SF Zine Fest talks with Alexis Jae Cohen

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

My creative passion lies in exploring the psyche - in the major archetypal themes and transitions of life, from universal rites of passage like birth and death, to the smaller initiations of dealing with the unknown in daily encounters.  In this light, I recognize storytelling as an important personal practice; it allows me to grow alongside my characters as they face their fears and themselves, and learn to recognize the importance of listening to their own voice through their journeys into the unknown.

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

I first heard about zines several years ago when I was introduced to the underground San Francisco Art scene. I didn’t consider making my own zines up until the last few years and I really became excited about it when I was enrolled in a graphic novel class. I was moved to self publish my own books after I started to explore the more traditional publishing paths. The traditional paths felt narrow and rigid and really countered the freedom of making comics and graphic novels which for me is about pushing boundaries and expressing oneself freely. 

What do you do when you’re not creating?

When I am not making zines I am a birth doula (supporting women as the labor), hypnotherapist, illustrator and painter with a practice in San Francisco.

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

I didn’t realize how satisfying finishing a self published book would be. There is the added accomplishment of doing it all on my own without rules. It was so hands on!

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

It takes much longer than you think. So go easy and enjoy the process. It will be a  wonderful piece of art that you get to share with the community and you get to say exactly what it is that you want to say regardless of what anyone thinks. It is a medium of true free expression.

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

This year I am sharing my new book Jaya the Nighttime Faerie & the Music of Everything. It is an illustrated journey of a young faerie who learns how to harness her special gifts to overcome any challenge or fear. When Jaya comes out at night, she hears and dances to the musical rhythms of nature—sounds that no one else can hear.  When her playful explorations catch the attention of Mother Sky, she is given a gift - a guiding star - and is set upon a quest into the Land of the Unknown. On her journey she encounters things that are scary, but finds her inner wisdom and embraces her gifts to triumph over darkness. This story is a message of reassurance: even when we are most afraid—of the dark, death of a loved one or even our own power—we have an inner wisdom that can guide us.                                                        

I am also sharing a mini comic called “The First Stone” which explores a couple new characters I am working with for my next longer feature book Santiago’s Stones.

For more from Alexis, check out:

www.alexisjae.org

SF Zine Fest talks with Eugenio Negro

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

I make zines mostly observing interpersonal relationships, consumerism, environmental collapse and language. I like doing the news and the latest gossip by explaining the motives behind what people do.

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

I don't remember when I first heard of them called "zines" and learned that there's a huge world of artists dedicated to them, but my friends and I started making comic books at about 10. When we heard of punk rock and making copies of books and stuff, I got very excited about zines.

What do you do when you’re not creating?

When I'm not doing art I'm working, pursuing relationships and doing other everyday stuff. My survival is not difficult at this time.

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

Unexpectedly, because they cost little to make, zines are teaching me to give art away more and get the money out of the focus of the thing, which is a blessing. Money sucks!

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

The most important things first-timers should do with their zines is: 1. Get the personal struggle gushing out of the way soon, to make way for presenting real life stuff and stuff about other people besides yourself. Otherwise you'll lose interest. 2. That being said, whatever you're doing with your life is more interesting than you think. Document it for the learning of others!  3. Make every zine have a silly part, stay childlike. 4. Be more informative than you think people would expect. Zine traders love something they didn't already know.

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

For this year's SF Zine Fest I got not only a book of poems about the prison industry but also a comic about wild creatures, and both are bilingual or in Spanish!

SFZF 2014 Special Guests

We are very excited to announce the SF Zine Fest 2014 Special guests Ryan Sands, Tomas Moniz and Hellen Jo!  They all have been a special part of the zine community and we can't wait for you to see them at the show! 

2014 Special Guests

RYAN SANDS

Ryan Sands is a zinemaker, editor, and translator who lives in San Francisco. Ryan runs the publishing company, Youth in Decline, which is based out of a small office / Risograph print shop in the Mission. Youth in Decline’s focus is on supporting diverse and unique stories from up and coming North American creators, introducing English-speaking audiences to our favorite international cartoonists and writers, and providing an outlet for artistic book objects from established creators we love. 

In addition to an ongoing artist monograph series called Frontier and a science fiction chapbook called "Love Songs for Monster", Youth in Decline is releasing two longer comics this fall: RAV 1ST COLLECTION by Mickey Zacchilli, and Snackies by Nick Sumida.

http://www.youthindecline.com/

TOMAS MONIZ

Tomas Moniz is most known for being the creator, editor, and contributor to RAD DAD, a zine about radical parenting, and author of Bellies and Buffalos. Over the course of nine years, he was written personal pieces about fatherhood and all of its complexities. Tomas splits his time between parenting, teaching, writing, and organizing. He organizes readings and EBABZ, the East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest, and has become an important figure in the Zine and Literary community. His work combines daily challenges with art and political reform. Tomas has been an exhibitor at the San Francisco Zine Fest for the past eight years. In that time, he has established himself as a prolific writer and a great colleague. 

HELLEN JO

Hellen Jo is an illustrator and cartoonist living in Los Angeles. She currently works on the Cartoon Network program "Steven Universe" as a storyboard artist.  In her free time, she enjoys stickers, horror movies, and hoarding.  You can find her at helllllen.org.