Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Comics & Graphic Novels General

The Selves

by (author) Sonja Ahlers

Drawn & Quarterly
Initial publish date
Jun 2010
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2010
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Before blogs, there were zines. Before zines, there were scrapbooks. Sometimes overlooked in the quest to produce high culture, these most direct and intimate means of communication and recording memory are the tools favored by Sonja Ahlers in the making of her art. A self-taught artist and writer, Ahlers wears her pop-culture obsessions on her sleeve, professing her love for such visual icons as Princess Di, Holly Hobbie, and Stevie Nicks. Focusing on found objects such as stickers, greeting cards, andmagazine photos collected in collage framework, complete with song lyrics hand-lettered in cursive script and heartbreaking, melancholic watercolors, Ahlers explores and exposes the social construction of roles, feminine and otherwise. Beginning with incipient childhood self-awareness and traversing high school status jockeying to adult social climbing, the cultural imagery that supports and informs personal identity is given uneasy new meanings and importance in Ahlers's visual remixes.

About the author

Sonja Ahlers is a visual artist and poet from Victoria, BC. Her books are hard to classify and can be found in several different sections of the library.

1994's A WANDERING EYE was the first of many self-published books that circulated mainly through the underground "penpal" network of punk rock and Riot grrrl zines. Ahlers attracted national attention with TEMPER, TEMPER, published by Insomniac Press in 1998, followed by FATAL DISTRACTION in 2004. In 2010, Drawn & Quarterly published The Selves .

Ahlers' art has been exhibited across Canada, as well as in the United States, Japan, and Australia. She helped create the visual identity of Rookie Mag and from 2011 to 2015 was a frequent contributor to the publication and lead artist/designer of its four anthologies.

Sonja Ahlers' profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Sonja Ahlers' meditations on childhood, pop culture and feminine power are beyond entertaining. Entering the alternate reality she has created in The Selves, I found myself standing somewhere seductive, familiar and very funny.” —Kathleen Hanna (Musician, Bikini Kill and Le Tigre)
“Sonja Ahlers's work is violently frangible, disheveled sophistication; cruelly sentimental and sweetly cold. This violent femme is everything, everything, everything.” —LYNN CROSBIE, author of Pearl and Liar on Sonja Ahlers
“Ahlers's interests revolve around the connections between art, craft, and architecture, as mediated by the personal histories of selected women artists.” —The Georgia Straight on Sonja Ahlers

Other titles by Sonja Ahlers