An Exclusive Interview with Toons Mag Award-winning cartoonist Michel Kichka.
TM: Explain about yourself in 100 words: (Example: Where are you from? What is your profession? How old are you? Etc.)
Michel: I was born in Belgium in 1954 to a Jewish family who had survived the Holocaust. I decided to settle in Israel in 1974 when I was studying architecture, and I decided to study graphic design at the Jerusalem Art Academy. I live and work in Jerusalem, with my wife, Olivia, and we have three adult sons and two granddaughters. We are expecting a grandson in April. I freelance as a book illustrator, political cartoonist and comic author. I’ve been a lecturer at the Art Academy in those fields since 1982.
TM: How/where did you learn to draw? How long have you been working as a cartoonist / Artist?
Michel: I was born gifted through my father’s side and grew up in the sixties, the Golden Age of the Belgian-French comics, which were my main influences. I became a political cartoonist 20 years ago alongside my career as an illustrator and comic artist.
TM: What work do you most enjoy doing? What are your hobbies?
Michel: I love humour, cartooning and telling stories in comics to adults and children the most. I love the process of writing as well.
TM: Name three artists/cartoonists you are inspired by? How have they inspired you?
Michel: The Belgium comic artist Franquin, and the French comic artists Gotlib and Cabu who was murdered in the Charlie Hebdo attack.
TM: Why did you decide to be an artist / Cartoonist?
Michel: I don’t remember ever deciding that. It has always been clear to me. It’s a passion and a vocation.
TM: What is your aim in life? Where you want to see yourself after ten years?
Michel: I’d like to create until my very last day, doing my best to cause a better understanding between human beings no matter where they are.
TM: Recently we arranged an international cartoon contest and exhibition, and you were one of the winners. What do you think about Women’s Rights? How important is it to you, and why?
Michel: The place of women is central in the history of humankind and it’s about time we stopped male chauvinism in all fields of life and in all societies. There’s no such thing as male superiority.
TM: How can we build a better world by our cartoons?
Michel: Hoping cartoon will build a better world is wishful thinking. But cartoons can make people smile or even laugh at their own existential problems, which is quite an achievement. Humour is the oxygen to our mental health! As a member of Cartooning for Peace Association, I try to build bridges between people with pencils.
Interviewed by Arifur Rahman