Here’s a short interview with Stacy Kirages, creator of Modernizm and Zine Fest Houston participant. Look for her table at Zine Fest Houston 2012.
How long have you been creating zines?
I’ve been creating zines for about two years now, ever since I graduated from school and moved back to Houston in 2010. I just can’t seem to get enough, so I keep on making them. I’m constantly brainstorming for new zine ideas and when I think of a good one, I’ll immediately write it down because I don’t want to forget. You should never let a good zine idea go to waste!
Why do you like zines?
Zines appeal to me because they are the exact opposite of anything that is mass-produced and drastically different from digital media. They are such unique and personal objects, sometimes only having a run of ten editions. In this day and age, I think it’s awesome that there are still people who are enthusiastic about creating small-scale handmade publications. Holding a zine in your hand is not like holding an iPad or a Kindle. This is about connecting with something more tangible and DIY. I also enjoy the endless possibilities of subject matter when creating zines. A zine can literally be about anything you want it to be. From what you had to eat that day, your grandmother’s Tupperware collection, that one time you went to the beach or things that start with the letter R! There is no right or wrong way to make a zine, and that, I believe, is truly the beauty of self-publishing.
What are your favorite zines/minicomics/etc?
Lately I’ve been interested in food zines, such as The Runcible Spoon based in Washington, D.C., and Remedy Quarterly and Put A Egg On It, both based in Brooklyn. The Runcible Spoon is fun because it’s half-collage, half-illustration, filled with tons of color and 100% handmade. I have Issue #7: Mad Science, which features recipes for mooncake, occult jam and home cured bacon. Remedy Quarterly has a great design aesthetic – very clean and easy to read. Put A Egg On It is printed on green paper and has superbly written essays about food and the memory of eating certain foods. There’s also an amazing zine about pizza called Slice Harvester, but I haven’t had a chance to pick up a copy just yet.
What is your favorite part of zine fests?
I’d have to say that my favorite part of participating in and going to zine fests is definitely the trading aspect. It’s exciting getting to see what other kinds of zines are out there and what everyone else is creating. There is also that nervous feeling you get right before a trade. Are they going to say yes to trading with you? Will they like your zine or not? These are some of the questions that go through my mind before I ask someone to trade with me. I’ve had a pretty good experience with trading though because I think the zine community is open and receptive to exchanging and collaborating as much as possible with other zinesters.
What new projects are you working on this year?
This year I’m planning on applying for a Houston Arts Alliance grant to help with the production costs of a zine called The Zinester’s Guide to Houston based off Ayun Halliday’s (creator of the East Village Inky) zine/city guide to New York. As much as people hate on the Bayou City sometimes, I am proud to call myself a Houstonian and I think the city has such a great art scene and artistic community. I haven’t worked out all the details, but I hope that local writers will be willing to contribute essays and/or fictional stories about their experience living in Houston and their favorite places around town. Other than that big project, I am going to continue working on my Modernizm zine series and collaborate with as many creative people as possible.