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ZFH 2014 Interviews #8: Dalton Stark

15 Sep

Today’s interview features a Jurassic-sized helping of deets about Dalton Stark, illustrator and full-time dinosaur lover! Raarr

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Stark-Its a ME!

ZFH: Why do you create zines?

DS: My making of zines comes from my will to simply create cool stuff. Zines are just such a fun format to express my own silly muses in.

ZFH: Why do you like zines?

DS: I have always adored DIY style projects, and zines are a medium in which artists are really given that ideal playground to showcase ideas. Pens, printer paper, and a copy machine. Folded and stapled into sweet chocolatey goodness. Doesn’t get much better then that. I think.

ZFH: How did you become interested in zines?

DS: I made my first zine during my freshman year of college to really just amuse myself. When I showed it to my English professor, he made me informed of the entire community surrounding it, and so i decided I needed to make more and get into zine fest!

ZFH: What is your favorite part of zine fest?

DS: My favorite part of zine fest has to be being surrounded by so many brilliant creatives. Their energy is all so wonderful and being in their presence is so thrilling. I just love the people.
Stark-Lizard.paladin
ZFH: 
What is something that you’re looking forward to about the 2014 Zine Fest Houston?

DS: Im definitely looking forward to seeing all the other zinesters and their creations, and hoping mine are received genuinely as well!

ZFH: What made you decide to participate in the 2014 Zine Fest Houston?

DS: After participating in 2013, I found this was an event I had to make another appearance too!

ZFH: What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest?

DS: If everything goes well enough that I manage to complete these in time, I’ll hopefully have The Book of Dinosaur, which is essentially an illustrated dinosaur encyclopedia zine, and some sort of Pokemon zine

ZFH: What is the concept behind your zine/zines?

DS: I love drawing cartoons, and mainly just filtering reality through them. I just want to draw the world and the things that reflect my own inner child.
Stark-Time.Wizard

ZFH: What is/are your favorite place(s) in Houston?

DS: The Houston Museum of Natural Science Paleontology Hall. Oof.

ZFH: You’ve been developing a lot of new designs lately. What are your influences overall and what direction are you trying to take your work in these days?

DS: Im highly influenced by both old and new cartoons, and in saying that, Im currently just developing my portfolio so I can perhaps show it to Cartoon Network or something super sweet like that.

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Sweet! Thanks Dalton!

ZFH 2014 Interviews #7: Blake Jones

12 Sep

Today’s interview is with Blake Jones, illustrator and creator of the effervescent Cool Dog. Check out his work here, as well as the Lousy Deal collective!

ZFH: Why do you create zines?

Blake: Im constantly CONSTANTLY sketching and doodling and churning out zines just became a way for me to show off drawings and ideas I was proud of and ready to show-off


ZFH: 
How did you become interested in zines?

Blake: The first zine i ever got was from this artist named Jason Sho Green, I found his website through stumpleupon in like 8th grade and bought just the cheapest thing on his site, I didnt even know what a zine was I just bought it and cherished it because I had never seen anything like it and it just blew me away and heavily changed how i look at art and illustration.
IMG_4008

ZFH: What is your favorite part of zine fest?

Blake: trading with people for sure.

ZFH: What are your favorite zines/mini-comics etc.?

Blake: I don’t know if they are considered zines/mini-comics but they arent full fledged graphic novels but any work that Adrian Tomine puts out instantly gets added to my shelf.

ZFH: What new projects are you working on this year?

Blake: This year I’ve got a new 80+ page book coming out full of photos and drawings I’ve taken this year, I also recently cleaned out my studio and found literally a few hundred quick drawings just spread on scrap and loose paper, instead of trying to organize them and scan them or anything, ive made about 50 original folders that all contain 5 to 8 original drawings that will be present kind of blind box goodie bag style.

ZFH: What is something you think people should know about DIY in Houston?

Blake: more people just need to do it in general, theres so much untapped talent in this city. i mean shit even if you suck you can only get better, you don’t just get worse at stuff after practice

ZFH: What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest?

