Bigmouth is thrilled to announce the newest member of our team, Studio Assistant Kawtar Azzouzi! Kawtar is an incredible illustrator and comics artist. A first generation Morroccan and a graduate of SAIC, Kawtar grew up in Maine and currently resides in Chicago, IL. She will be helping Leila run the distro, get your orders out, identify and interview artists, table at zine fairs, make prints, assemble zines, and more!
Kawtar's illustrations, some of which can be seen on her instagram, are primarily done in an emotive black and white, often tattoo-inspired style. They explore themes of death and heartbreak, and frequently center forlorn femme protagonists. Her aesthetic is strong, and her debut graphic novel, which she is in the process of creating, also utilizes her signature themes and style. Entitled "Spiritual Teens," it is a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl who fantasizes about being killed, and is a partial exploration of true events from Kawtar's High School experience.
What I find particularly wonderful about Kawtar's illustrations and storytelling is how she manages to capture both the angst and aesthetic of a very particular brand of American emo from the late 2000s. While she does so with a touch of irony, that irony is never condescending, so it doesn't undermine the development and emotional trajectory of her characters. Kawtar as the storyteller is wise, but not smug, and tells the story tenderly. Thus, the reader is invited to empathize with the characters, but to do so from a somewhat distanced lens, as if re-living a memory. In this way, her visceral understanding of the subject matter, paired with a deeper analysis and processing of the story's events, really shines through in the work.
In addition to American "culture's obsession with dying young," Kawtar's other thematic interests include "the unearthing of humans' taboo natures, memories in transience, and the vilification of Arabs." She is certainly not afraid of addressing challenging subjects, and we are so excited to have her on board. Can't wait to see what she will bring to Bigmouth!