What was your first zine about and when was it made?
I was featured in several little zines and minicomic things before I did a whole zine by myself. It was November of 2010, sort of a diary comic thing of the month, just to see what I could make… it had some clever points, some decent art, but just a lot of bitterness. I think that’s the hardest part to look back on, not the “I made this, it’s awful!” but the “Wow, I really did not hold back on meaness did I?”
Describe your most recent zine.
I’m currently working on one that’s comic vignettes on the themes of time and memory and the malaise that accompany them (that’s the new thing I guess, I went from being bitter to a bummer), so it’s really really recent, and I’m excited to put together small works in a way they can interact with each other. It’s my preferred way of creating, just kind of a lot of one-offs and them sorting through them and finding themes and connections. Also, it’s generally how I find out what’s going on in my mind, making what it feels like I need to make and then piecing through what was recordable and why it mattered. I feel like temporally I’m existing in this area past however much future I’d thought up, so trying to tie those feelings to known identities and events is coming up a lot.
Of all the things you’ve ever made, zine-related or otherwise, what’s your one favorite?
Oh, favorites are so hard. I can’t pick a favorite comic/zine, too many of them are like old security blankies, they were made out of the need for comfort on a personal level and I can’t repay them enough for it. Out all of art-ish things, there’s one photograph I took of some pallets wrapped in a ton of cellophane..the minute I developed the film I just kinda knew it was going to be near impossible to ever top it. Haven’t yet, still might though.
Name three of your influences and how they affected your work.
I’m going to practice a bit of caution and not take this in the context of people who make great art but were also at some point literally saying “Make more things Tori! That’s what you are, a thing-maker!”. I feel like artistically, I really clung to early childhood stimuli, Dr.Seuss books, Peanuts comics, Disney movies… I was always really drawn to these more introspective yet fun characters that were all nicely rounded lines and thinly veiled messages.
Also, just being like 3 or so and having a thing you can read yourself, because the pictures help out but don’t necessarily feel like a crutch, yeah, I think that independent feeling I got from parsing words together really drove me headfirst into pre-zinemaking, finding that you could create stories for yourself that had these dependable brilliant underdog characters and have some terrible thing happen to them and then some wonderful thing. More in the line of more conscious artistic influences, Gabrielle Bell is just fantastic for proving how slice of life stuff can create a really compelling story… she’s also really nice, I emailed her to thank her for signing a book for me once, and she responded back with like nice things to say about my work, completely unprovoked. I also really like John Porcellino’s work in a similar way in terms of conveying personal experience, except he can do it with like barely anything being on the page.. I feel like when you see work like that, it’s really a great check-in for figuring out how to maximize poignancy and brevity, edit, edit, edit.
What do you do when you’re not creating and how does it help or harm what you do artistically?
Oh, I work, I spend time with people, read, wander, waste too much time watching TV. It’s all great source material.
Check out more of Tori Holder’s work here!