Get to Know Your Zinester: Aurora Lady & Kim Burly

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

K: As a teenager I made compilations of my poetry each year called “Sparkling Zealous Paragon” that I would distribute to all of my prior English teachers and friends, but I hadn’t actually heard of zine making as a “thing” until after college. My first zine as a fully sentient zine maker was My Drunk Year, written two years ago when I was working my way out of a toxic relationship with an alcoholic.

A: Oh lord. This has been following me around since my friend Jane told me about the Human Centipede. I made my first zine during my freshman year of high school and it was called “FUR”. My current self can’t make sense of that. I interviewed musicians. It was awful. I’m not being charmingly humble. It mean, it was really, REALLY bad. I don’t even have a copy of it anymore.

Describe your most recent zine.

K: I live within an 25 minute bike ride from Kearney Park in Fresno. I started researching M. Theo Kearney because I figured I should know a little bit about the history of my neighborhood and became enamored with him. So callous, cold and selfish! I like to think that had I been around in the late 1800’s maybe he would have softened up a bit thanks to my good lovin’. So basically, my zine M. Theo Kearney, Raisin Prince of my Heart is a long, foolish, Tiger Beat style love letter to a man who revolutionized agriculture in Fresno and has been dead since the early 1900’s.

A: My most recent zine is called “The _____est Girl in the World”. It is a full color zine in which I interviewed my female friends and role models, and then coupled the interview with a hand drawn portrait. Tons of work, way too expensive, but ultimately a zine that I adored making and am proud to distribute.

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

K: As a mom I probably should say, enthusiastically, “My children!!!!!!!!”, however, I had a comedy team with my friend Greg for a little while, and creating our content was the best process I I’ve ever been part of. The brainstorming, laughing over cheap beer on cold nights while writing lyrics about veganism, scriptwriting and finally producing the piece was really rewarding. It was a great 6-8 months of pushing my comfort zone, stretching the old creativity, learning to collaborate more effectively and testing my limits as a writer and comedian. Total game changer.

A: I am going to cheat and say my “Fang Gang” series of portraits. I love that they are about individuality within a unified, cohesive idea. I love that they led to photoshoots, a makeup style, buttons, and a zine that will be ready for zine fest in February.

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

K: My dad is this big dude who looks like Santa Claus if Santa rode a motorcycle and was a welder. He works in an industrial manufacturing environment, but he also takes time to nurture his creative and artistic side. He has a knack for seeing a park bench in a discarded metal bed frame or a lamp in a radiator and an air filter. Learning to see trash as the foundation for a piece taught me to pull inspiration from everywhere around me and bend the rules a little. You may assume that a gas tank from an old Suzuki motorcycle is just a bike part, but I know it doubles as a hibachi style barbecue.

My mom is SUCH a libra, let me tell you. Logic, order and efficiency with a great sense of justice and fairness are what my mom is all about at work and at home. She creates as well, but in a way so different from my dad. She follows a sewing pattern to the letter and turns out beautiful, professional looking garments. She’s the reminder that’s always in the back of my head telling me to take my time and do all of the steps, even when they take FOR-ev-ERRR. Let that coat of mod-podge dry before starting the next layer.

As a high school senior I became obsessed with the confessional poets and poetry that came out of civil rights and women’s lib. I spent most of my time trying to be like Anne Sexton but less tragic, and I’d try to say things dripping with velvet honesty. I’d recite “Hanging Fire” by Audre Lorde at lunch while my friends tried talking to me. If my parents had any clue how well Sylvia Plath got me (and still does) they would have been worried. These women raised me.

A: My friends — When I moved to LA, I made an effort to befriend female artists and entrepreneurs. They are smart, loving, and truly committed to their vision and integrity.

Feminism — It’s always evolving, and so I’m always learning. I feel like it’s being embraced by teen girls again in a major way, and that is so exciting to me! I think about kids a lot, and how much the world would level up if we were all raised with the ideology of intersectional feminists, you know, without even thinking about it. Right now, we have to think about it. But I see good coming.

My mom — the most resourceful, kind woman ever. We didn’t grow up with much money, but she never let that become an excuse for not doing what we wanted to. She taught me to be scrappy, positive, and to look out for myself and others. She made things happen, despite dismal circumstances. ROLE. MODEL.

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

K: I work for a non-profit Property-Based Business Improvement District (PBID) in Downtown Fresno. While I love the challenge of no two days ever being the same, seeing change happening in my hometown and being part of a team of experts in our field, it is exhausting. After work I am mentally finished most nights because we juggle a million projects on a daily basis. Most nights I’m lucky if I have the capacity to sit down with the crossword puzzle or knit. The trade off for the dream job is that it has really cut into my “fun” writing and creative energy budget. Luckily, I do manage the Downtown Fresno Blog at work so at least writing hasn’t gone completely by the wayside.

A: I don’t do much that doesn’t feed into my artwork. I love cooking delicious vegan food for my family, and sewing up a storm. These are both creative, though, and work directly into my art communications on my blog and instagram. I suppose cleaning is the least creative thing I do, but it’s necessary if I want a clear headspace. It’s all a means to an end, and I’m pretty excited about the potential of every waking moment of my terrifying yet wonderful existence.

Check out more from Aurora Lady on her blog!

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