Truth Riders Podcast
By Maria Osorio & Barbara Victoria Niveyro
Hello! This is Truth Riders Podcast. We are Maria Osorio and Barbara Victoria, a mentee and mentor from South America that met through Girls Write Now. Truth Riders is about arts & social justice.
Hello readers! This is Truth Riders Podcast. We are Maria Osorio and Barbara Victoria, a mentee and mentor from South America that met through Girls Write Now. With this show we want to talk about arts and activism. This is our first episode where we interviewed artist Pepita Sandwich.
Below you will find the transcription of the interview. All the art is by Pepita Sandwich; please don’t use it without her authorization.
Maria: Hello humans! This is Truth Riders Podcast
Barbara: and we are Maria and Barbara
Maria: a mentee and a mentor from South America that met through Girls Write Now,
Barbara: a nonprofit organization from New York. Truth Riders is a show about activism,
Maria: a space where we dialogue with artists
Barbara: and explore how they express their truth
Maria: and sense of community engagement.
Barbara: In this series you will meet different creatives from diverse disciplines.
Maria: What they all have in common is that they care
Barbara: and you can see that spirit in their work.
Maria: Our mission is to discover how art
Barbara: and justice can be related, how creatives perceive it,
Maria: and how they can change the world. You can hear Truth Riders: a podcast about justice and arts
Barbara: on Anchor,
Barbara: Girls Write Now’s website
Maria: and on Galaxia2000.com.
Barbara: In this episode of Truth Riders, we interviewed Pepita Sandwich. Pepita Sandwich is an internationally acclaimed illustrator, cartoonist and visual artist. Two of her books were published by Penguin Random House and she continues her relationship with the publishing house for future publications. In this interview we talked about her first steps as an artist, her creative process, and her interest in social justice.
Pepita Sandwich: I really don’t know why I do art, I just know I have to do it, is a very natural thing, it’s like breathing for me. If I have an idea for a drawing and I don’t do it I think I would die or be very, very sad for a long time. I’ve been doing art and drawings for as long as I can remember, I think I’d always use illustrations as my way of communicating and processing what I was feeling and what was happening around me. When I finished high school I really didn’t know I could do that for a living, like drawing for a living. Even though my mom was an art historian and I grew up surrounded by a lot of art books I thought making that to sustain myself was going to be just very, very hard for me so when I finished high school and I had to decide what to study, I decided to go to design school and I studied fashion design because it had a creative perspective, but at the same time I thought it was going to be easier for me to make a living out of it. I was very wrong, I worked in the fashion industry for a few years and I was miserable but I always kept drawing and I had my sketchbook all the time with me where I drew my feelings and the things that happen to me, and I started sharing my work in 2013. I started posting my work into social media and people started to relate to it and started sharing my drawings and then a lot of commission started to come and I started to get paid for my illustrations and I realized that I could pursue a career as a cartoonist.
Maria: This is what Pepita told us about her creative process.
Pepita Sandwich: My creative process is always different in every project. For example when I’m making a book the process is much longer than making one editorial illustration. For everyday work, I like making lists and taking time on Sundays to organize my week. What I like to do when I wake up every morning after taking a shower is just make a cup of coffee for myself going to my desk answering some emails and trying to just organize how my day of work is gonna be. And for more personal work I like to write down all my ideas in a notepad or my phone and I re-read them whenever I want to draw something new. Sometimes ideas come unexpectedly and I have to sit down and draw as fast as I can before I forget them. I love to keep a schedule and I try to draw automatic drawings on it everyday, that keeps me more active and sparks my creativity everyday.
Maria: Love, friendship and sadness are some of the main themes in Pepita’s stories. We asked her about her interest in social justice, what was her wake up call, and what’s coming next in her life.
