Interview with Eyeball Burp!

The whole point of a zine fest is to meet other zinesters, but in this day and age, we’ve become accustomed to having our information NOW.  We at the L.A. Zine Fest have decided to humor that demand by bringing you an interview series with L.A-area zinesters. You’re welcome!

To kick off our zinemaker interview series with a bbBANG! we called on our friends Alex and A’Misa Chiu at Eyeball Burp, a South-Bay zine with an art focus.  Read on to find out what zines they’re reading now, where to lurk to meet other zinesters, and what projects they got going on the side!

For those who aren’t familiar, please do your best to describe Eyeball Burp.

ALEX: A’misa and I started Eyeball Burp about 3 years ago.   It was originally intended to be an Asian American arts and culture publication similar to Giant Robot.As time went on, it took on a different format and became more of an art-zine, showcasing the work of our friends and people we admire.The main goal of Eyeball Burp is to create a creative platform for the community. In addition to the publication, Eyeball Burp also organizes events, art shows, and workshops.  Eyeball Burp[‘s]…content changes as the two of us change.  For now, Eyeball Burp is curated art-zine. Our first five issues were in black and white, with the exception of a few colored centerfolds here and there. Issue 6 with be in full color and hopefully remain so as we continue on.

A’MISA: Basically we just want to be amongst those who are encouraging artists and writers and intellectuals and zinesters and filmmakers and designers to keep doing what they are doing.  Its so easy to give up on art these days.  Mainly because its a vicious and cut-throat world out there.  But if your drive and desire is to simply keep on creating, then Eyeball Burp wants to support and walk alongside you in solidarity.

How much time does it take to get an issue of Eyeball Burp done?

ALEX: Eyeball Burp comes out every six months. The amount of work has fluctuated. On average, the production takes about a month.

A’MISA; It usually takes me forever to get anything done, so the first issues were a year each, but we’ve been getting quicker as the momentum picks up.  It really depends on who and what we decide to feature.  For one article, I went on a quest to find the best ‘drag queen’ flick made.  Needless to say that there were so many awesome ones.  My favorite being Taiyo Matsumoto’s 1968 pinkie Japanese film called ‘Funeral Parade of Roses’.

Before making E.B.B., what had been your interactions with zines?

ALEX: My first exposure to zines started in high school/college at Tower Records. I was into graffiti zines and artist zines at the time.Some of the first zines I picked up were by Alex Pardee and a comic zine called Poot or something like that. I was exposed to a large zine culture when I went to Comic Con for the first time in 2004. I realized that zines were a great way to share artwork and stories. I made my first zine a year later from my inkjet printer.

A’MISA: I didn’t catch onto zines until a couple of years ago.  A friend gave me a vintage copy of Giant Robot, issue 1. It was stapled, b/w, about 100 pages with articles about raw meat and the Hustler magazine.  I read it cover to cover and was bitten hard by the zine bug.  I wish I knew about zines in high school–it would have allowed me to translate my drawings and poetry into something I could hand out to my peers.  I think zines are perfect tool for expression and formulating community around interests and the arts.  My first zine I made was Eyeball Burp, Issue 1.  Can you believe that I layed out the entire issue in Microsoft Word! How horrid!

What are some zines that inspire you now?

ALEX: I’m a big fan of Whore Eyes, published by Drippy Bone Books. I also love zines published by Islands Fold.

A’MISA: I love Ego, drawn by psychedelic comix goddess Dunja Jankovic. My gal Disco Deirdree who creates Gag Me With A…, a mini-zine with great flash fiction and a cut-and-paste style, rocks!  Recently I picked up a zine from Nieves Books by Dennis Tyfus, whose drawings are so gritty and raw.  But one of my favorite zines of all times is by collage artist Kristy Foom from Amsterdam.  It weaved in and out of my consciousness for days.

You’re pretty active in the zine community in California. Where are your favorite places to get together with other artists and zinesters? How would you rate the community in Southern California?

ALEX: Portland is the most zine savvy cities I’ve been in. However, I have to say that the zine community lives online. I find most of my zinester friends through Flickr and Facebook. Southern California has a fairly large zine community. I know of a good number of comic shops, art boutiques, and bookstores that stock zines. If you want to find zines in SoCal check out places like Family, Ooga Booga, Meltdown Comics, Giant Robot, Secret Headquarters and Book Machine.

A’MISA: wemakezines.ning.com is a great place to meet other zinesters. I’ve submitted to a handful of zines, as well as made trades through this site. I really appreciate all those who have dedicated their time and resources to making zines available.  In terms of meeting up with artists, we generally find ourselves at cafes and divey bars.

Do you have any side projects you work on? 

ALEX: I’m a full time artist at the moment. I am primarily a painter, but I want to get more invested in screen printing, carpentry, and sewing. Check out my events and projects at http://alexdoodles.com.  Yay!

A’MISA: By day, I’m a budding special collection archivist and researcher at a local library, and by night, I write, collage and create esoteric and strange installations.  There is always something that I’m dipping my feet into, check it out at http://www.colorishdreams.com.  I also write with a local writing workshop called The Undeniables–they are awesome (http://www.theundeniables.org) and really into publishing the works of new and upcoming writers.

What is your favorite part of being a zine maker?

ALEX: I believe that zine publishers represent the raw and gritty in the art world. This tends to be the stuff that excites me.

A’MISA: The ideas! So many zines sprout from really unique thoughts.  I love that most zinesters are D.I.Y. in nature and generally badass.  I love the fact most zinesters take the intuitive to create books chockful of their experiences, art, comix, etc.  I mean, if they didn’t do it, then who?!

Truer words have never been spoken.  Zinesters are the real heroes.

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