Get to Know Your Zinester: On Flora

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

On Flora is my first zine. I’d been helping out with The Runcible Spoon (another LA Zine Fest tabler, founded by dear friends of mine) for a while—and had been a zine admirer for years and years—but this was really my first. It was published in October 2013.

Describe your most recent zine.

On Flora #1 is my first and most recent zine. It’s 32 pages of what I’m going to call “original flora art,” comprised entirely of film photos taken by me. It’s a combination of both staged photos (featuring flowers with donuts, glitter, googly eyes, etc.) and pictures taken in the wild. The zine is meant to be both facetious and earnest—and, perhaps most of all, nice to look at (and a little funny, hopefully.) I dream of having a new issue (#2!) ready for the Fest in February—we’ll see.

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

I’ve always considered myself a creative person, but in reality the projects of my past were always a little off: half-finished wonky crochet projects or too-small knit hats (or worse, just one knit mitten.) I’d have to say that this zine is certainly my crowning achievement thus far—it’s the most professional-looking thing in my creative arsenal, and just something I’m so freaking proud to have made.

Name three of your influences and how they affected your work.

I’m never not superbly inspired after a scroll through Tumblr. I follow so many blogs that there’s something new to see whenever I check in. I think a lot of the imagery in my zine is Tumblr-esque. Flowers-wise, I’m slightly obsessed with the work of the NYC-based florists Saipua and Amy Merrick. By viewing their work (and beautiful, breathless photography) online, I’ve learned to think well outside the traditional floral-arranging/appreciating box. I also love movies! I always appreciate a very thoughtful director and films with great, inspiring imagery—naturally my personal Tumblr is full of movie stills. I noticed that the photography I like best feels like a movie still—I’m sure this preference has affected my own imagery.

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

For work, I’m a freelance writer. I think this zine is kind of an inadvertent product of my “day job.” Writing can be extremely creative, but I was craving a visual aspect—and something tangible at that. I can’t draw for shit and I’ve always loved to take photos. This is the culmination of some things I didn’t realize I was lacking in my life: a visually creative outlet, something singular to stand behind and call all mine, something to help define myself and my abilities outside of my written words. Thus, my job created the need for this zine, and together they’re working to keep me balanced.

For more from Alison Baitz, check out On Flora on tumblr.

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