This week we're continuing on our series of interviews to catch up with our 2021 creators. Last time we spoke with RAMZEE about creating LDN, how his creativity has changed in the last year and what he's up to next - you can read all about it here.
Today we're talking with Niki Bañados, creator of the beautiful and touching Return. Enjoy!
How does it feel to have Return out in the world?
As is frequently the case with personal works, having Return out in the world is a little bit scary especially when I consider that it's being read by people I know. From a creative perspective, it's a relief to get something done which is longer than what I've done before, and a different style too, because it acts as proof that I can push boundaries and as an encouragement to continue doing so.
How have you found the response to Return?
Really positive! It makes me glow with pleasure because I tried so hard on this. I've saved a collection of Nice Things People Have Said in a .txt file.
As Return deals with your move back to Australia, how are things going now?
Not bad, considering the mess that was 2020. However, for fear of losing the momentum I gained in London, I probably took too many activities and commitments on board too fast, and may sheepishly have to drop some to get some time and focus back.
You’re now studying the environment - do you think this will influence your future comics?
I hope so, because I'm studying specifically for the purpose of making more relevant and impactful creative work. The ways in which humans are destroying the earth are impossible to ignore, and the fragility and resilience of the environment is both terrifying and inspiring. Comics can be an effective tool to help communicate issues, imagine alternative solutions and encourage action. Getting into another field of study and doing hands-on work has already planted lots of new ideas, some of which I'm working on now. One is very large and black and white and inky and I think Sam might like it.
How has the last year changed your approach to creativity?
I'd really like to do something not about myself for once. I'm making an effort to get better at looking outwards, at doing research, and at reading widely and deeply (this last bit is a genuine struggle; apparently I'm not much of a reader). I'd like to do creative projects that come from the usual magical-artist-cloudspace but backed up by FACTS! and SCHOLARSHIP!
What are you most looking forward to about things going back to (sort of) normal in the future?
I'd like the virus outbreaks to stop so that I can travel to Queensland and see the Great Barrier Reef before global warming bleaches it dead. Wow, what a downer to end this interview on. Uhhh I'd also like to travel to do some environmental fieldwork, to be inside the noise of a rainforest, and to spot dragons in the desert.