Lithuania-based illustrator Kotryna picked up the name “Bonkers” when she was around 16. Even though her friends still call her Bonkers, a lot has changed since then: she’s been kicked out of home, she’s living alone, has adopted a handful of cats, is eating and drawing a fair amount and “trying to be more positive about life,” she says.
Kot Bonkers is a purist, drawing all her illustrations, which centre on current affairs such as Donald Trump and Instagram’s infamous “Nipple Policy” (“it’s ridiculous and bullshit”) by hand using pens and paper. Despite actively challenging Instagram and subscribing to the tenets of the #Freethenipple movement, Kot doesn’t identify with feminism.
“I don’t identify myself with any movement really,” she says. “But if the things I think and feel are feminist in the eyes of others it’s fine.”
Her work is a strange contradiction that marries a naïve illustrating style, rendered in bright nursery school colours, with serious subject matter (debt, freedom of choice and abortion) and the occasional adult joke.
What isn’t a joke is paying the bills and keeping the lights on. Kot works a regular nine-to-five job and moonlights as an illustrator. She isn’t unhappy about this arrangement: “I just draw and because I do it for myself I don’t really think about money or profit,” she says. “If it brings money later on then I’m very happy, if it doesn’t I’m still very happy because my goal is ultimately to express myself.”
The latest in her impressive collection of expressive illustrations is a series of talking heads illustrated to resemble the bold and distinct facial features of African masks. The heads say and think a number of easily identifiable mantras such as “love yourself unconditionally” and “be vulnerable, be real, be strong”.
Kot's work is available on the internet, for the very practical reason that that's where everything is and also because Kot describes herself as a recluse: "I'm a hermit and I could just not leave my house for weeks, so the internet is comfortable for me."