Get to Know Your Zinester: kkotku arcade

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

My first was an expressionistic urban rendition of the Persephone myth. I was too embarrassed to turn it into the local comic shop, Comic Relief in Berkeley, so it ended up getting submitted and published in a POC poetry anthology called “smell this”.

Describe your most recent zine.

It’s the beginning of a series, somewhere between an urban fable and speculative fiction. Travelling in Asia or even within my own hoods I’ve heard the most remarkable personal mythologies, I wanted to open a space to retell these stories: slightly recognizable, a tad dystopian, yet with potential for an otherworldly subversion. Right now it’s more visually surreal but I’m hoping for it to gain a stronger narrative boost as the series grows.

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

The first, always.

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

Before mass social media, when it was hard to find the resources, Comic Relief kept a decent stash of European and alternative comics which inspired me to spend time getting the classic drawing rules down. However, these days when I willfully attempt my earlier expressionistic beginnings, for better or worse, it’s a struggle.

At the same time I’m drawn towards experimental theater and the spoken word subculture, from Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s Living Word Project to Theater Artaud and site specific performances. The kinesthetic quality of these events nudge me towards a poetic visual and the desire to make zines the physically pleasurable experience book art can become. There you have it, both a need to make a solid story and yet something dissected and ephemeral.

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

Haitian folkloric, scavenger hunts and sketch crawls. All the former involve playing on your feet and extroversion while reading zines can be an introverted experience which is why I’m striving for that experience which could fuse the two.

For more from Kara check out her website!

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