What was your first zine about and when was it made?
The first zine I made was Fluxus Los Angeles Projects, same name as the press. It was born out of a conversation I had with a friend in the Warehouse District one night over drinks. I realized later how much our surroundings that night affected the conversation, and how in some ways it would have been entirely different had we been at the beach, or in Burbank, or sitting at a bus stop somewhere. The more I thought about it, the more I became interested in creating these “guides” to get people travelling to parts of the city where they may not normally go and hopefully interacting with different people as they circulate. It was first published in the late summer of 2013.
Describe your most recent zine.
Most recently I’ve been working on a project called L.A. La Luz, a mapping project of my favorite LED signs throughout the city. I know it may sound silly at first, but there’s something enchanting about these ephemeral, yet semi-permanent monuments that are completely pervasive throughout the city. It’s definitely made me pay more attention to my surroundings as I look for them. Some are flashy and bizarre, for example, a pixelated animation of scissors cutting a boy’s hair. I also love how many languages I see them in, and how many signs I can’t read. The signs help me remember that there is no “prototypical” Los Angeles resident and I hope that the zine does that as well.
I’ve also been working on a zine about Joshua Tree and what it means to retreat from an urban space, but that’s for another interview…
Of all the things you’ve ever made, zine-related or otherwise, what’s your one favorite?
My favorite thing I’ve ever made is actually one painting in particular that hangs next to my desk. It’s titled “Where to See American Nature Best” and the more I see it everyday the more I love it – it might be impossible for me to ever part with!
Name three of your influences and how they affected your work.
“Los Angeles Plays Itself” – This film is a must-see for any city dweller, whether native or newly transplanted. Director Thom Anderson’s film examines how the Los Angeles geography is portrayed by Hollywood and how chopped up and misconstrued it can become through the entertainment we watch.
Rebecca Solnit – How is this lady not inspiring? I am so in awe of the way she weaves together cultural histories and the specific landscapes in which they take place. She’s written about film and photography, the West, walking, and getting lost – all of my favorite things!
Situationist International – I’ve been pretty absorbed by this 1960s group since I first read about them. I ultimately chose the Fluxus movement for the name of my press though because it felt more descriptive of a practice, rather than a specific historical movement. I especially like the term “dérive” the Situationists put forth – defined as the act of a person forgetting their usual motives for movement and action as well as their work and leisure activities, and letting themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there. It’s the perfect idea through which to explore a city.
What do you do when you’re not creating and how does it help or harm what you do artistically?
I work in the film industry so I’m always drawing inspiration from images, whether through films I see, work on, or take myself. I’d like to think everything helps me artistically, but I’m also very lucky to get to meet and work with such a variety of diverse and creative people on a daily basis.
Check out more from Laura at Fluxus Los Angeles Projects!