In 2013, illustrator and former art director Ana Galvañ launched a web-comic platform called Tik Tok to promote the work of young Spanish and Spanish-speaking authors. It was also a kind of backlash to the fetishization of the printed fanzine. “I want to highlight the importance of the content over the physical object,” Galvañ explains.
Tik Tok publishes each comic series by episodes to keep readers coming back, to cultivate a relationship between its writers and readers, and to encourage illustrators to continue penning personal work. “Our philosophy is about taking risks,” the founder emphasises. “We publish stories that look past the limits of the representational.” It’s on this site where I first discovered Galvañ’s mesmerising and quietly disconcerting comics—in her panels, a riot girl sensibility seems to meet the perspective-bending world of Borges.
“I’m interested in the uncertain human behaviours, in fear, in loneliness, and in strange beauty” says Galvañ. In one of her strips, a digital ghost story, a girl wakes up in the middle of the night and gazes into the face of a pixelated figure materialising in front of her. Galvañ has recently finished an eight-page comic strip where a character meanders through the spaces of a house and doubles whenever she performs an action—it’s Ghost World meets Donnie Darko.
An interest in the uncertain and the emotional feeds into Galvañ’s editorial work too. These projects have an equally strange beauty to them, although they’re rendered in a variety of styles, sometimes veering into 90s-style, pattern-heavy glossiness. “The treatment of my commissioned work depends on what the client wants, and they usually want full-color,” Galvañ explains. “It also depends on the subject, because the treatment has to follow the idea.”
Ultimately, whether creating black and white web comics, drawing panels for Nobrow and Gestalten, or editorial commissions for Wired, Galvañ wants to illustrate moods and states of mind that can’t be translated into something that’s written. “That’s the reason that I love the artistic field. You can express emotions and feelings that aren’t possible to say with words.”