On the eve of the Zinefest Market day, the biggest date in the Auckland Zinefest lineup, we showcase a collection of talks with some of the talented solo artists on offer.
I'm a third year graphic designer from Whitecliffe college of arts and design. My design practice mainly includes digital editing, illustration and rendering as well as publication design.
As a graphic designer, how important do you think it is to have a physical publication in the modern age? Does it hold its own, or will it forever be a mere supplement to a screen?
I believe that anything physical has a more affectionate way of expressing itself to you. A real life zine allows you to connect with something visual and is much more personally engaging. However the screen has more benefits through motion. (Poetry in lotion).
What is your definition of a zine?
A zine can be anything really. It can spread amazing ideas, showcase work or even just be a bunch of nonsense.
Is there any place for D.I.Y zining in the professional graphic design world today?
Where are you finding ideas for your work these days?
I find my ideas from movies and the Internet as well as books and magazines. Pretty much everywhere I guess. I get a lot of inspiration from science fiction movies such as Alien, and video games like Borderlands.
I’m a second-year student studying Communications and Business at AUT but I’m also involved with various other things to distract me from the mundane teachings of business. I host Totally Wired, the all-new-music show, on 95bFM and I’ve also been helping organise Auckland Zinefest for the last couple of years. I’ve been making zines since I was 17 and shall continue until the day I find something better to do.
What inspired you initially to get into zine making? Where has it taken you?
I was exposed to zines through my older sibling, Mengzhu, as they were making zines as I was growing up. One day I realised I couldn’t find a magazine or media outlet that I could relate or agree with and so I was inspired to make something of my own. I used to also write a lot in my younger days and always wanted to be a music journalist so I put some of my best writing in a zine, called it FREAK and that was my first zine. I was attracted to this alternative media because its not controlled or censored and you can do whatever you want and express your opinion. Ever since making my first zine, I got involved in the Auckland Zinefest committee through my sibling and I’ve met a bunch of amazing people through Zinefest.
What themes are most prevalent in your zines and what other ideas are brewing inside of your mind at the moment?
My zines often toy with the idea of “healthy-narcissism", which reflects me as a person. My latest zine was about boosting people’s egos and it was filled with cocky, Kanye-esque quotes that I came up with. The quotes are pretty funny to be honest, like, “I accept people’s compliments because I appreciate their honesty.” I’ve been thinking about doing a zine on unpleasant experiences I’ve had with privileged white men (sorry, not sorry) because I hate the patriarchy of course.
What would you tell someone who is anxious about making their first zine. But really wanted to give it a go?
Don’t worry about people judging you because you should be focusing on whether you are proud with your zine. Zines shouldn’t be made to please other people.
Who are you most looking forward to seeing this zine fest?
No Pride In Prisons! Because I haven’t seen any of their zines yet but I know they have great ideas to spread to everyone.
EarthsEnd Publishing - Adrian, Kelly and Stephen
Earth’s End Publishing is a boutique-publishing house specializing in New Zealand graphic novels and comics.
You’re quite a big publishing player in Aotearoa, does Auckland Zine Fest offer you a different market of creatives’ to work with/seek inspiration from?
Auckland Zine Fest is a great place to be introduced to new upcoming talents! All cartoonists and authors need to get their start somewhere, and it’s always a big vote of confidence to meet an author who’s already self-publishing their own work and selling it at a Zine Fest. It shows they understand the publishing process and are already cultivating an audience for their work.
What’s the general process of a book going to print at EarthsEnd publishing?
Generally we meet with an author to discuss a specific project of theirs that we are interested in publishing. Once we come to a publishing agreement, we then work with them to fine-tune and prepare it for print. Once it’s printed, we work together on a strategy to launch and promote the title – anything we can do to get their work out there and into customers’ hands.
What do you love most about the books that you publish, and are there any that we should keep a particular eye on?
For me it has to be working with the authors. It’s a privilege to work with them to bring their stories into print, and each project offers its own unique challenges.
Our most recent book is a re-issue of the classic NZ graphic novel, Terry Teo and the Gunrunners by Bob Kerr & Stephen Ballantyne. On one hand this was an archival project that required re-mastering, and on the other it was also a Tie-in edition to the new Terry Teo TV series that just launched. So both of those prospects made this a really appealing project, and I got to interview a wide range of people regarding the legacy of Terry Teo – from the 1980’s comic and TV series till now, which was a great deal of fun and really made this book a celebration of the character. So if you have fond childhood memories of Terry, this book is for you!
Gabi Lardies is an artist and freelance graphic designer / web developer. She graduated from graphic design in 2012 at AUT, where she spent considerable time in the bookbindery and print room. She continues to make books as part of her own creative practice, exploring the form and tangible experience of them to convey concepts and mood. She sees self-publishing as an important tool for creative people and minority voices; and encourages this through teaching book binding in a way which does not require expensive equipment, and also helping organise events such as Auckland Zinefest.
