Kelly is one of the creators featured in our latest anthology, Welcome to Mina’s. Kelly has been working on a series of fantasy graphic novels called Halfsoul since 2018. Her work deals with various issues around mental health and recovery. She is dedicated to advocating for mental health wellness and reducing stigma and plans to have more work in the future about this topic. I sat down with her [virtually] to get some insight into comics, diners, and the creative process.
Kathleen Gros: What was the inspiration behind your story for this anthology?
Kelly Chen: Food is a love language (and sometimes the main one) for many Asian families. This can become potent, especially when intergenerational trauma /other mental illnesses are involved. Food is also an act of self care, so I wanted to have both interpretations of love interact with each other.
KG:What is your favourite part of the creative process?
KC: My favourite part of the creative process is panel layout. One of the most unique things about comics is panels, and the experience of reading really depends on them. Every panel layout design detail should have a conscious decision behind it, and I love the process of that creative problem. I think because I pay so much attention to panel layout it has become the most unique part of my work.
KG: What’s your go-to diner order?
KC: Fried chicken. Something about the clogging of arteries is just so delicious
KG: This anthology is set in Vancouver. What’s your connection to the city? What about Vancouver did you want to highlight in your story?
KC: I moved to Vancouver 6 years ago for school. Since then, I’ve come to love it as home. To be honest, I’m not sure how I would describe Vancouver to an outsider because I feel the essence of cities can be such a collectively individual thing and experiences can vary greatly. For myself, Vancouver is where I found my community 🙂
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If you haven’t already, check out the Welcome to Mina’s KICKSTARTER!