Blake: i’ve got shirts, the new book, some old books, zines left over from last year, stickers, and some new screen prints that i’ll be hustling. Im also going to attempt 60-second drawings for $1 each.

ZFH: Why does self-publishing appeal to you?

Blake: Its let you be in 100% control of the content you are presenting. It seem’s like a no brainer for me.

ZFH: What is the concept behind your zine/zines?

Blake: I never go with a certain theme or story really, when laying them out i try to pay attention to how spreads will look next to each other but thats about it. I’m too ADD to have any type of narrative.

ZFH: Can you talk about the creation/content of Stud Muffin?

Blake: The content is going to be 80+ pages of new drawings and photos i’ve taken over the past year. I went out of the country a few months ago and got to see a lot of wild stuff, this has also been a crazy emotional year for me and I just decided rather than trying to hurry and put out 3-4 zines with everything I’d just combine it all into a book so everyone can get the full package.

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Lots to look forward too. You can also get a sort of sneak preview of his work by picking up this month’s issue of Free Press Houston!

ZFH 2014 Interviews #6: Jah Jah Gray

10 Sep

For today’s interview we sit down with Jah Jah Gray, an energetic producer of paintings and drawings in Houston – his kinetic style has been seen more and more as he expands his practice into the public sphere. Let’s get a sneak peek into what he’s got brewing for this year’s fest!

 

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ZFH: Why do you create zines?

J: zines offer an effective portal through which I can slingshot my seeds beneath the soil. There they can grow just with a bit of water and sunshine.


ZFH: Why do you like zines?

J: Propaganda can mold a culture and society. When we submit our gaze to books, magazines, art and other visual or printed material we subject ourselves to influence of propaganda.

ZFH: The line work and shapes in your drawings are so intricate!  What do you think about when you are making drawings and what else inspires you?

J: as soon as I touch the pen or brush to surface I become completely aware. A feeling of infinti settles in soon becoming the driving force. Momentum builds as I watch a world unravel.

Ive been inspired by many things. Shout out to Baltazaar. We’ve shared with each other our knowledge and findings of calligraphy, lettering, pen & brush making and ink making. we have collaborated on several pieces. Also I wanna mention Bizzy Biz and Uriel Landeros because they have been influenctial in my development with the exchange of idea and brushes strokes. I take not e of the work ethic of many of the people around me.

I admire traditional Japanese and Chinese calligraphy. I appreciate all forms of abstract art. My current method originated in the abstract. I am currently studying the styles of pin-striping form. I also admire Ghanaian wood works and coffins and kente cloth and other patterned textile. I watch the intricacies of the patterning on rugs. Painting is like swinging a pendulum. I used to draw lightning bolts and ak 47s and fire. I like the concept of a billboard but I hate how they are used.

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ZFH:
How did you become interested in zines?

J: I want to publish books filled with art.


ZFH: What is your favorite part of zine fest?

J: BOJAKAZ MGMT


ZFH: What is something that you’re looking forward to about the 2014 Zine Fest Houston?

J: zine fest for me is a check point marking a particular stage in the development of a great thing.
ZFH: What made you decide to participate in the 2014 Zine Fest Houston?

J: Zines

ZFH: Fair enough, haha. What is something you think people should know about DIY in Houston?

J: With DIY we always have work.


ZFH: What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest?

J: Illustration zines, original postcards, t- shirts and flags and banners. LIBRES Y LOCOS!!!


ZFH: What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines?

J: Kalunga Ngolo offers Capoeira class twice a week @ SHAPE wed 7:30 and sat 2:00. We do performances and events. Music and movement.


ZFH: 
Why does self-publishing appeal to you?

J: I like controlling the flow of production and distribution.


ZFH: What is the concept behind your zine/zines?

J: To exhibit inspirational imagery while providing a positive and self impowering message.


ZFH: How long have you been creating zines?

J: For two months.

ZFH: What is/are your favorite place(s) in Houston?

J: I like seeing graffiti and tags everywhere. More propaganda.


ZFH: What do you think the zine/self publishing scene in Houston will be like in 20 years?

