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Interview with Caleb Fraid

4 Oct

Caleb Fraid mailed in his interview on 12 paper plates. I’ve transcribed it below, but plan to post photos of each plate at some point. ***UPDATE: View all of the plates here*** Be sure to check out his table on Saturday at Zine Fest!

What made you decide to participate in Zine Fest Houston?

I was playing a show at Super Happy Fun Land one nite + a guy suggested it to me because I draw little scribbles.

What are your favorite zines/mini comics?

Sardine Mag-o-Zine by Charlie McAlister and anything associated with Ashley Hold (

What is something you’re looking forward to about Zine Fest Houston 2012?

I’m just hoping to have a nice day with like-minded people and see what everyone else is doing. It seems fun, plus I want to expose people to my friend Phillip Lee Duncan’s artwork and poetry and music.  He passed away in January of this year. He was also the singer of my band Ribeye. I hope I can expose people to the work of Ashley Holt and Charlie McAlister too. They’re not dead yet.

Why do you create zines?

I don’t really. This will be my first proper zine…I think. Mainly, I just like writing and drawing and scribbling. I do it every day. I have to because it is the quickest and easiest and most immediately satisfying way that I can be creative. I’m always working or taking care of my pets and I don’t have enough time to do creative stuff. But I can always find five minutes to draw something and that makes me feel ok.

Why does self-publishing appeal to you?

I like the purity of it. I like the control. I like making stuff. It’s all around a perfect concept. It’s like a child’s drawing on the fridge. It’s just good, plain + simple.

What is the concept behind your zines?

I have been meaning to satisfy this itch for over twenty years now. Road + Track. Track + Field. Field + Stream (it may have come to me when I was listening to the song “Field + Stream” by my foavirte alt country band Souled American in the late ‘80s). Stream + Road (and now at long last…to bring it full circle!). I guess how I make it gel is this: it is the daily stream; it is the lifetime road. We change as we don’t.

How did you become interested in zines?

I don’t really know. When I think bac on it, the first name that pops into my brain is Kalah Allen. I’m more of a music/tapes person and I met her somehow thru a fellow hometaper named Charlie McAlister. Anyways, she invited me up to Kansas City for another ZInefest called MUMS??? This was back in the mid to late 90’s. Actually, I just looked it up: Midwest Underground Media Symposium, 1996. It had some big stars at it kinda. The singer of Fugazi and the guy that did those Re\search books I vaguely had looked at in the 90’s so me and my band at the time, Ribeye, put some tapes together in a suitcase and drove all night—Houston to Austin, Austin to KC. We arrived the day of the event, called and woke up Kalah, and didn’t sleep. We hung out all day at diners, parks, the MUMS itself. I remember some kids grilling Ian MacKaye about how sleep is a waste of time and people need to do away with it, the kind of stuff “radical” college kids come up with, and he basically said something along the lines of sleep being necessary like when a library closed for the day to reshelve all the books. It was a fun day capped off with a 24 hour comic event at Kalah’s place. I slept through this entire event ust to prove those radical kids right. I missed all the fun. Anyway, Kalah did some great stuff and probably still does. I’ve lost touch with her. There was also a guy named Kissyface there???

What other ventures do you have besides making zines?

I have been running a record/tape/cd-r label since 1995 called Doormat, Tx. Music is my main deal. Also, I’m planning on a NAPKINFEST at some point (maybe 2015) because I draw on napkins a lot. I hope to have 10,000 napkins.


Check out our new poster design by Gabriel Dieter!

27 Sep

Interview with Brendan Kiefer

21 Sep


Check out Brendan Kiefer’s website here and be sure to stop by his table to pick up Pissy Pants #1 & #2!


How did you become interested in zines?
My interest in zines stems from my interest in comics. I appreciate the notion that art shouldn’t be something only the wealthy can afford but should be something that you can hold in your hand and have an intimate experience with.


Why do you like zines?
Zines are full of endless possibility. They can tell stories, they can tell jokes, they can say nothing at all. I find the intersection between ideas and physical reality to be a disconcerting and ellating place.


Why do you create zines?

I’d like to think it has to do with decluttering the information and biases floating around in my brain. Plus, having control over something — no matter how small brings satisfaction.


What is the concept behind your zine/zines? The world is a crazy place. I want to make a tiny little pond to reflect in.


What new projects are you working on this year? Pissy Pants #2, a collection of horrible cat comics, and some collaborations with friends under the moniker “Hats & Belts.”


What made you decide to participate in 2012 Zine Fest Houston?
Stubbornness. How could I let something like that go on without me?


What are your favorite zines/minicomics/etc?
I thought that “Incinerator” by Michael Deforge was a pretty good testament to justifying his recent popularity — though I guess it might be a stretch to call it a minicomic since it’s not self-published. I also thought Stiff Whiff / Tranquil Time by John Hankiewicz and Onsmith was a pretty gorgeous little book.


What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines? Since I live in Austin, I naturally play in a couple bands. I also enjoy painting when I have the time – that’s what I got a degree in.

