I enforced an artistic sabbatical of sorts on myself, if for no particular reason, but to reassess how I wanted to spend my time, both artistically and professionally. My artistic sabbatical includes taking some time away from my zine, From Hell To Highwater. Volume I and II were great. I said it before and I’ll say it again, when I started FHTH, I had no idea how long I’d continue it. I’ve been able to meet some amazing artists from all over the world and each new experience that FHTH has led me to gave me the encouragement to move on to a Volume III. While FHTH is on hiatus, I plan on revising the design and getting more of a variety of topics and artists included.
For me, taking a hiatus from any art project is necessary. It’s like when I’m working on a painting. I could be working on the painting for hours, for days, and never really feel satisfied with it, but that’s when you know it’s time to take a step back, look at the image as a whole and figure out what works and what needs adjusting. In the end, it all comes together.
But just because FHTH is on hiatus, doesn’t mean I’ve taken a break from reading others’ zines! I’ve been able to pick up some really rad zines through the last couple of zine fests I’ve been to and some good ol’ trading with other zinesters. Below, you’ll find some brief highlights of zines that I’ve currently added to my library and have made the top of my reading list the last couple months.
First up is “Dancing Barefoot: Love & Magick” by Sage Adderly and Deirdree Prudence, two awesomely talented zinesters that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person. Rounded corners and little accents of glitter make the craftsmanship of this quarter size zine beautiful. Inside the zine you’ll find all kinds of info about how you can use the moon and its phases to your benefit. For one, did you know the best time to cast spells to rid yourself of something (negativity, illness, bad habits, etc.) is during the Waning moon? I didn’t, but if you need a step by step on just how to do that, pick up “Dancing Barefoot” and these witchy ladies will lead the way.
I have to admit, I love Instagram. I think it’s one of the most effective social media platforms for artists because it’s all visual. Since using IG to share my art (click here to follow me!), I’ve also been able to connect with some rad artists, Jethro Wall being one of them. I traded Jethro an issue of FHTH for one of his zines, “Threat & Ink” and was so stoked to see the variety of art included. “Threat & Ink” is a comp zine that features some damn good drawings and comics. Jethro also features his own hallow-eyed ghost figures throughout the zine, which are playful and haunting. Jethro is a zinester who was in the game long before I was and I’m glad he’s back!
Is it just me, or are the 90’s going through some kind of pop culture revival? It’s a totally surreal feeling seeing girls half my age wearing chokers around their neck and seeing the reboot of “Jurassic Park” make millions of dollars all over the world. Add to that, of all 90’s tv shows, “The X-Files” is coming back to your home screen too. Let’s get one thing straight: “The X-Files” has a cheese factor that one can only appreciate many years later as an adult. Thanks to Netflix, I was able to force myself to re-watch all 9 seasons. By the end of the final season, I was rolling my eyes so much at every episode you’d they’d fall right out of my head! That aside, I met Sarah at Long Beach Zine Fest 2015. We tabled next to each other and lo and behold, sitting on her table was her first ever fanzine about….”The X-Files”! Sarah talks about everything from Scully’s pantsuits to her least favorite episodes to how “The X-Files” perpetuated racial, gender and class stereotypes. I’d say this fanzine is a great jumping off point in discussing the show’s impact on popular 90’s culture… and maybe revisiting your top secret crush on Mulder.
Everyone loves options. Everyone loves sex (I mean, I’m generalizing, you know). What do you get if you combine the two? You get Anne Murray’s “Choose Your Porn Adventure: Vermont Maple Sugar Mama”! I was instantly drawn to this choose your adventure comic because I’d never seen anything like it. The drawings are simple and lightheartedly graphic, while the text is definitely not PG-13. I flipped through the zine several times, choosing the various options to see what kind of story I got. Overall, very fun! And it makes me want to try my hand at creating my own choose-your-adventure zine (not necessarily sex themed though).
There’s a comic shop a couple neighborhoods away that my boyfriend frequents. One day he came home with two mini zines about the history of San Diego by a local named David Hovsepian. Considering their small size, these mini’s carried a lot of weight and story. During my last visit to the same comic shop I picked up issue 3, entitled “The Prophecy of Saint Shamu”. This mini details a story of ungrateful “villagers” who trashed their beaches and captured the ocean spirit Shamu, making him perform for their own amusement. Again, I really enjoyed the small details of this comic and the little slap in the face to San Diegans.
At Long Beach Zine Fest I came across a zine entitled “Puta” by Nyky G., the operator of Brown Recluse Zine Distro. “Puta”, if you didn’t already know, is Spanish slang for “b***h” or “whore”. This zine features the writing of a proud sex worker and how being a puta has allowed her to exorcise personal demons, find power in playing out dualities, all while coming to terms with her own version of feminism. The content of this zine is very powerful and written from a place of honesty and true soul searching.
Last, but not least, is a quarter-size zine called “The Kid and I”. This zine is created by a mother and her 11 year-old daughter. Cute, huh?! I picked up issue 7 at Long Beach Zine Fest; this issue doesn’t seem to follow any particular theme. It jumps around from a review of a Los Angeles store/restaurant called Organix to astrological traits to an introduction to their cat named Bruiser. It’s a fast read, but I’m in love with the idea of a mother/daughter zine team!
There you have it! Some brief descriptions of new-to-me zines that I think are worthy of your time. Keep in mind, fellow zinesters, July is “International Zine Month” and a simple Google search will lead you to a list of daily activities you can do in celebration of zine culture. If you’d like to make a zine of your own and don’t know where to start, I always suggest starting off with a mini zine because they’re smaller and you might not feel so overwhelmed at the idea of having to fill up multiple blank pages.
Keep your eyes peeled for my next post, because by then I’ll be able to feature an update of my new perzine that I’m collaborating with MT on. Should be fun!