Bianca Xunise is a comics artist from Chicago, a local goth kid who focuses her work primarily on black womanhood. You may have seen her incredible work at HelloGiggles or The Nib, or you may have caught her rad repertoire on Twitter alongside a lot of great Keanu Reeves content! We were stoked to chat with Bianca about creating comics, her creepy cute art, and her favorite horror movies to celebrate her rad new Halloween capsule collection with Adorned By Chi.
Bianca is an accomplished cartoonist with a fantastic body of work and a clear mission statement for her artistic output. “My mission is to give black women an opportunity to see themselves in stories just as nuanced and complicated as everyone else. I always wanted to see myself in the books I read, so one day I decided to do just that. The fact that so many people see themselves in my work, and not just black women but all types of people, that’s the greatest reward!” Xunise told Nerdist.
Growing up with parents who were artists introduced Bianca to cartooning and comics at a young age. “My mom would write our to-do lists in comic form and that’s how we would communicate with each other. The way my comics are drawn are almost exactly the way my mom would write our task list for the day,” Bianca explained.
Later, discovering Lucy Knisley’s French Milk was a truly formative moment. “It was the first time I’d read a comic about nothing, you know? Especially with a female protagonist. Seeing her comics and especially the relationship between her and her mother–how being raised by a creative person influenced her work–I related to it so much and I thought, ‘I have similar stories to tell,'” she recounted.
Bianca’s personal blog was the first home for her cartoons, but it was her regular column at HelloGiggles where the artist cemented her name. Xunise’s cute, resonant, and creative comics garnered her a strong following, not least from Adorned by Chi, the rad black-owned company she’s collaborating with for her Halloween collection.
After the pair shared their mutual admiration, they just knew they had to collaborate, Finally, this year everything fell into place. “I reached out to her and said, ‘Do you wanna do something for Halloween? Cos I wanna do something that’s spooky and goth and cute.’ It was just like ‘Hey, I admire you!’ and ‘I admire you!’ so let’s do some work together,” said the artist.
As for the collection itself, Bianca had a clear vision for want she wanted. “It was really important for me that these sound like they were written by a black woman because everything on Adorned By Chi is about black positivity. ‘So Goth I Was Born Black’ is a saying that exists in black goth culture, and I just thought that would make such a rad t-shirt. I wanted to have something where people would be proud of their weirdness. They could wear it as an emblem and as a rite of passage. Something I think about a lot is how gothness celebrates whiteness, and I want black goth kids to feel special. So you know what: You’re so goth you were BORN black,” Bianca enthused.
With all her cute and spooky creations, it’s probably no surprise that Bianca’s a huge horror fan. “I love horror movies from the ’80s! Probably my favorite is Fright Night, which I can quote backwards and forwards. The Lost Boys, everyone knows I’m a big fan of Alex Winter and baby Kiefer Sutherland! You got the mohawk, the mullet, and earrings. Shout out to the ladies, Near Dark. I love that movie, love Kathryn Bigelow. The way the movie ends is so deep. I wanna have a roundtable discussion about it,” she exclaimed.
As for the future, Xunise has upcoming work that’s incredibly important to her. “I’m really excited about a few pieces that should be coming out in the next couple of months one is about Rock Against Racism. It’s combining my love of social justice and punk rock, and it’s where I want my voice to be as an artist. I’m also working on a personal essay about mental health. I really put my heart into this one. It’s about bringing attention to the lack of awareness of mental health disabilities in the black community, and I hope that this can start a conversation,” Bianca stated passionately.
The collection is available at Adorned by Chi now! We love it, let us know what you think in the comments!
Images: Bianca Xunise
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