May 3, 2013

Spotlight: Pauline Krawczyk

Your best new (creative, delightful, artistic) Internet friend.

I met Pauline Krawczyk through an innocent tumblr exploration. She's the author of Cosmic Kiss, a French fan zine; the spacey looking girl on the cover with vibrant colors, almost cartoon-like, lead me to messaging her for a copy. That's when I found out she's the coolest person ever. I don't just mean she does cool things (which she does), but she's actually one of the most genuine, excited and passionate people I've ever met, and we've never met (how's that for sad!). Everything she encounters, she does so with so much enthusiasm, you want to jump on board and fly to France so you can feel as starry eyed as she does about the bands and artists in CK.

Her fervor traveled all the way to my apartment, in the form of a package spewing glitter, three issues of CK and a beautifully written note (she has lovely handwriting too), bringing along the same excitement emanating in her writing. Oh, and she's also an artist - and a great one, at that (her artwork is sprinkled throughout this post). The majority of Cosmic Kiss is written in French (I'm seriously rusty), but the collages, photographs and artwork included make me forget, so the reading experience is still incredibly enjoyable. I've had the utmost pleasure speaking with her, and was finally able to stop talking about shows and baking to ask her a few questions about Cosmic Kiss, her favorite ladies and where she'd like to fly away:    

THE LE SIGH: After perusing Cosmic Kiss, it almost reads like your diary or a love letter to your favorite zinesters, musicians and artists. Did you have a diary growing up?

Pauline Krawczyk: Strangely, I never had a diary; this is quite crazy. I think I preferred keeping what I had locked in my mind, like nobody could open my head and read what's in it. Now I feel much better with myself (I suppose) and I'm finally ready to share quite all my feelings and ideas with people who want to. I say "quite all" because I hide things, like the face of the boy who beer-kissed me. This is currently my darkest secret.

TLS: You mention briefly that you write mostly in French but also in English, so more people can read – why not pick one or the other, or create one version in French and another in English?

PK: The first CK readers were French (my wonderful friends) and then the zine flew away to some other magical readers, even those who don't speak French. CK is about sharing, so I like the fact that everyone can get everything I write. There's no secret between us. Plus, I write in a kind of Frenglish; I want to keep it, because it's like my "personal mark" and it's maybe a way of saying you don't have to write like a journalist to have things to say. And as I'm a U.S. girl in my mind, it's always been a special thing to me to express myself in English; even with mistakes!

TLS: Do you make each of the collages featured in CK? Which artwork is yours?

PK: I make each collage and some drawings too, like the covers. When it's from other people, like my friend Perine or my twin, or even the artists I crush on, I notate it. Well, I wish I could list each photographer of the pictures I take from the Internet, but it seems impossible.

TLS: Do you create certain drawings specifically for CK? 

PK: It depends, but mostly they're made specifically. Well, like the covers; each portrait is made for [it's a secret!].
each issue, even if I don't focus only on the girl I've drawn. The cool thing is that I write about them at least one time for sure.

TLS: You write underneat some of the drawings in CK "by twin," and from speaking to you, I know you have a twin sister! Do you guys collaborate on projects often? What's your relationship like?

PK: Twin Laura!! Her drawings are so cool; I wanted to share her way of translating and drawing her ideas on paper. She never felt comfrtable about drawing; I think she suffers from the stupidest guilt ever of "not drawing like a real artist." Sincerity is most important in self expression; the technique shouldn't be the barrier. We've never collaborated on anything, except twin stuff like planning nice (or diabolic) traps for guys we liked or for our mom to let us have the house for our birthday parties.
We are totally opposite from each other, physically and mentally, but we're connected cosmically talking. We know what the other twin thinks and we often say the same sentences with the same tone. It's scary! Sometimes we fight for nothing and it's funny because we have four friends who are twins too, and when we see them fighting like us, we feel a bit ashamed to offer than kind of scene. We're always saying that having a twin is like living twenty-four hours with a friend you didn't choose. You have to accept it and make it beautiful. Or suffer for your entire life!

TLS: CK features a lot of strong girls – who's your favorite woman in history, dead or alive?

PK: Malala Yousafzai; she incarnates hope, courage and peace, defying some of the worst human acts and thoughts againt girls.

TLS: Where did the name "Cosmic Kiss" come from?

PK: Cosmic Kiss comes from the Dum Dum Girls' song "He Gets Me High." It's the first some I heard them play live at a Belgian show. It's quite symbolic! But this specific choice most deeply came frm the link between these two words. You see, like we're there on Earth, a planet lost in the cosmos. We're quite nothing. Then there's love (in its largest conception), which leads us to do things or not to, and which represents everything about happiness, sharing and living. It's a beautiful link between two simple concepts that we experience with as human beings! We're absolutely nothing in our lost galazy, except if we open our hearts. Ok, maybe it sounds kind of strange, like too "childish." But I think being positive is a good thing!

TLS: Is there a fourth issue of CK on the way?

PK: Of course! It'll be ready for June, when my exams end. I just want to start it but can't yet. What a torture! There's also a special French/girly zine to come; an initiative from Phoenix Grayson (Jet Black fanzine). She asked for contributions from some girl zinesters she konws and I'm really excited about this project!

TLS: From looking through CK and your Tumblr, it seems like you've made friends all over the world, whether it's through zine-swapping or the Internet. Are there any places in particular you'd like to visit?

PK: Totally! I'm so happy I've found some cosmic sis'. They would all recognize themselves. First, I dream of going to Los Angeles; its culture and way of life are making me totally crazy. The biggest CD shop there, isn't it?! I wish I could go there and to the museums and galleries and wonderful gigs (like Best Coast in front of the sea). Then I would really love to go to Austin, to the SXSW festival and to Sweet Ritual, where there seems to be the best vegan ice cream EVER. In fact, I'd be happy to visit any cool place, especially where my cosmic sis' live.

Check out Pauline's portfolio and tumblr to get Cosmic Kiss for yourself.

Written by Molly Morris.