Q&A with Zine Market tablers DSTL Arts and Smiley Faze Productions
How did you first get in to making zines?
My introduction to zines was actually when I entered my MFA program at CalArts in creative writing a few years ago. I had never heard of the term “zines” before, but the concept of making handmade booklets was nothing new to me. Having exhibited my artwork in my hometown of San Diego, it was a common practice for galleries to make short-run, handmade booklets that gave credit to artists displaying their work. I was also first published by my undergraduate program at Cal State San Marcos in a zine, which they called the Pride Literary Supplement, an annual collection of creative writing that our campus newspaper published.
As a more common practice, it is only this year that I have incorporated zines into the offerings of my business, Smiley Faze Productions. As a poet and visual artist, I’ve finally started to merge the two mediums of art into a more recognizable zine format. Additionally, with the founding of my own nonprofit, DSTL Arts, I have incorporated zine making into one of the skills I teach my student artists. One of those zines/chapbooks, will be available at the Eastside Zine Market, and a portion of our sales will go to benefit the Arts Mentorship Program we offer to at-risk creative youth!
What are some of your current or all time favorite zines?
At the Eastside Zine Market, we’ll actually be debuting a few new zines that we’ve just made, and are in the process of producing. But my personal favorite is actually a handmade photo book called Diseño Divino that has been made in collaboration with a fellow photographer, Chris Tovar-Valles. It’s a beautiful book with loads of interesting black and white photography.
What kind of zines will people find at your table?
At the Smiley Faze Productions table, we’ll be sharing a variety of zines and chapbooks ranging from hand-drawn illustration/haiku mash-ups, poetry zines and chapbooks, a photo book, and a collection of short stories, both fiction and nonfiction. We’ll also have some photo and art prints available for purchase, with 10% of our sales going towards supporting the Arts Mentorship Program by DSTL Arts, my nonprofit arts mentorship organization for creative at-risk youth.
Why do you choose to make zines compared to blogs or traditional publishing?
Currently, Smiley Faze Productions is building a small library of content that we hope to share with our community in Los Angeles. Traditional publishing is in our future, and blogging is something that we encourage our contributors to do to capture a larger audience. Our view of zines is to act as a gateway for people that don’t always pick up a full-length book, and with that small hook in place, we hope that our community will seek out the future content we will be producing. Zines will always be a way for us to provide access to portions of our current art projects.