What was your first zine about and when was it made?
My first zine was pretty much an angsty rant about my peers & trying to be a teenage feminist in the South Bay. It was made my Sophomore year of High School after a zine club I founded failed to make entries for a collab (early lessons learned? haha). I was early into my “D.I.Y. activist career” and reading a lot about the history of U.S. occupation, racism, & class war. Understandably I was pisssed. The fact that I was the only noticeable loud mouthed punk chick at my High School also didn’t help. Luckily I was privileged enough to have internet access at the time, and as a result was part of a few riot grrrl & zine communities on livejournal. Eventually the zine I made (Germfree Adolescents) was featured in a distro & sent out to people all over the world. Some of these people I became pen pals with and still know to this day (some of you are at the fest!). It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, but eventually college activism and collabs became “my thing.” Now that I am focusing more on my art I have decided to make more issues of my little bb.
Describe your most recent zine.
I’m trying to pull a couple more outta my butt before the fest, but the most recent completed zine will be a recap of some pieces since I was 16 into early college. I talk about dealing with chronic pain as a young person, loss and mourning of a loved one, some silly lyrics from when I was in an all-girl punk band, and some other things you’ll have to buy/trade to read!
My zines are “traditional” style aka B&W copy/paste with found images & my own writing. I try to make them reminiscent of “real” magazines with “articles” & my own “ads” in between. Recently I’ve been doing more work in Illustrator & Photoshop so I replicate the same look digitally using scans to save time.
Of all the things you’ve ever made, zine-related or otherwise, what’s your one favorite?
I made this booklet for my Abuelita’s 80th Birthday party that was basically a biographical zine. Looking back I would change a lot of things & wouldn’t necessarily boast it as my work, but it was really important to me and made other people feel good. And I think those are two things that draw me to ANYTHING I do. The process of making the booklet also taught me a lot about editing programs as well as my own family history as a 3rd generation Chican@.
Name three of your influences and how they affected your work.
Undoubtedly Barbara Kruger. If you haven’t heard about her letter recently to Supreme you should really Google it. She’s just such a bad ass & her pieces are so simple yet powerful. I’m a total hoarder of old comics/magazines but I try to be productive with them, so I feel like a lot of my zine stuff is really similar to her style.
Second is Alex Wrekk, who was and is a huge influence to me even before I knew her actual name/connection to the work she does. Stolen Sharpie Revolution and her whole approach to the zine community and sharing resources is right up my alley/something I strive to do as well. I also happened to read a couple of her zines during a time I was going thru a similar experience & they were extremely validating to me.
And last, but not least, is the POC Zine Project. Even before the actual project was founded there are several folx who make up the team whose zines were my STOCK as a youngster & drastically shaped how I look at and live in the world today. I was a suuuuper awkward fan girl @ their table last year as a result so hai. As someone with privilege who makes perzines, I love how much they challenge/educate/give a platform for people who need & deserve that space. Everyone needs to check them out and give them their support!
What do you do when you’re not creating and how does it help or harm what you do artistically?
I play a lot of computer games, watch anime/shows, read comics, go on hikes, mess around in my garden, & try new/different foods locally. I’ve been playing video games since I was 6, so I highly doubt that habit will ever die off, but it definitely can be a double-edged sword. On one end there are endless amounts of creative influence, but on the other end I lose track of time & often forget to eat or pee.
The same could be said for anime/TV/comics, except I feel I have more restraint in those fields. Anime especially has exposed me to different kinds of stories/characters that I didn’t get as a kid with American cartoons. I tend to read Indie comics (Orc Stain, Saga) which are both inspirational for the creative feats the artist makes or the exploration of new plot lines/archetypes in the medium.
All of the other stuff is just me being a human and enjoying nature & good foods. A lot of people talk shit about the South Bay but there are some beautiful beaches, hiking spots, and delicious family owned restaurants all up the coast. Especially living in a busy city or commuting everywhere it’s super important to unwind and take a breather somewhere quiet — it makes me a happier more productive person.
For more from Nina check out at Secret Cervix.