comic art by Ivana Armanini
Nini Zini - 'She Must Be Mad' (2018).

Ivana Armanini is a Croatian comic artist and illustrator, whose work is characterized by its activism, feminism and social awareness. She is also an editor, curator, small (press & web) publisher and graphic designer, active in the indie comics scene of the Balkans. Since 2002, she is founder and manager of Komikaze, a network for production, promotion and distribution of authorial comics with a focus on the independent scene.

Early life and career
Born in 1970, Ivana Armanini got her artistic education from the School of Applied Arts & Design and the Academy of Arts in Zagreb. Since then, she has lived and worked periods of time in Zagreb and in Ljubljana. Her further education is in web design and cultural management. Armanini's connection to comics came later in life. After her studies, she worked as a designer, fine art painter and restorer of buildings. Through a colleague, she was introduced to alternative comics, and particularly Emil Jurcan's DIY fanzine Total Zero sparked her interest.

Professional career
Since the 1990s, Armanini is busy making her own comics, but also active in web design, animation and photography. Armanini's comics have appeared in international anthologies like Stripburger (Slovenia) and 'Stripburek: Comics from the Other Europe' (Top Shelf, 2002), as well as in many solo comics, art books and zines, often accompanied by solo or group exhibitions. Graphically and narratively, her comics explore the boundaries of the visual arts medium, taking inspiration from new approaches and media brought about by new technologies. As an entrepeneur, she tries to connect creators, take a stance against inequality and create social engagement, not only in Croatia but also in the other former Yugoslavian countries. In addition to her art projects, Armanini has worked alternately as visual arts teacher, conservator and comic journalist.

'Adventures of Gloria Scott' (2005).

One of Ivana Armanini's earliest projects was creating comic stories based on the Gloria Scott detective stories written by high school student Mima Simić. Her black-and-white experimental takes on these stories were collected in the 2005 comic book 'Pustolovine Glorije Scott' ("Comic Adventures of Gloria Scott"). In later years, she has released several DIY zines, using different printing techniques, such as the 'Nini Zini' series (2016-2019), the digitally printed 'FMCX' (2017) and the A5-formatted 'Zero Zine' (2022). Together with writer Marko Golub, she created the 2017 'Mangelos' comic book, released by Komikaze and the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of the Yugoslavian artist, currator and art critic Dmitry Bašićevic, AKA Mangelos. Further comic book releases include 'Katalog' (2016), a bold and grotesque exploration of the comics medium, the art book 'Blue Concertina' (2018), made for the Festival of Illustration at The Meštrović Pavilion, the silk-printed and handmade 'Alice in Waterland' (2020) and the true story collection 'BOTS' (2021).

'Mangelos' (2017).

Early in her comic book career, Ivana Armanini teamed up with the cartoonist Dušan Gačić to found the collective Divlje Oko (Wild Eye). Among the artists joining the group were Todorovski, Magda Dulčić, Miroslv Nemeth, Irena Jukić and Helena Anžlovar. However, the group didn't last long, since Gačić wanted to work on avantgardistic group projects and Armanini was more interested in networking, new media and social engagement. In 2002, these objectives formed the foundation of Komikaze, a platform for creator-owned indie comics. Besides releasing Komikaze print and web zines, the initiative also consists of a network of over 350 published authors from 50 countries. Its website hosts a virtual library/gallery/museum of free comic stories. Besides publishing, Komikaze has been exhibiting on over 265 events, workshops, fairs and festivals in such countries as Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, Romania, Poland, Portugal and the USA. In 2020, Komikaze was awarded the Alternative Comics Award during the Angoulême International Comics Festival in France.

A Komikaze side-project by Ivana Armanini is Femicomix, a collective initiative aiming to underline the strength and potential of female author expression in the field of contemporary comics. In addition, Ivana Armanini is a member of the Croatian Freelance Artists Association, the Women Who Draw platform (an open directory of female illustrators) and EVOKE, an international community of optimists hosted by Melinda French Gates.

From: 'BOTS' (2021).

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