Visual Artist Maik Banks // Interview

Maik Banks is a visual artist, based in Berlin. The focal point of his work is on sequential art, which he explores through zines, screen-printing, comics and illustration. He loves cats, weird human habits and original animal stories. With fluo irony and real fantasy, Maik leads us in his bitmap world…

illustration berlin maik banks

What tools do you use to make your illustrations?

I use a mix of traditional and digital illustration techniques. For traditional I use ink and brush, mostly. For digital Clip Studio Paint, because it offers great tools for creating halftones and you can work in bitmap, which is great if you print in black and white for zines, but also for screen-printing.

I feel like it’s important to switch between a variety of media, especially when you feel stuck. I kinda like that digital works don’t really leave and artefact, and it can be liberating. But, sometimes it’s also nice to smell the ink and feel a nib scratching on paper. It teaches you to appreciate the happy mistakes, that are not easily erasable. When I worked at Fumetto festival in Lucerne, it was actually really exciting to see old original comic pages, that look more like collages. In print you usually can’t tell, but in the original you see how people worked.

maik banks berlin artist

Something I always loved about comics, is that it is supposed to be printed and accessible to everybody.

bitmap illustration

I also have been doing some screen printing. At my school the screen-printing studio was almost abolished and it was kinda impossible to get access to it for a long time. I learned printing mostly through collaborating with art collectives like Czentrifuga in Berlin or using the studio at Forte Prenestino during Crack Festival and doing some small scale prints at home.

screen printing berlino

Let’s talk about dysmorphia

Body dysmorphia is something I have been dealing with since childhood. You’re actually one of the first people who connected this animated illustration to this condition, at least told me.

For me it took a long time to handle this in half way decent way, but it’s also because I didn’t seek help and tried to figure it out on my own. It’s definitely not a great way to do it, because you need somebody who helps you to see your reflection in a positive way.

body dysmorphia

You can probably trace it trauma, but it is also connected to how media represents bodies and I feel like in the past decades this has become more extreme. Now there seems to be more of a push back, and it’s great, because it opens so many possibilities. 

In a liberated society people should be able to claim their own bodies, love themselves and see the beauty in the people around them.

social media maik banks

Do You like cats?

I have been kinda socialised by cats. At the moment Im sharing a flat with two humans and two cats. That’s probably why they appear in my art so often.

internet is a scary place

Why are we fabulous? And why you face an exploration into existential angst and the merit of art and the joys of drug use” ?

I picked the title for the comic from a piece of writing I was working on:

Dear beloved monster
The universe is yours
An all you can eat buffet
I’ll never let you starve, my dear
Because you are fabulous

artist collective berlin

Exploration into existential angst and the merit of art and the joys of drug use” is a summary of the story in Because you are Fabulous.

Existential angst is about about a blob of sentient phlegm, who doesn’t want to face the world and return into the throat of its human. The merit of art, is about an underground artist, who is sick of drawing sexual explicit horror comics, and wants to make stories about fluffy animals. And the joy of drug use is about two cynical birds who take happy drugs, which at first do nothing but end up in an epiphany that everybody is connected and everybody is beautiful.

to trap a human

quarantine berlin

maik banks illustrator berlin