REAL GEEK GIRLS: Artist Marie aka Mawoee
The goal of my “Real Geek Girls” series is to show the world that girls truly can be geeky. For some, that seems like an obvious observation, but there’s always that one person, almost always a guy, who will talk about how girls are fake geeks who don’t know what they’re talking. Girls are just doing it look cool and lure in geek guys. They don’t know what it’s all about when it comes to “geek culture” and they’re somehow just there to be admired by geek guys. I’m here to let the world know that girls DO know what we’re talking about. We can be and we ARE just as geeky as the guys. Every now and again, I’ll interview a new geek girl just to highlight how many of us are out there, how real we are all. We come in all shapes and sizes, and love a many number of geeky things. I’m going to show the world that there are real geek girls, and they know as much, if not more, than the somehow more revered geek guy.
Meet Marie, better known as Mawoee. She’s an artist with a lot of awesomely geeky prints. She’s one of those artists who conveys an incredible amount of emotion in her work. When you look at her work you can’t help but be in awe of her talent. I got to talk to her about her art, that time Hayley Atwell and Chris Evans acknowledged her work and other fun things! You can buy some of her work here and check out more of her work here. You may also follow her on Twitter here.
What does being a geek mean to you?
Being a geek to me is being passionate: feeling a deep, intense love for things that make us happy, that creates a never-ending enthusiasm, something that almost echoes this emotion of wonder and joy we used to get as kids! I use the word geek for more than pop culture and media related things, even though they are what kind of defined the word in the first place. I consider myself a geek for other things too (e.g. I love theater and regularly call myself a theater geek, ah!). It’s a state of being overall, not restricted only to pop culture in my opinion.
What are your thoughts on people out there who think girls are faking being geeks?
I think this goes hand in hand with some weird competition attitudes in fandom and pop culture, this is a place where we should all “be in this together” instead of saying “I’m a better fan than you”. Obviously a lot of the medias we love have been created and dominated for a long time by certain groups who feel threatened by people who are now more willing to openly, fully embrace their geekism and show their passion in every possible way. So, as it’s often the case with changes, I guess people are scared and react with aggression or snobism. It’s also, alas, perpetuating some sexist clichés that women are lesser geeks than their guy counterparts, that we are less worthy, or less knowledgeable, just because some of pop culture was initally aimed at and created by men.
This is such a stupid mindset, geek girls have always been there, and are now stronger than ever. Look at the Carol corps, look at Kamala Khan, look at people campaigning for a Black Widow movie, look at new Thor kicking ass in the comics charts, look at Noelle Stevenson having an amazing week with news of adaptation of both Nimona AND Lumberjanes, look at all the women creators absolute rocking right now, I mean, we keep on fighting to get representation, there is still a lot of work to be done on various levels, but things are definitely changing. This is exciting, these are the times we live in, anyone still stuck in the “ew fake geek girls” mindset will probably end up left behind and missing on all the awesome that those geek girls have been working on, celebrating and embracing for a long time.
Being a geek and a fan is fantastic, and it’s even better when we all share it together to be honest.
At what age did you realize you loved art and making awesome art prints?
When I was kid I was fascinated by Disney movies and animation in general, on top of reading lots of French comics (‘bande dessinées’), US comics and graphic novels from all over the world. I loved to draw and was inspired by all kinds of stuff. Back in the day (oh no, I feel old saying that!) we had to use some weird underground exchange networks in France to get some Japanese animation tv shows on CDs, or get some friends of friends to get us artbooks from the US (Amazon, etc didn’t really exist when I was a young teen!). All of this started pushing 12 year old me into the direction of making short comics and learning to draw inspired mostly by animation.
Have you taken art classes?
Yes, I did a few comics/drawing related art classes before the age of 17, then, when I graduated from school in France, I immediately got accepted into a big 3d/animation post graduate school where I studied for 4 years. I’ve been working in CG animation for about 10 years now, mostly on commercials, tv shows, and music videos. I also try to go to life drawing classes whenever I can.
How did you feel when Hayley Atwell instagrammed your wonderful art piece of Peggy and Steve?
Funnily enough, I was on a break from twitter around that time, staying in France with my family, and away from England where I live (which also means no network on my phone!), so I didn’t see it right away. Then I realised my phone was blinking like crazy when I got some wifi again, something was up, and when I checked what happened, oh my!