J: Dope.

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GOOD PROGNOSTICATING! We agree! Thanks Jah, we’re looking forward to your big debut at Zine Fest Houston!

ZFH 2014 Interviews #5: Sarah Welch

9 Sep

Today’s interview finds us catching up with the immortal Sarah Welch. A prodigious illustrator, comics artist and purveyor of fine zines and prints, she is the author of Misseen and Endless Monsoon, and her illustrations have been featured in Free Press Houston and Cite Magazine, among others. Let’s take a turn ’round the block and stay a spell with Sarah.


EM_CMAR_preview

ZFH:Misseen” deals with your issues living with low vision. Do you think it has affected your aesthetic choices when drawing? If so, how?

SW: I think the most prominent, literal effect it’s had is that I use a lot of black. I wasn’t really conscious of this until recently, but I think it probably makes my life a little easier when I’m workingto see everything divided into bold, distinct shapes, I’m not about demure line work really. I used to aspire to perfect, clean lines, but I think I’m team chunky whether I like it or not. Team Chunky y’all.

Sidenote–I tried to buy one of those blue non-photo pencils once so I could feel more ~professional~ making comics hahaha and it was a complete waste of time because I couldn’t see jack. So my originals always look like a mess.

EMpt2_pg6 copy

ZFH: What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest?

SW: A lot of what we plan to have this year has yet to be printed, so I’m going to cross my fingers that all this reaches fruition. The top priority for me is to have second edition copies of Endless Monsoon I (which we premiered and nearly sold out of at last year’s ZFH) and of course, the new Endless Monsoon II: Cry Me a River. Monsoon II ended up twice as long as the first installment so we plan to release it as two books. We should have some new little riso printssome gator printsin my fantasies I’m also making a set of Halloween themed cards. I like Halloween.

ZFH: What is something that you’re looking forward to about the 2014 Zine Fest Houston?

SW: ZFH after party prom. I hope they play lots of Mariah Carey. I’m ready for my prom slow dance to some chopped and screwed Mariah please. Is there a request list?
EM_CMAR_preview2
ZFH: There is now! Next question: What do you think the zine/self publishing scene in Houston will be like in 20 years?

SW: I don’t know about 20 years, I think I’m only willing to forecast 5-10 years into the future. Like all things in Houston, I see growth. I think we could be a good hub for the south and southwest zinester, self-publishing crowd. I like the idea of ZFH becoming an event that is attended by folks all over the country like SPX. There’s a lot of comic, zine, DIY talent in Texas, and there’s no reason ZFH doesn’t draw more attention in the future.

ZFH: What is/are your favorite place(s) in Houston?

SW: I don’t leave my duplex often, but when I do, I like to go to the Dan Flavin grocery store building on Richmond. I’m also in a serious relationship with Hot Bagel right now. I get the toasted garlic bagel with lox cream cheese. James likes the bagel kolaches.

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Thanks Sarah! Can’t wait to see what happens next in EM.

ZFH Interviews #4: Sugar and Rice Magazine

7 Sep

To whet your appetite on a gloomy Sunday afternoon, we bring you our fourth interview! Sugar and Rice, “the Gulf Coast’s Food and Culture Magazine”. David Leftwich shares more below. 

sr_blackZFH: Why do you create zines?

DL: Because you can take a “what-the-fuck” attitude and create something that you think is cool and important.

ZFH: Why do you like zines?

DL: I like zines because they expose you to so many different voices and perspectives. They’re a great way for people to bring writing, artwork, and photography into the world and do it in print. Also, with the rise of online everything, I think their underground attitude is important for keeping print alive.

ZFH: How did you become interested in zines?

DL: My first exposure to zines was 20+ years ago when I managed the magazine section of an independent bookstore in Washington, DC. We had a nice selection of zines that covered everything from music to poetry to politics. I thought they were a great way to learn about stuff—new music, new poets, etc.—that you weren’t finding in the mainstream media.

ZFH: What is your favorite part of zine fest?

DL: I have to admit this will be my first time attending, but I’m really excited to see all the different zines and hopefully add some to my collection.

