but eliminates their seriousness. Her designs explore the themes of gender roles and relationships, with a child-like curiosity and sense of humor. Caroline will juxtapose the image of a girl, shouting, with that of a dinosaur’s roar. Her cards vary from cute dogs to bloody monsters, who declare their love for you. This variety of images and styles covers all range of emotions. Over all, Caroline Saddul’s work manifests courage, and it invites you to laugh at adulthood and all its expectations. Here is what Caroline has to say about her art.

How would you describe what you do and the work you produce?

I'm a graphic designer who loves creating artwork that combines my love of whimsical monsters, animals and pattern.

Why did you name your line "Dolls and Monsters?"

I named my card line Dolls and Monsters because to me they are recognizable childhood symbols that evoke both fear and pleasure. “Dolls,” for me, refer to three different things: scary female effigies, the female sex symbol/standard of beauty imposed on all women, and the particular gendered pleasure of beauty and femininity.

As I get older I’ve become more aware of ideas of beauty and the power of female sex symbols. This part of “dollness” is my acknowledgment of the commodification of female bodies as objects for visual pleasure. The figure of the female form as a spectacle for an erotic gaze carries with it both power and danger.

As an adult woman I have learned to accept the joy I derive from wearing makeup, adorning myself with feminine accouterments, and other traditionally feminine things (sensitivity towards others, compassion and love towards the unloved) as something not diametrically opposed to my deep sense of feminism and humanist activism.

What are you trying to communicate through your zines, art, website and other designs?

Through my card line I wanted to introduce a space where the joyful aspects of adulthood can marry with the happy silly parts of childhood. I want to combine my particular conception of childhood glee with adult understanding. This means beloved characters—like animals, for example—but in silly, adult environments that reflect the culture around me.

How did you get into independent publishing, art and the like?

I was inspired by the Comics Factory in Pasadena, Southern California. Comic artists would go in and out and mingle and chat with comics fans, and it sparked within me a joy for not just the art work, but also the people. I grew up loving Tintin, The Spirit, and the comics section of the LA Times, and Betty and Veronica. As I got older I discovered and became a fan of graphic novels by Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise), the Hernandez Brothers (Love and Rockets), and the incredible Julie Doucet. My dear friend Leo introduced me to the Zine scene in SF and the East Bay. His zines, his introductions to friendly people in the scene, as well as his encouragement gave me the courage to get involved.

What is your current project?

I am currently working on my zine "Naks Naman! #1" which is a Tagalog expression that means, "How impressive." It's meant to be cheeky. It refers to my particular kind of goofiness, and is also a nod at my cultural background. Filipino sense of humor can have a really wonderful corniness that I really appreciate and love.

What is your favorite thing about the SF Zine Fest?

I enjoy the opportunity to meet wonderful artists, discover their artwork, and the opportunity for all of us to get-together and celebrate the diversity of talent and backgrounds in the Bay Area.

Where can people find you?

My Dolls and Monsters blog is http://dollsandmonsters.tumblr.com/