Pepita Sandwich: I think I use my comics and drawings as a way of communicating the issues that matter to me and I try to use my social media platforms to share my points of view to the world and hopefully spark some change on others and bring awareness into some of the issues I care about. I’m very involved in talking about women and trans reproductive rights, especially in Latin America, and now that I live in the US, I would love to make more and more work about Latinx communities and hispanic representation. My first major wake up call was in 2015 when I found this movement called “Ni Una Menos,” and I started marching on the streets of Buenos Aires. We were fighting against gender-based violence. At the time, intersectional feminism went through me and through my work. In 2018, I started actively drawing for the legalization of abortion campaing in Argentina and I was part of a group of feminist illustrators than joined forces to make work that surrounded that cruzade. Now I really want to do more work about Latin American issues and Latin American identities in the U.S. Right now I’m making a book about self love and how nowadays women are pressured to really like themselves, and it is not always realistic. Is a fan book with gags and funny exercises to try and take the pressure out of some of the social inforce ideas of self-appreciation. I’m also always crying a lot and drawing about it.
Maria: Pepita is from Buenos Aires, Argentina and lives in New York City, we ask her about her experience as an immigrant and how it affects her work and mission.
Pepita Sandwich: Every major change in my life affects my work. My comics are mainly autobiographical. When I first moved to New York City in January 2020, I started my visual diary called “Pepita in the City”. I didn’t know it was gonna to be such a weird year to move to Brooklyn. In the beginning of the pandemic I just cried and had so much anxiety, but keeping my sketchbook and drawing all the time helped me to cope with stress and the stress of being in the epicenter of a pandemic. When summer came along people started going out and raising their voices for social justice. It was very moving and inspiring to be in New York in such an emotional time. I think moving to New York was intense and very inspiring. It made me think about my own identity and I’m trying to talk more about that identity in my personal work.
Barbara: Pepita has more than 150k followers across her social media platforms where she is known for her unique style. We asked her about the power of art and media as resources for civic engagement. This is what she shared with us.
Pepita Sandwich: Artists have always been agents of cultural change, they can sway opinions, they create resistance or reform. Images have a big ability to illustrate complicated truths. As the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei would say, “everything is art everything is politics” and I think social media has helped to highlight a lot of artists and has allowed them to express important issues and channelize into their different agendas through their work. I find very interesting reading about important issues and topics through activists and artists that are really involved and have deep knowledge in the issues they talk about. Social media can be overwhelming sometimes, and I love there are a lot of artists talking about mental health and trying to create change responsibly. This was Pepita Sandwich for Truth Riders Podcast. Thank you for listening to my experience. You can see more of my work at pepitasandwich.com. I hope this year finds you well and with a lot of delicious sandwiches.
Maria: You can hear Truth Riders, a podcast about justice and arts
Barbara: on Anchor,
Barbara: Girls Write Now’s website
Maria: and on Galaxia2000.com.
Pepita Sandwich: Thank you!
Maria: Hasta la vista, bye bye!
Barbara: See you next time!
Maria: Nos vemos!
For this project we wanted to talk about arts, cities, and justice so we invited Pepita Sandwich, an illustrator from Argentina to participate and she said yes. The goal was to try new things and that led us to the idea of a podcast episode. We thought about the questions and made the interview, after having the responses from Pepita we started editing our voices using Audacity. Once we finished editing the interview we added music and sound effects. This music was downloaded from FirstCom, a platform that provides licensed music. One of the last steps before publishing was making a logo for the podcast using Procreate. Finally, we made a transcript of our episode including some of the illustrations made by Pepita.
Maria Osorio is a 17-year-old Colombian living in Queens, NY. 2020 is the first year she will publicly share her writing work. Being at Girls Write Now has given her the confidence to work on her own writing and finish projects from poems to memoirs. Her main interests are social and environmental justice. She also likes to read in her free time and to be involved in different activities outside of school that will help her get closer to college.
Barbara Victoria Niveyro is a media producer, writer and strategist focused on urbanism and civic engagement. She works in multimedia with digital platforms, non-profits, museums and creatives such as NYXT, Katy Tucker and DiMoDA. For more than 10 years she has worked in the film industry, in roles ranging from production to distribution, and sound design to stop-motion. She collaborated with organizations such as Turner, BAFICI, Larson Studios and MNN. In 2017 Barbara won a scholarship to Can Serrat, the International Artist Residency in Barcelona, where she wrote Almonds and beer, a book about emerging artists, presented at MoMA PS1.