ZFH: What is something that you’re looking forward to about the 2014 ZineFest Houston?

morning-call-postcard-576x372

From “Creole Coffee,” by David Leftwich. July 31, 2014.

DL: Ha. See #4. The zines!

ZFH: What are your favorite zines/mini-comics etc.?

DL: I may have a broad definition of zines, because I include a lot of small, independent literary journals. I just discovered a new one called Agriculture Reader, which I really like. They are publishing a lot of great writing, poetry, and art. Another one I really like is The Hat. They went on a hiatus for a couple of years but just published a new issue, #8, and are currently working on #9. I’m excited to have them back in the game. I’m also a big fan of Saucy Magazine, which explores the interactions between food and art. Each issue explores a different them using a different format and trim size, and feature some great photography and writing.

ZFH: What made you decide to participate in the 2014 Zine FestHouston?

DL: The opportunity to see other people’s works, to meet other people trying to keep alternative print alive, to share our work with others, and to support an important community in Houston.

ZFH: What new projects are you working on this year?

DL: Issues 3 & 4 of Sugar & Rice. I’m really excited about the graphic novella/essay I’m working on with artist Sara Hinkle for issue 3. She’s a kick-ass artist. And she is doing some amazing illustrations for a graphic recreation of the infamous opening night of Houston’s once iconic Shamrock hotel.

ZFH: What is something you think people should know about DIY in Houston?

DL: That you can do it here. Houston is wide open. It has a pretty amazing DIY/entrepreneurial spirit that people support. I’m constantly meeting people here who have an idea and then successfully pursue it—whether that’s starting a successful bar on some maxed-out credit cards, launching a worm-composting business, starting an urban farm, opening an art gallery, or launching a food zine. Just go for it.

ZFH: What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest?

DL: Issues 2 and 3 of Sugar & Rice.

ZFH: What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines?

DL: Cooking and writing poetry.

ZFH: Why does self-publishing appeal to you?

DL: You can do what you want. You can pursue and tell the untold stories—the stores that the mainstream media ignores.

ZFH: What is the concept behind your zine/zines

DL: Sugar & Rice is an independent publication that is telling the stories of Texas and the Gulf Coast through the lens of food. We believe that Texas and the Gulf have vibrant cultures whose stories often go untold—stories we are dedicated to telling well.

ZFH: How long have you been creating zines?

DL: We’ve been working on this venture for about a year and half.

ZFH: What is/are your favorite place(s) in Houston?

DL: There are so many. Here’s a random, but not all-inclusive list, of favorites:

The neighborhoods and buildings around the Houston Ship Channel where it is inside the Loop
Urban Harvest East Side Farmers market
Pollos Asados La Sillas food truck (really a bright yellow school bus) at 1416 Broadway
Little India (the area around the intersection of Hillcroft and Harwin)
Brazos Book Store
The Art Car Museum
The Station Museum of Contemporary Art
Long Point Road from Gessner to Hempstead
Hong Kong Market on Bellaire Ave.
The trails at the Houston Arboretum
Antidote, Blacksmith, and Catalina
Alice’s Tall Texan, Bad News Bar, Poison Girl, D&T Drive-Inn
The now closed Blancos
Buffalo Bayou
Hello-Lucky
Arne’s
Alabama Community Garden
Revival Market
Kaboom Books
Airline Drive from Cavalcade to 610

And that’s just a start.

ZFH: FInally, what do you think the zine/self publishing scene in Houston will be like in 20 years?

DL: Magazines printed on paper collectively made from recycled cardboard sold at noodle stands lining Bellaire Avenue.

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A beautiful vision indeed! Thanks David! We look forward to seeing your stuff at fest this year. 

ZFH Interviews #3: Alex Gleason

6 Sep alex-gleason-sombrero

For your Friday evening enjoyment, an interview with Alex Gleason, author of “Toddler Timothy’s Delicious Candy Apples,” a deceptively sweet title.

