SF Zine Fest talks with Amy Berkowitz of Mondo Bummer

In three sentences, tell us what your work is about.

Mondo Bummer publishes poetry (and sometimes prose, fiction, and plays) in a disappointing way. It's not exactly a zine, it's more of a chapbook press with a DIY / punk / minimalist aesthetic. Mondo Bummer is interested in making brief poetry books you can wipe your greasy pizza hands on and not feel guilty about it.

How did you first find out about zines? What inspired you to make your own zines?

The first time I saw hand-bound, homemade poetry chaps was at Unnameable Books in Brooklyn. I was 22, I think, and I asked Adam, who owns the store, if he would carry a chapbook of my poems if I made one. He said sure, and his sister, who happened to be hanging out with him that day, explained what a pamphlet stitch was. That was all I needed. I went home, made my book, and then got excited about publishing other people's writing.

What do you do when you’re not creating?

I take long walks (I got very lost in Mount Sutro Forest last weekend), I bake things (I'm exploring my cultural heritage with a Hungarian baking period at the moment), I travel to Oakland a lot (to see friends and go to poetry readings), I work as a freelance writer (and also a writing tutor), I am pleasantly surprised whenever something interesting happens in San Francisco (like I just found out there is an art gallery in a garage up the street from my house), and I host a monthly reading series at my apartment (to prove to myself and others that interesting things still go on in San Francisco).

What is an unexpected benefit that you’ve experienced from reading/ making zines?

Getting weird shit in the mail. From the beginning, I welcomed barter as payment for Mondo Bummer books (I think "barter welcome" is followed with 10 exclamation points on the website). And I am so glad I did. From noise cassettes to poetry books to collages to a Blockbuster Video membership card belonging to EAT, MY FUCKING ASS, it's been a cornucopia of riches.

How would you advise first timers on making their first zines?

Have fun and don't be afraid of failure.

What are you working on for this year’s SF Zine Fest?

Well, in addition to the Classic Bummers, which are just poems printed out on regular paper, corner stapled, and then folded like letters, we're also working on some books that have a more complex aesthetic. Right now, I have a bag of alpaca wool on my desk, and I can't wait to start production of Jennifer Marie Hoff's NZ Is Terrible. The chapbook is a series of surreal dispatches from a lousy trip to a New Zealand alpaca farm, and we're going to bind it with yarn from Hoff's travels. 

For more from Amy, check out:

http://www.mondobummer.com/

SF Zine Fest talks with Andrew Pannell

In three sentences, tell us what your work is about.

I draw scratchy, sad-fantasy comics. I’m currently making a series about my hometown, doom, and acceptance called Nowhere, CA.  And I play music in a band named after a Jules Feiffer character.

How did you first find out about zines? What inspired you to make your own zines?

I lived in a place where the closest comic book shop was half an hour away, and only had super heroes and board game, so I ended up finding zines and “alt”-comics on the internet when i was 17 or so. I always liked telling stories and drawing slimy monsters and one day decided I could do both.

What do you do when you’re not creating?

Watching anime, riding my bike, and teaching art at after school programs for elementary school kids!

What is an unexpected benefit that you’ve experienced from reading/ making zines?

Crafting an object and bringing it into the world makes me feel like a magician, you know? That magic gives me the power to keep moving.

How would you advise first timers on making their first zines?

Realize that you’re the most powerful Creator-Creature that lives inside Your Body! Your destiny is to write and draw cool shit and trade them with like-minded Creator-Creatures at the nearest Zine Fest!

What are you working on for this year’s SF Zine Fest?
Nowhere, CA. Episode 1.1 (Wizerds) in which 10 year-old Salvador and Joe play wizards in the woods and see some kinda scary stuff they don’t quite understand.

For more from Andrew, check out:

http://andpan.tumblr.com/

 

SF Zine Fest talks with Christina Douk

In three sentences, tell us what your work is about.

I enjoy recreating scenes using my childhood imagination. I like to play around with whimsical ideas and make the impossible believable. My visionary goal is to always tell a story that will leave a smile on your face.

How did you first find out about zines? What inspired you to make your own zines?

I found out about this event from  a friend. I am new to this part of the industry, I enjoy creating  series of pieces that when put together will tell my story as well as who I am as an artist.

What do you do when you’re not creating?

Sleeping, gaming, and searching for new inspiration. 

What is an unexpected benefit that you’ve experienced from reading/ making zines?

I enjoy the break away from the busy work life. Although I am still technically doing work, its nice to conceptualize something that I want to do for myself than for a client. It is like taking a mini creative vacation. 

How would you advise first timers on making their first zines?

Creating a new piece is very daunting at first glance. Gather, references, references,  and references! You seriously can never have enough. Ideas usually originate from somewhere, and its best to find as much inspiration as you can before beginning. Figure out the style, the look and plan out how you think you want to go about it. 

What are you working on for this year’s SF Zine Fest?

I created a new series for this event called "Imagine". It plays on the idea of childhood imaginations, where we as kids believe that the world around us is what we make it to be. The illusion that we can change any location to be whatever we want and we can be whoever we want.