Getting To Know Your Local Zinester: Emily Alden Foster

Emily Alden Foster

Describe your most recent zine. 

My most recent zine is The Mongoosnuffle Song and Dance Book. I made up a kitten and a song about a kitten named Mr. Mongoosnuffles. The zine has the lyrics illustrated in children’s book style as well as sheet music so you can sing along. It’s going to have an accompanying music video, but it’s not quite finished yet. I’m hoping to have the third issue of my crossword puzzle/mad lib/literary zine Cross My Words and Hope to ____(VERB) ready in time for LA Zinefest, but that involves me making a lot of crossword puzzles so it might be a bit of a time crunch.

Of all the things you’ve ever made, zine-related or otherwise, what’s your one favorite? 
This is a really hard question, but I have a soft spot for a short stop-motion movie I made called Snowfakes. It’s essentially a collection of images of things that make me happy, so I can’t watch it without putting myself in a good mood. It was also one of the first projects I did that got me any sort of outside validation for my work, which means it was one of the first things I did that made me feel like a “real” artist, however silly such a concept may be.

Name three of your influences and how they affected your work. 
1. Olde tyme movies – I consider myself primarily a filmmaker, although it’s something I’m totally untrained in. I really like the aesthetics of a lot of silent and early sound movies, and I am inspired by the amount of innovation that went into them – from building sets out of cheap materials to inventing new kinds of cameras. The process of figuring out how to make a movie with limited resources is one I relate to a lot, and the idea that people invented things like “animation” make it seem a lot easier to teach myself editing or puppetry or whatever I’m trying to do. I’m also thoroughly convinced that I don’t need most of the fancy technology that’s available to make something that’s good.
2. Yoko Ono – I love that her artwork is so focused on positivity without being schmaltzy. I think any kind of artist has a lot of power in that their work is going to cause another person to feel something. In my work I always try to make things that will make people feel good, because I think it’s usually so much easier for people to feel bad or scared or cynical. Anyway, I don’t know if I totally achieve that, and it’s not a goal that I got from Yoko Ono, but her work is a good reminder of what I’m trying to do with my work in general.
3. Jim Henson – I think I’m obligated to put Jim Henson because I just made a movie starring a bunch of puppets making horrible puns. And I love him, for the same reasons that I love Yoko Ono + wackiness.

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