Mystic Multiples, a full service letterpress and risography publishing service located in Houston, TX, consists of Sarah Welch and James Beard. Begun in 2008, Mystic Multiples exists to produce challenging, new work in print for designers and artists. Sarah Welch is also this year’s featured artist!
ZFH: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’ll be showing at ZFH 2015!
SW: Mystic Multiples is a local letterpress and risography print shop. We do commercial jobs and quite a lot of art prints, comix, and zine publishing. James Beard is the fearless founder / master printer and Sarah Welch is the artist / printshop lackey.
The hot new newness for this year is the third installment of the Endless Monsoon series, Only Humid. I just opened a show under that same title at Box13 Artspace, the premise of the show was to do a book release that was also an art exhibition of objects/ props/ artifacts lifted from the pages of the comix. It was weird and fun and you can see it through November 7th.
Our other new, very exciting thing is the Brackish zine and Brackish Box Sets. We finished these mid-Summer but our release party was flooded out, so now is your chance to finally, finally pick one up. This project was a collaborative effort between myself and Houston artist, Katie Mulholland. Brackish images the past, present, and invented future of the Houston landscape. The book features local and invasive flora & fauna, architecture, interior spaces, city infrastructure, industry, and residential vignettes. Special attention is lavishes on locations with ancient, sometimes futuristic presence. Think 2001: A Space Odyssey meets Jurassic Park. The zine is great, the box set is even greater and comes with three risographed prints and one amazing letterpress Mossman print by Katie Mulholland.
As always we’re gonna have lots of fun riso art prints and hopefully, time permitting a special Halloweenie themed print I am currently working on. All sorts.
ZFH: What is the future of zines in this new and rapidly digitizing world?
JB: Digital just meshes well for some people’s style. If you want to get it out there on a tiny budget, it’s hard to beat the internet. But, a lot of our work focuses on creating a means to support continued zine making via creating a tangible object that’s different from the other stuff out there. There are still a lot of unexplored areas, and industrialization with has made it easier than ever to get your hands on the tools of the trade (check craigslist!) to print your own. So, I think we’ll continue to see more web work, which is great, and I think we’ll continue to see more people getting DIY in a sense that blurs the line between home production and professional production, which is also great!
ZFH: Were you an analog to digital transition or were you a BB born in the tech age?
SW: This is soon to be the question that will define if you are an old fogey or not.
I’m just gonna out myself now as an old fogey by saying: I typed my first book reports on an electric typewriter. That said, my folks were somewhat early adopters–I think?–to home computers and AOL free trials. I remember having home dial-up access by the fifth or sixth grade.
JB: I see the distinction as not being too different. The thing I always worry about is that technology is making it easier to use a machine without understanding how it works. This isn’t to say that you need to understand the catalytic converter on your car, but you probably understand that the gas ignites and pushes a piston to power your wheels. Digital technology is a little more obscured, and we could end up with a lot of machines that work by button and contain ‘no user serviceable parts’, which is really a threat to DIY in general. I like the older technology because it’s a little more human in that sense. But I could have never gotten into it without the Internet, so that knowledge factor is definitely part of my life.
ZFH: How does technology and recent technological developments affect your zine-making practice?
SW: Like everyone else, technology is a crucial but mostly invisible part of so much I do. I use the Internet for research, Adobe for coloring and formatting my comix, and social media to share whatever I’m currently working on. I know James has sourced 100% of the print equipment we have through the Internet. Ironically, we’ve even found old service manuals for our out-moded machines-both the letterpress and the riso!–online. So it’s just this constant back-and-forth between old and new and digital and physical. I don’t see zine making as this misty-eyed, nostalgic practice removed from current technology at all. Zine making has been impacted just as much as any other media by technological development.
ZFH: What in your opinion is the best invention of the last 30 years?
SW: Wow. If this was “best invention of the last 50 years” I would have said widespread availability of the pill, but, the obvious answer for the last 30 years is the Internet. Common, household use of the Internet. At first those two things seem very different, but I think to be a great invention, something must have ability to empower large swaths of humanity.
JB: The Internet. How can you beat KNOWLEDGEEEEEEEEE. It’s like that episode of Star Trek: TNG where Lt. Barclay had his brain wired into the enterprise after encountering the alien probe that expanded his intelligence. The probe is the Internet.
ZFH: What in your opinion is the worst invention of the last 30 years?
SW: So many to choose from… Unmanned Combat Drones? New Fracking Technology?
JB: Cell phones? It’s a love / hate sort of thing. Being available 24/7 is just about the least zen thing ever, which is sad.
ZFH: How will you best honor our cyber overlords?
SW: Planning to replace half my brain with a computer😉 Maybe some robotic eyeballs.
JB: 3-in-1 oil lubrication fountain, marine grade protective wax, sacrificial finger in the press?
SW: Hahaha, yes oil lubrication fountains everywhere.
Awesome, thanks Sarah and James! We❤ everything you do!!!