Liz Bolduc has been reading comics for most of their life (the artist uses the pronouns they/them) — but it wasn’t until the Somerville resident, 25, learned about punk and the Riot Grrrl movement in college that Bolduc decided to create their own comics and zines. Bolduc said it was during a “very depressive time” in their junior year that they “put the pieces together” and came to a realization: “I’m feeling a certain way, I don’t have a healthy way of expelling this anxiety, so let’s start drawing it, let’s start putting these emotions on paper.” Bolduc shares their work on Instagram, as @liz_sux. The artist spoke to the Globe about creativity, exploring emotion, and finding comfort through art.
Q. How would you describe your creative process?
A. At first, it started out with me creating zines and then drawing comics for it. In college, I started Liz: The Zine. It was a little bit of a submission-based zine and I picked the theme each time. It always dealt with something I was personally going through — it was very much so a me thing, and I was like, “Thank you everyone for reading and indulging me.”
I know a lot of people can do it in many different ways — I have a lot of friends who draw more abstractly. For me, it was just a lot easier to keep drawing myself and really showing my emotions, because I think I do a really good job of telling my friends I’m upset, but it didn’t feel like it was enough at that time. By going more towards autobio and drawing actual humans and drawing myself in situations — whether that is a realistic setting, like I’m in a coffee shop and I’m feeling miserable, or it’s me in space and I’m feeling isolated — it’s very helpful to draw these different faces of myself.
Q. How do you use art to explore complex emotions?
A. I recently lost my cat, Aslan, and it’s been super difficult to deal with. Immediately, I dropped everything I was doing and I was like, I need to create a comic book or zine of this experience. This is something I need to do for myself and I need to do in Aslan’s honor. Because I do want to share it with other people and that process can be really difficult. But what do I want to keep for myself? I’m not trying to share my entire life with people, when it goes to a zine or something like that. I’m learning to kind of curate a bit more and pick and choose selected stories and memories to tell.
I’m very much so speaking towards parental grief and coping and strange relationships right now, and for me, I very much so wish I had art or books or comics growing up that talked about this, so it would feel a lot clearer in my head and I would feel a lot more comforted. I’m basically just trying to give my younger self, my child self, the materials, the comics, the art, the words that I wish I had. Hopefully people can kind of see that in my work and or take that for themselves and create their own meaning from it.
Q. What do you hope people take away from your artwork?
A. I hope that people look at my art and read my comics and hopefully can understand why I’m drawing it. Everything I’m doing, it’s not for pity, it’s not for major attention, I really just want people to see the art and realize, “Here’s something I’m experiencing in my own life, these emotions are really hitting at that nerve and that makes me feel a lot better to know that there’s someone else also struggling with really intense relationships with parents or grief about the loss of a pet.” Maybe they don’t think about these things on a daily basis or maybe they haven’t experienced them yet, but I’m hoping I can be kind of a reference for them. I would love to be a source of comfort in comic form.