Her graphic design work spans both print and web but is largely computer-based so she relishes chances to make with her hands. In her creative work she enjoys exploring print production and writing (often this will end up in a handmade book… sometimes not).
Where abouts can we find you at this years Zine Fest?
You can find me sharing a table with two friends, Henry Christian-Slane and Cindy Tan, we are still finalising the layout so I can’t tell you where exactly!
I’m sorry in advance for awkwardness… I suck at selling things and small talk…
As a graphic designer, how important do you think it is to have physical publication in the modern age? Does it hold its own, or will it forever be a mere supplement to a screen?
The internet’s been a real game changer for publishing – I think it has done incredible things! Indie publishing and zine culture have flourished – by using the screen as a supplement. The internet provides more ways to find an audience, reach out to it and also connect with people who are making similar things. All three of which can be tricky for niches.
I can see how this can appear to lead to a logical conclusion > why not use the internet to publish the content directly?
Lets compare a screen and a book:
I treasure time with books, they are a little capsule I escape into.
I read (that’s a lie... I scan) websites to get information, or to achieve a task…
Also there are no ads in books so I don’t feel weird about having off-white teeth and holes in all my jumpers.
I love browsing books, I look for a book, I find 10 new favourite books I didn’t know about on the shelf.
Good luck googling an obscure poets name (if you even know they exist) and my facebook feed? I can only see my ‘popular’ friends… maybe they are not my favourite friends?…
I buy a book > I keep it forever > I lend it to a forgetful friend…
I visit a website > I think ‘cool’ > I never remember to go on the website again
Okay enough… this is more from a ‘Gabi’ point of view rather than a ‘graphic designer’ point of view. I consider my personal creative work (like zines) to be quite separate from my commercial graphic design work, although I use a lot of the same skills. I’m definitely not a technophobe, I’m a website developer too and I have made some experimental ‘poem websites’, which I like, but somehow they just don’t feel as special as a printed zine. I also have a dusty kindle on my bookshelf…but…
I think when we are talking about self-publishing we also have to abandon practicality or trying to validate it. People make printed matter because they like it, because it feels good to hold a beautiful object filled with your thoughts at the end of the day. It’s also way to have a voice, and ask people to listen. The value is intrinsic to both the maker and the reader. One of my first zines is about 3 years old, I made 20 of them and I enjoy thinking that 20 people have them tucked in their bookshelf and have a look through every now and then.
What would you tell a creative wanting to get into graphic design, website development or publication construction?
HAVE FUN & plz don’t be pretentious… you really shouldn’t be pretentious... it’s not ‘cool’ at all!
Are you running any workshops this year? Any spaces left !!??
Yes! I’m running a workshop on Monday the 25th as part of Zine Zone at Inky Palms, it’s in the evening, it’s free, it will be fun, there’s only 2 spots left – email me to register!
I’m also running a 9 week evening courses at Studio One Toi Tu for those who want to learn more! They start next-next week and you can book now via their website. They’re not free – sorry - gotta make a living!
Who are you most looking forward to see at this years fest?
I’m really looking forward to Cait Johnsons work, I have seen some snippets of it and not only do I connect with it on a personal level but feel it is quite relevant to my own work. She has an interest in the intersection between language and image and her work comments, at least to me, about transience in both a sad and happy way.
I am also looking forward to Ash Spittals zines and prints – I first saw his drawings at Auckland Zinefest in 2013 and loved them, such beautiful control of the hand and such honest but lightly delivered subject matter. Ash won ‘Best of the Fest’ last year so I must not be the only one!
ALSO I think the community table is going to be really cool! It is going to have so many different zines!!!
See you at Zinefest!!!
Come see me at the Auckland Art Gallery this Sunday!!!
Where do you draw your inspiration from when making a zine?
I guess discomfort, or uncomfortable ideas that no-one seems to want to talk about. Also I love to draw the body, so I guess abject and awkward bodies that I see always excite me. Wow I sound dodge.
What materials/programs do you use when making your zines?
I’ve been trying to cut my costs down recently, because I’m a poor art student during the day. My zines this year are clunky and stocky because they have only been made with one piece of a4 paper. I love photoshop and have recently learnt the very, VERY basics of InDesign, which hopefully will improve my technique and design knowledge dramatically.
What has been the highlight for you so far during this Zine Fest?
Speed-Zining at Peach Pit was so much fun! Someone decided to use one of the tables as a glue-pot! It was so refreshing to see people get down and dirty with crafty goodness and actually meet new faces with similar interests. I would love to organize an event like that again. Also coopers.