Hayley Atwell had blessed me with a few tweets of this art in the past years, mostly re-tweeting other people sending it to her. However, it was the first time she was actually posting it online herself and I was completely overwhelmed that after all these years (the art is from 2011!) it was still something she remembered and appreciated. This really means the world to me. The credit of the art got lost along the years (signature being cut and all that) which made it tough to point out, but I have many friends online who jumped in people’s mentions to direct them to me and I was extremely thankful for that 😀
And when Chris Evans noticed it, that must’ve made you even more excited huh?
I gotta say that was kind of mind blowing, because Chris Evans does not tweet a lot and the fact that he took the time to say he liked my art was just incredible and lovely. Maybe one day I’ll have the chance to tell thanks in person, but I still can’t get over how amazing this moment was!
I feel very grateful and I’m glad the piece resonated with both of them, it really is the ultimate validation, isn’t it?
So thank you, Hayley and Chris, it really, trully, made my day.
And my twitter absolutely exploded with people from all over the world congratulating me, it was all so surreal but also very heartwarming.
Are there any other pieces you’re working on? Anymore Captain America ones? Perhaps something from DC Comics?
Oh there are MANY more pieces I’m working on, I’m a bit slow in my creative process though. Also working during the day in the creative industry is making it difficult to sometimes sit down and draw in the evening! It sucks out a lot of creative energy to work in animation and I’m well aware it’s not necessarily a great thing for my illustration time. But I’ve started planning ahead and my goal is now to bring illustration and drawing back as the forefront of my creative life. I’m taking steps toward that and focusing on drawing some more to develop my illustration work.
This is also why my tumblr has been quiet, I had to sort things out first and so I can gradually go into a more regular output of arts, and I’ve been also drawing a lot on the side in a more academic manner, life drawing when I can (my latest adventure was drawing ballet dancers at the Royal Opera House!).
But I can tell you that I have some MCU New Avengers work in progress, some more Cap (Steve Rogers is my favorite, I cannot lie!), Sam, Bucky, Wanda (wasn’t Elisabeth Olsen amazing in Age of Ultron?) and some Mad Max Fury Road arts too… Plus some secret stuff I’m working on, that I can hopefully reveal soon.
If you could be a superhero, which superhero would you want to be and why?
That’s a tough question, I guess the very unoriginal answer would be “I think I’d like to be a superhero who could fly” because truly, that would be amazing. But I guess we can all be superhero without the superpowers, sometimes even the simplest things can change big things, so that’s my cheesy answer, if I was a superhero, I’d like to have the right skills to help someone at the right time, may those skills be super or not!
Would you love to work for Marvel potentially making art for them?
Yes. Yes, so much, yes. I will work my ass off, get better and hopefully have a chance one day. I’d love to be able to make a cover for something, a variant, or work in concept designs on the movies, it’s been a dream since I was a teenager.
And I’ll keep on making art celebrating their awesome characters regardless, because I love so many of them!
If you were stuck in an elevator and could only have one superhero come rescue you, who would you want to come rescue you?
The Star Spangled Man with a plan! MCU Steve Rogers really doesn’t like doors, pretty sure that would be dealt with real fast.
Is there anything you’re working on in the future that you’d like us to know about?
Mostly, I hope, fanarts and possibly my own concept arts too. I hope to populate my tumblr and incoming website with more stuff very soon, it’s my goal in the next few months.
What’s your advice to all the girls out there who are afraid of embracing their geekiness?
Be proud, be enthusiastic, show your geek colors, and if people bother you, tell them that there is nothing sadder than someone being nasty at someone else for being passionate about something. Life is too short….
I dress like casual Captain America sometimes because it makes me smile, and I get high fives from kids (and fellow geeks!) on the tube who shout “Avengers Assemble” and that’s just the best thing.
You can wear a geeky tee shirt, wear a geeky pin, go to conventions if you can, meet up with fans, celebrate fan culture, draw, write, cosplay, debate online, talk about geek stuff – it’s so great. Sometimes it’s a bit tough, we have strong feelings and emotions, it can be draining, and the community is massive and overwhelming and very good at self imploding once in a while, but it’s worth it, and so rewarding.
I’ve met so many amazing people from all over the world thanks to fandoms and geek things, have had many incredible encounters, I have been inspired to create so many things thanks to it, I’m constantly humbled and in awe at the incredible creativity of the geek community, I think it’s beautiful to be a geek and it makes your world bigger!
All photos credit: Marie.