How long have you been creating zines? I’ve been drawing all my life but have really only gotten into zine-making in the past couple years.


What is something you think people should know about DIY in Houston?
Zines are people too.

Interview with Book Artist Lee Steiner of Domestic Papers

18 Sep

What made you decide to participate in 2012 Zine Fest Houston?

I’ve visited Zine Fest Houston in previous years and this year, I’m thrilled to add my own twist to the mix.  I’m a Book Artist, meaning I’m a bookbinder, a hand papermaker, collector, teacher, designer, re-purposer, writer, and generally love anything/everything involving paper and the printed word.

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

I’m creating interactive book formats for ziners who want a prompt they can grab and run with—bound sketchbooks featuring vintage pages from 1920’s encyclopedias with panels left blank for the artist’s own creations.  Other zine book formats of mine will contain mysterious old black and white photos with space to write your own captions or a short story. I’ve also got some cool graffiti sequences I photographed in Europe that need a narrative to tell their tale.  Kind of like ‘Mad Libs’ for the madly imaginative.

I’ve combined my love of vintage ephemera, ancient bookbinding techniques, and modern non-sensibilities to create unique blank books and zines that are beautiful, touchable, and adaptable to your own creative needs.

Why does self-publishing appeal to you?

I love the idea that we can take our one-of-a-kind ideas to an Epson printer and, behold, we can multiply them for the masses!  I’ll have a few of my very limited edition books on hand, too. I love old library book discards. I get a kick out of rescuing the often lovely illustrations inside and re-interpreting them to fit my own storytelling needs.  Sometimes the book’s cover is just too good to lose so I’ll rebind it into a blank book. And sometimes the whole book inspires a whole new venture.  I’m a big believer in re-inventing oneself and that philosophy is carried out in my handmade books as well.

What is your favorite part of Zine Fests?

Being with other people who “get” what you are doing! We can skip the long explanations and get right to that collaborative spirit that inspires us to share our creations with others.

What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines?

I teach bookbinding at the Museum of Printing History, The Papershell Garden Gallery, and for special events such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Summer Camp.  I enjoy making everyday objects into books and making books into everyday objects! Check out my website to see my recent custom and “rebound” book projects, then please click on a link to visit my Domestic Papers shop with my very newest books.


FUHA Interview About Zine Fest Houston with organizer Lindsey Simard

13 Sep

Interview with Makenzie Maupin

12 Sep

Check out her table at Zine Fest Houston this year!

Why do you create zines?

I started making zines about 1 1/2 years ago as a way to keep myself from total overwhelm of a tricky mix of anxiety and boredom. Making zines makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile with my time, something I can share with other people and get a sense of personal satisfaction. Whenever I feel like I’m wasting my life or I feel listless or too anxious, I put on a tv show and start drawing and writing. It’s so exciting to finish a set of zines and give them to people.

What is the concept behind your zine/zines?

I think someone described my zines one time as dripping with self-deprecation which I sort of took as a compliment. They’re largely self-centered, indulgent, and a bit silly really, but I make them primarily for my own fulfillment not for an audience. A lot of people seem to make super cool amazing zines with hip art that seem pretty marketable but my zines are just a by-product of my coping method. My art focused zines revolve around a certain topic (for instance: the idea of being “dateable”). Only recently have I started making more writing based zines, which center around the four seasons. I try to pick a few themes in my life during the said season and reflect on the events.

What new projects are you working on this year?

I really want to make a zine called “I Hope You Die in A Fire And Other Love Stories” about the people I’ve dated etc. But I would never want it to fall into the wrong hands so I guess I will just make it for myself.

What will be on your table at this year’s zine fest?

The zine I’ve recently made that I’m most excited about is a zine about my trip to London. I spent a lot of time working on it and it has really good stories about my time in the UK with my family who just moved there. I also have a guide to cheap eats in Houston that I put a lot of love in to, mostly just because I love to go out to eat. You can have a good meal for under $10 at every restaurant I listed. I also have the first 3 installments of my quarterly zine, Girl Afraid, which is hugely self-absorbed and a little embarrassing but I tell a lot of personal stories.

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

Wise advice about DIY culture from a naive 22 year old: First, if you think there’s nothing cool about Houston, you’re just not looking in the right places. Second, the more you put in to your community the more you get back. For instance, I used to think there were not many political people in Houston, but as I put more personally into local politics, the more I got out of it. Same with art, spirituality, music etc. If you are dissatisfied with your community, maybe you need to start changing your behavior first.

Why does self-publishing appeal to you?

I like self-publishing because it is the anti-thesis of everything I learned in business school. I never think about profit when I make zines. I do think about the cool zines I will get to trade and how inspired I will be by other people’s works. I like bartering and I like making something expecting nothing in return. It’s the opposite of a market system. It’s nice not to worry about maximizing profits, or increasing efficiency in production, or marketing a product (can you tell I take a lot of business classes?).  Bet you wouldn’t guess from all this talk that I’m actually pretty conservative…!


