Creator Q+A | Jamaica Dyer

Throughout the month leading up the the SFZF we will be running daily mini-profiles of some of the many zinesters, cartoonists, and other creative types who make the Zine Fest what it is. Today's creator is Jamaica Dyer. You can also catch Jamaica reading her work at "Now See This", our third annual comics reading at the Comics Art Museum on Sept. 3! Stay tuned for more!

Q. What inspired you to get into small-press/DIY publishing?
A. I'd only seen newspaper comics and fully-colored superhero stuff as a kid, but as a teenager I started reading gritty little hand-drawn black and white photocopied comics that had such a hands-on personal approach that I realized it was something that I could make, too.

Q. When did you create your first zine or similar project? Can you describe it for us? When you look back, are you proud, embarrassed, both?
A. I was 15/16, and I created a comic called "Paranoia Park" about a girl who woke up in a coffin of circuitry after realizing the world around her was fake (original, I know). It was all inky and had mismatched text pasted onto backgrounds, very experimental, and looks NOTHING like what I do now. It feels a bit alien when I look at it now, but I'm proud of little me for taking that leap.

Q. Do you have a favorite memory the SF Zine Fest?
A. I stopped by last year, and met Susie Cagle and Helen Jo, and both of them are so talented and awesome! That was my favorite part. The whole place seemed very chill and everyone looked like they were having a good time, so of course I had to get a table of my own this time around.

Q. What would you like to see more of in the small-press world?
A. I like the unique touches, the slips of paper and cloth that some zine-makers paste into each copy of their books. With the ease of digital media all over the place, I'd like to see truly original pieces of DIY art coming out, I want to see more fantasy and fiction, and books that take advantage of the tactile experience.

Q. What subjects/groups do you wish there were more comics about/for?
A. I'd like to see more sci-fi monster stories geared at teenage girls, with screen-printed covers and kick-ass washable tattoos in every issue.

Q. What do you think the general public knows or thinks about small-press? How can the zine/comics community reach a greater segment of the public? Or is it better to keep the small-press scene more tightly knit?
A. I think it'd be better for the population as a whole if people made their own entertainment, when you realize that you can draw and write and create your own stories this puts the power back in your hands. I get nervous as technology gets more "user friendly" and gives the illusion of being creative, by customizing a character in a game or filling out questionnaires on a social networking site. I think kids are the ones that should be shown that they can make their own t-shirts, books, bags, animations and program their own websites, and not through some template, but by getting their hands dirty.

Q. In addition to the kind of work you will be showing at Zine Fest, what other creative pursuits do you have? Hobbies? Passions?
A. Well gee, I love making comics and painting, but I currently work in animation, and that's pretty great. I really enjoy the music scene in San Francisco, and the energy from the shows gets reflected in my drawings, and now I'm working on my lettering so I can start putting out concert posters.

Q. What are you working on now? What are you gonna do next?
A. Currently working on my next graphic novel. Along the way I'm printing smaller booklets of the completed parts of the story and posting the finished pages online as I complete them. I'm aiming to get this book done by the end of the year, then I want to focus on a collaborative experimental animated film with a fascinating musician that I know.