I got some great news earlier this week! I’ll be tabling for a second year in a row at Long Beach Zine Fest on April 24th. I’ll have three new zines available: the newest issue of From Hell To Highwater (submit soon if you wanna be included!) and two new art/perzines. If you’ve been following my Instagram (@uno_foto_art), you’ll know I’ve been drawing various body parts quite a bit lately, so much so that the callous on my index finger seems to be a permanent fixture. It’s all good though, because I honestly feel like my drawing skills are improving and that’s a good thing because, although I consider myself an artist, I’ve never necessarily considered myself an artist that draws. As of late, I’m happy to say, that has changed.
So, in celebration of upcoming zine-related events, I’ve decided to update with some zine reviews for zines I’ve recently acquired. Enjoy!
“Dad Tweets”– Awkward Ladies Club
This minizine is funny and packs a lot of laughs. I’m not sure if the Dad tweets are legit, there’s no Twitter handle given for the aforementioned father, but I like to hope they are. This is a minizine I’d gladly keep in my bathroom for some repeated quick reading, because 140 characters never seemed so poignant. The tweets have an honest naivete that you can’t help but appreciate. A couple of my favorites: “Peeps rail on me for keepin it real. Don’t be haters. Be relaters,” and “I just got a 1600 on my SMSATs (street-smart SAT). Self administered and taken in the 6th dimension (virtual reality).”
“Loteria”– Andrea Maria Cordoba & Aneli Alejandra Navarro
“Loteria” is a minizine that includes brief introductions to some of “Latinx” (as it’s called in the zine) history’s most valuable players, including, but not limited to, Frida Kahlo, Richard Cabral and Cesar Chavez. The drawings seem beautifully effortless in their execution and I definitely appreciate any form of art that highlights the power and uniqueness of Latin culture.
Untitled – Howyousay
Howyousay has been on my radar for awhile. His drawing style is not like anything I’ve seen before, childlike and naïve, yet haunting and honest. The abstract bits of poetry written on typewriters are reminiscent of Basquiat’s SAMO graffiti, kind of like a jumping off points of thoughts that you could easily get lost in.
I spotted these mini’s at various bookstores in the Mission District in San Franciso during my visit last month. They were free and I was stoked because these zines talked about societal issues that could be current and pertinent to any city. The topics included City College of SF possibly losing its accreditation n 2014, harm reduction in relation to drug use and how needle exchange programs can reduce the negative effects of risky behavior, how fame can prevent people from being accountable for their actions and “amping”, which I had no idea was the term for an overdose of stimulants. The drawing style in the mini’s varies, which leads me to believe it’s a collective of people creating them. I love the line work of the figures and the amount of information that each zine relates to its reader about the issue at hand. They’re informative without being condescending or preachy.
“Tastes Like July”– Nina Kim
I convinced my BFF to go to San Francisco Zine Fest for me last year. Luckily for me, he also snagged a few zines that he gifted me during my visit. “Tastes Like July” was one of those zines. The figures in the comics are incredibly simplistic, a couple levels about stick figures, but that’s okay because it’s the stories that are the focus of attention. Each comic is told in three to six boxes and not much text, maybe that’s why I enjoyed reading them so much, because sometimes less is more. Nina’s self-deprecating, apathetic yet self-conscious story-telling is funny and cringe-worthy at the same time.
Here’s a guest review by my art partner, Ego Death, featuring one of his newest favorite zine:
“Bogus Rendition” zine is part journal, part train-hopping travelogue, and part music journalism. It is dense, 100 plus pages, black and white, $12, and something that you have to commit to reading, like a short novel. The writer shares his thoughts and musings ranging from black metal to mystic anxiety to Star Wars, and allows the reader to hint a glimpse at a world unknown to the common urbanite. It also features great and insightful interviews with the late Selim Lemouchi of The Devil’s Blood, interviews with members of Watain, and others. Charmingly sprinkled throughout the book are reminders to go fuck ourselves. Conversely, the author constantly asks, presumably to no one but himself, whether anybody would be able to continue reading the tiny text or even care. There is also a reluctance to talk too much, for fear of anything mentioned in the zine to be killed and co-opted by the mainstream.
If you suffer from wanderlust, or are angry and frustrated at your incompatibility with society but at the same time have a sober respect for the people in it, then this is a really cool zine to check out. Whether you listen to punk or metal is almost irrelevant. But if you understand and feel songs like De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas and have spent lonely nights in the wild, transfixed by the immensity of the universe, then this is a worthwhile zine to own and talk about.
On a more somber note, there was someone who I’ve crossed paths with in my life that recently passed away. I can count on one hand the number of artists that I discovered through my Tumblr days and continue to maintain some kind of connection to. Tina St. Claire was one of those artists. Her screenprints are dreamy and fluid. The femininity of her lines and figures, it was all very delicate, precise, powerful and symbolic. I admired her work and she felt like a real person, not just some artist with a blog. Then last year, on a whim, I went to IE Zine Fest in Redlands, CA. It was too short notice for me to be able to table, but I had the time to go, so I did. Lo and behold, there was Haunted Euth and TFail, a power duo of awesomeness. I made my way to their table, with a stomach full of butterflies, and introduced myself to Tina. I expressed to her how much I really loved her art and that I’d been following her on Tumblr for what seemed like ages. She was gracious and seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. During our brief conversation, we talked about life in L.A., art and the annoyances of social media upkeep. I appreciated her time and gave her some of my zines I had on hand. I relate this story to you because her recent death, due to cancer, did/does have a profound affect on me. No, I didn’t know Tina personally, but her art touched me and that means a lot. Death is imminent, so it’s up to us to make the best of it, day by day. Rest in peace Tina.