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ZFH: What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest?
AG: Toddler Timothy’s Delicious Candy Apples: a Halloween storybook about a trick-or-treater who meets a terrible fate.

ZFH: Why did you create Toddler Timothy’s Delicious Candy Apples?

AG: To instill fear in the hearts and minds of children.
2 - Photo of Book

ZFH: What is the concept behind Toddler Timothy’s Delicious Candy Apples?

AG: It’s about tainted Halloween candy. After some research, I learned that no kid has ever gotten poisoned candy from a stranger’s house on Halloween. Yet, my mother used to inspect every piece of candy in my basket before letting me eat it. I’m poking fun at people’s irrational fears.

ZFH: How did you become interested in zines?

AG: I wanted to make a book to pass out to trick-or-treaters. Later I was told that my creation was a “zine”, and discovered that there are other people in Houston making their own books too.

ZFH: What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines?

AG: I make websites and write code.

ZFH: What is something that you’re looking forward to about the 2014 Zine Fest Houston?

AG: Seeing some cool artwork and meeting other people who make books.

ZFH: What is something you think people should know about DIY in Houston?

AG: H-Town is one of the few places that does this. Represent.

ZFH: Why do you like zines?

AG: They’re pure expression–no profit. Zines make the world a better place.

ZFH: Do you find an intersection between your coding work and your illustration work in terms of content or aesthetic layout? If so, what?

AG: Writing a program is kind of like building a machine, and it can break like one. If you’re smart, you’ll make it out of replaceable parts, so if one piece breaks you can deal with it. I’ve learned to write programs this way.

Adapting this to my digital illustrations gives me a lot of control. I separate my drawings into components, which can be moved, resized, and rotated freely without messing up anything behind them. For example, I’ll draw an entire backdrop, even the parts I know will be covered, so I can freely move my subjects over them. I’ll draw a detailed bald head before layering the hair on. But that’s just the start; I take it to the extreme, down to finger nails sometimes. It really helps to fine tune everything, make changes in the future, and allows me to re-use pieces of my drawings in other drawings.

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So! Look forward to a disturbing cautionary tale sure to scar your children! In the best way possible. Yay! Till next time!

ZFH 2014 INTERVIEWS #1: Austin Bedell

2 Sep turducken_party
As we hurtle inexorably toward Zine Fest Houston 2014, we are happy to again present our annual *~TABLER INTERVIEWS~* 
 
Here to start us off: Austin Bedell, illustrator and author of ongoing comic Skweegie Island!
 
turducken_party
 
ZFH: How did you become interested in zines?
 
AB: There was this long period in which I made nothing, simply because I had no idea who might possibly publish my work. Like, why write or draw a comic book if no one’s going to print it?
 
Boom. Do it myself. Simple.
 
Now the big question is, why print a bunch of comic books that no one is going to read? Maybe I’ll bullshit an answer to that one someday…
 
ZFH: What made you decide to participate in the 2014 Zine Fest Houston?
 
AB: That printing museum is oh, so nice and air-conditioned! And all the folks are so getalongable.
 
ZFH: What new projects are you working on this year?
 
AB: Last year I mentioned some nonsense about a comic book I was sort of working on, though not 100% invested in, but I TOTALLY FINISHED IT AND IT WILL BE HERE THIS YEAR AND IT IS GREAT, so…
 
I have no shame in telling you that I’m working on something else now!
 
ZFH: What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest?
 
AB: That one thing I just mentioned. And older things. And maybe something I tape together between now and the Fest.
 
ZFH: How long have you been creating zines?
 
AB: Since 2009. So what’s that, like, 15 years or something?
 
ZFH: What do you think the zine/self publishing scene in Houston will be like in 20 years?
 
AB: 1000x more naked, but also with guns.
 
ZFH: Your drawings and comics of video games, Garfield, and other bastions of popular culture have a decidedly surreal slant to them. What would you say has informed that vision?
 
AB: Drugs! Drugs! Oh, a million times drugs!
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And that’s the word from Skweegie Island. Be sure to check out Austin’s stuff at ZFH this year! We’ll be releasing our tabling map soon enough…
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