Freaky women with grotesque shark-like teeth, slasher babes and bloody monsters bursting out of heads adorn the covers of Hink Stink’s eccentric illustrations. Adele Henning, also known by her stage name “Hink Stink”, recreates the fantasy of a horror lover in her artwork, exploring femininity through an unconventional lens that is cutthroat, combative and violent.
hink stink, a Junior Illustration Major, is a Chicago-based comic artist, illustrator, muralist, and animator who uses artistic escapism in the local underground art scene to explore narratives she finds healing. Her art too inspires community building with other independent artists.
“I enjoy exploring narratives and narratives that are relevant to me and therapeutic for me in some ways,” said Hink Stink. “I feel like generally as a comic artist or storyteller you’re honest in your work and then other people can relate to that and it’s this cool, calming group therapy thing.”
Growing up, Hink Stink first explored comics like Jeff Smith’s Bone fantasy graphic novel series and said she’s always been interested in “weird, understated stuff.”
Hink Stink explores the spectrum of femininity, illuminating the feminine and queer qualities of stylized female creatures from an edgy and ugly perspective.
“I want to explore the uglier aspects of womanhood and what that can mean for people when I’m just shocking to not always do something pretty,” said Hink Stink.
From her zine creations to street murals and tags, Hink Stink’s art was created with the intention that everyone could relate to her creatures, women and illustrations.
“I think it is [artwork] just for anyone who resonates with it,” said Hink Stink. “It’s like I’m exploring ideas and in a way I’m exploring myself. … I don’t need it for one specific person because at the end of the day it’s me exploring and I’m happy if everyone can relate to it in some way.”
Hink Stink’s horror comedy illustration book called Bad God, she began Experiment with monster head figures. The book features creatures like Rae, a bitter high school dropout with big dreams, and Cindy, a reformed suburban from a cornfield. The story follows the duo as they try to become a hugely successful pop group – the problem is that they suck.
“In the general sphere of things, great people in the [illustration] Industry is usually straight white guys who lead the way,” said Hink Stink. “I think there needs to be more diversity in general [among] People in all industries, especially narrative industries like comics or animation. It’s just important to have all sorts of people in power, in storytelling and artistic professions.”
Hink Stink draws inspiration from comic book artist Abby Jame, who has written for The New Yorker, Adult Swim and Giphy. She said she admires James’ work because the subject matter is “salacious” and “harrowing”.
“I like her work, and it’s these weird girl comics, but they’re so raunchy and the subject matter she covers is so terse and dry,” said Hink Stink. “Sometimes they are almost shrill. Your art sales are super unorthodox too.”
Think stink has participated in arts events across the city including All American Trash, Get Flea, Dope Art Show, and Ink Fest.
Hink Stink said attending events as a vendor throughout Chicago has been a positive experience because it allows her to meet other artists in the community.
Hink Stink began integrating into the street art community in early 2020, drawing her creature women and horror illustrations on stickers and later transitioned to putting up poster art around town. She also had the opportunity to paint an “angry ladies” mural in the Wabash Arts Corridor.
“The mural was just a super awesome opportunity to apply for and I like being public, accessible art, and street art is super fun and cool, and it’s just enriching and interesting. And it doesn’t all have to be boring,” said Hink Stink. “I think street art and murals are super important, especially in urban settings.”
Hink Stink’s latest project is a 50-page graphic novel titled LORA, which will be available in webcomic and print book form this summer.
“Anyone can make comics, and anyone can start sticking stickers,” Hink Stink said. “Anyone who wants to make art should and could.”
For more information on upcoming book launches like “LORA” and art events, visit Hink Stinks Instagram and official site for art launches, comic and zine collections and a goods store.