What was your first zine about and when was it made?
The first zine I ever put together never actually got made. It was a comix zine called “Gems and Dirt”. I put it together in 2007 or 2008. The sketchbook I had drawn everything in was in a bag that was stolen at a party. At the time, I didn’t have a scanner, so the only way I could archive any of my artwork was by photocopying it. Luckily, I had photocopied a couple of the pages of “Gems and Dirt” and they made it into my first official zine, “Petty Cash Vol.1”, which was a book comprised of comics and sketchbook art pages that came out in 2009. I’ve made up to 6 volumes of that zine since then.
Describe your most recent zine.
My most recent zine is the first issue of the second volume (*whew*) of a series called “Miniature Comix: BRUNETTE”. Volume one is a digital comix series that I distributed online. It includes a soundtrack of original music made by myself.
The series is about a 20-something year old young woman living in L.A. who, through a close friendship with a demon and their adventures together, obtains somewhat superhuman strength and other abilities. She goes on crazy adventures with her dog, Milk, and they come across many characters and places that push the story in different directions. It is definitely a genre-bending series that focuses on action, emotion, and comedy.
Volume two of “Brunette” is gonna be distributed in print form as a zine with a cd of new music. I’m finishing it up to debut at LA Zine Fest, which I’m very excited about.
Of all the things you’ve ever made, zine-related or otherwise, what’s your one favorite?
That’s a really difficult question. Outside of comix, writing, art, and zine making, I’m also a songwriter and musician who plays in a few bands (Luna is Honey, Batwings Catwings, JEMS, and my solo alter ego, J. Dendê). My love of art feeds my music and my love of music feeds my art. They’ve always worked hand in hand. I have songs of mine I really love and artwork that I’m very proud of. Because this is a zine-related questionnaire, I’ll stick to some of my recent zine work.
One of my more recent zines I’m especially proud of is the first issue of a Dinosaur/Paleontology related art zine called “Dino Nuts”. The first issue is a coloring book dedicated to Tyrannosaurus Rex. Aside from the artwork, the thing that makes me so proud of that zine is that it’s my first all ages book. Because of that, I’ve received emails from various people who purchased the zine for their kids.
Name three of your influences and how they affected your work.
Most of my art and zine work lately has been dedicated to drawing and writing comics, so in that department, some of my biggest influences are old manga artists like Go Nagai, Akira Toriyama, and Osamu Tezuka. I love their juxtaposition of innocent and childish looking characters put into very mature situations and stories. I also really love artist/writer Terry Moore. His use of expressions and realistic depictions of strong female characters is very inspiring.
I also read mainstream comics from some of the big publishers. There are a lot of really great artists and writers working in that medium right now. What they do isn’t really what I’m going for in my work, but I still find it inspiring.
I also get inspired by making mixes of music from my record collection and “digging” on youtube (which is like the new record digging). Those mixes tend to inspire my art and dreams. Sometimes my art and dreams inspire the mixes too.
What do you do when you’re not creating and how does it help or harm what you do artistically?
I’m constantly creating. When I’m not, I’m working or interacting with other people. I used to really hate working day jobs because I felt that I was using my time and brain in the wrong way, but that was actually not the case. Being on the grind at work or taking public transportation is a great way to practice meditation and relaxation techniques that open your mind to be creative even when you’re not actually putting ideas down on paper.