Getting To Know Your Local Zinester: Thi Bui

Thi Bui

The Best We Could Do

What was your first zine about and when was it made?

I printed the first installment or chapter of THE BEST WE COULD DO in April 2011 and took it to Stumptown. Since then I’ve printed the second chapter as well as some collaborations.  THE BEST WE COULD DO is a 15-chapter graphic novel-in-progress with a rather epic scope, about my parents’ experiences in Vietnam and immigration to the U.S. Time-wise it spans World War II to the present.

Describe your most recent zine.

The newest installment is chapter three of the book. It’s called TERROR. It takes place in a San Diego circa 1980 that you have probably not seen before.

Of all the things you’ve ever made, zine-related or otherwise, what’s your one favorite? 

Collaborations are a lot of fun. I did a sketchbook journal with a group of artists from the 2010 graphic novel residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Craig Thompson was sort of our mentor and comics sensei. He drew the intro and we all contributed pages that captured the adventures and misadventures of those three weeks. It takes me back every time I look at it.

What do you do when you’re not creating and how does it help or harm what you do artistically?

I teach art and English at an alternative public high school for English Language Learners in Oakland. I’m also a mom. They’re both tough jobs that take up a lot of time, energy and brain space! But they’ve also given me experiences and perspectives that feed my artwork. I also get to share with my son and my students things that I’m excited about. We draw, write and make books together. It’s exhausting but fun.

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