Q&A with ‘Tuning In’ comic artist Sophie Zhou

Sydney University student Sophie Zhou shares a four part comic series about a conversation with a snail. The story begins to unfold among the grass, dirt and flowers. The snail introduces the reader to their friend worm who teaches the reader about earthworms.

The comic hopes to prompt readers to think about their own plant blindness and tune into environment around them with small steps at a time, so that readers too can see the rich life that they should also be considering when we demand for climate action. You can see more Sophie on Instagram: @bowlcut_senpai.

What is your artwork about?

When creating the piece, I was thinking about challenging plant blindness. I also wanted it to be a reminder for myself and everyone that climate change affects everything in an intersectional manner and so should climate action. 

What does your art space look like? 

My art space is everywhere. I may be sitting outside on the grass, on the dinner table, on the floor – basically anywhere. It is difficult to condense it into one picture as I am constantly moving about! 

What is your favourite natural environment?

I love to explore and tune into life among the forests. I love listening to the sounds around me and breathe the sweet air. I recently visited the neighbourhood forest!

Where did you get your idea for your piece? What inspired you?

The idea for the piece came about my lack of knowledge about the world around me, like the snails or worms. After reading a piece on plant blindness it got me thinking that I have been living unconsciously and acting unconsciously, which has impacted my interactions with the environment around me.

Why is climate change and the environment important to you?

Seeing the events caused by the climate crisis like the bushfires, made me realise that the world is dying, but also seeing all the climate action that has been going on has made me realise that as a collective we can bring about change. The plants, bugs, dirt – all beings are being adversely affected by climate change making it a very important issue to me. 

What did you learn while creating your piece?

That I have more to learn about myself, my impact in the world, my connection to the world around me, and that excites me. 

Earth Cries is a climate change anthology dedicated to a world burning. Tackling all aspects of climate change, Earth Cries is bold in exploring the damage caused by the Black Summer bushfires and even in imagining cold futures drowning below the ever rising sea. Featuring a foreword by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Earth Cries is now available at sydneyuniversitypress.com.au.