Interview with Richard Alexander of Richy Vegas

5 Sep
Check out our interview with Ricky Vegas Comics!
What is the concept behind your zine/zines?
 Richy Vegas Comics are an autobiographical series that explore my experiences with mental illness.
 Why do you create zines? 
I am not able to interest a publisher in my work.  In 1998 I sent an unfinished project to Harvey Pekar to look at.  He advised me that self-publishing might be the way to go.  So far, his advice has proven to be true.
What is your favorite part of zine fests?
I definitely enjoy meeting the people who stop at my table.  A lot of them really seem interested in what I’m doing.  For years my books just languished in the closet, and it’s only been the last couple of years that I’ve been renting tables at cons and fests.  I also like meeting other people doing zines and comics.
What will be on your table at this year’s zine fest? 
Everything that I’ve self-published since 1999.  Including the latest issue of Richy Vegas Comics, “A Tribute to Don Rickles/ Witch Hunt!”
What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines?
My band, Insect Sex Act, will release a CD before too long.  I also write and perform my own songs as, “The World’s Least Important Singer/Songwriter.”


28 Aug
hey zinesters!
time to sharpen your pencils, dampen your quills, and call your old buddy who has the in on a fool-proof kinkos scam; zine fest houston is going down in just over a month!
most importantly though, you need to go ahead and register for a table so you can distribute your witty, sardonic, vulgar, politically-charged, enigmatic, or just plain silly little (or big) booklet of words and/or images.
read ya later,

Zine Fest Houston

Interview with Jess from Unsellable Grrrl Zine

24 Aug
“I am writing from the stand point that we are not being sold on this cookie cutter idea of how we are supposed to look, act, dress, and be.”
Jess from Unsellable Grrrl Zine is our next featured Zine Fest Houston participant. Check out the interview below & be sure to check out the Unsellable Grrl Zine table at Zine Fest.


Why do you like zines? 

I like zines because the give creativity and voice back into the creator’s hands.  I think a lot of people feel that unless they get published by a traditional publisher, that there is no point in them every creating something like a zine. I think zines show that people can take their own creations back into their own hands, and have it come from their voice-and not what a publisher thinks should be said based on sales quotas.

What is the concept behind your zine/zines? 

My zines touch on feminist issues that are relevant to women today. I chose the title “Unsellable” because I think a lot of women don’t agree with how society and the media views us. I am writing from the stand point that we are not being sold on this cookie cutter idea of how we are supposed to look, act, dress, and be.

What is something you’re looking forward to about the 2012 Zine Fest Houston?

I just moved to Texas and am really looking forward to meeting others in the Texas zine community.

What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines? 

Currently I am working on a book of poetry. I also paint, draw, and am getting into lomography and sculpting.

What new projects are you working on this year?

I am in the planning stage of starting my own distro.

Interview With Noel Kalmus

16 Aug

Noel will be one of our tablers this year. Check out her flickr page here for samples of her work. Image

Why do you create zines?

In kindergarten my teacher stapled together little blank books with construction paper covers. Whenever we had free time I would take a book from the box and fill it with stories and drawings. Any type of book has always made the most sense to me as a space for my work. Sketchbooks are of course essential, but when the book is reproducible and shareable, that’s when it becomes really fun.

Why do you like love zines? I love books, I love small things, I love looking at other peoples’ drawings, I love collecting things, I love hand-made things, I love making things, I love the community/collaborating, I love how innovative you can be when it comes to content, materials used, binding, etc. 

What is something you’re looking forward to about the 2012 zine fest Houston?

I’ve only tabled at Staple! in Austin so far, so I’m excited to meet different people and see a bunch of new work and experience the culture of a different zine fest. Also hopefully visiting Houston’s Domy for the first time, and seeing one of my favorite friends.

What are your favorite zines/minicomics/etc?

I am drawn to experimental art/drawing that takes risks and is innovative as well as graphite drawings and printmaking processes. Unfortunately my book collection is temporarily packed away so I will inevitably forget something, but the ones that come to mind are Christina and Charles by Austin English, Goodness by Mel Stringer, Boys Club by Matt Furie, Jin & Jam by Hellen Jo. And I’m going to stop there because I could just go on forever…man I am not looking forward to suddenly remembering all the amazing books I forgot here.

What new projects are you working on this year?

I graduate from Southwestern University with an art degree in December, so I am taking advantage of access to the printshop and making intaglio, relief and litho prints, and drinking lots of coffee to be able to fit comic making in with that. I’m constantly drawing in my sketchbook so those drawings will be included in future zines. I have a story/drawings for my next comic in an embryonic state.

What is the concept behind your zine/zines?

I have many long hours of drawing and writing ahead of me to discover that. Honestly I struggle with disciplining myself and my work ethic but I do know that I was born with a passionate desire to put my drawings in little books, and that zine and comic making is not an endeavor that can be accomplished with intermittent bouts of work. So I guess right now my zines deal with the themes of anxiety, low brow humor, and more anxiety.


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