Zine Spotlight: TALLGUY

Last year at SFZF 2011, I was lucky enough to have a table across the way from Adam Davis, a.k.a XAdamDX. His small paintings of robots caught my eye as they reminded me of pop culture images of the past. And his zine series, TALLGUY, in which he interviews other musicians, is as cool outside, with its narrow, elongated size and full color cover, as its contents. XAdamDX has taken DIY thought and culture to the next level as he has always been motivated to create something out of nothing, whether it be unique t-shirts, art, music, and of course, zines! I caught up with XAdamDX to learn more about his DIY mentality that drives him to create his zines and art.

How did you get into independent publishing, art and the like?

I think punk rock was the gateway for me getting into all of this. Growing up in Gilroy, there wasn't a lot of anything going on in the 90's. The whole DIY mentality that pushed me to start making the things I wanted to see: Can't find a t-shirt of the band you like? Make your own! Don't like the bands in your town? Learn how to play an instrument and start the band you want to hear! No one books All Ages shows? Your friend's parents have a barn, start playing shows in there! I always wanted to make zines as a teenager, but the prohibitive cost of reproducing them was always my biggest stumbling block. It wasn't until I had a mindless office job that I started making zines. It helped me feel like I was "sticking it to the man" by running off hundreds of copies on someone else's dime... pretty juvenile, but you do what you can to entertain yourself at a dumb job you hate.

How would you describe what you do and the work that you produce?

The short answer: I like to draw robots, dinosaurs, zombies and skulls. The long answer: Illustration is my number one focus artistically these days. I've also done a fair amount of painting (I did one project where I painted one hundred robots, and another where I'm painting one hundred dinosaurs) and recorded a considerable amount of music. I think I'm still just doing what I did as a teenager: I'm trying to bring things into the world that I want to see/read/hear.

What are you trying to communicate through your zines and art?

Overall, I think I'm just trying to get all the ridiculous ideas inside of my head out. In the process, I hope that it'll at least make for something entertaining. My first substantial zine was called I HATE THIS JOB AND I WANT TO DIE. It was a journal I kept while working at my first temp job at 23. I came across it again when I was turning 30 and decided it was worth publishing. It was so embarrassing and honest, it was something I thought other folks would want to read. I've also self-published a comic, and a few issues of a zine called TALLGUY where I mainly interview other musicians.

What does your work consist of?

Usually dinosaurs and robots. They're my easy default. Up against a deadline? Draw a robot, or a dinosaur. I truly like to draw other stuff though, especially weird ideas people have. I did a shirt for Bobby Joe Ebola & the Children MacNuggits, and their direction to me was "something dealing with dog poop". I think it came out really awesome/gross.

What are your current projects and upcoming events?

I'm at the tail-end of a project where I'm hiding 100 dinosaur paintings, and leaving clues for people to find them: http://100dinosaurs.blogspot.com It's taken me a bit longer to finish than I thought it would because I under-estimated my other big project: Becoming a father. I quit my crappy office job so I can change someone's crappy pants. It's infinitely better.

Where can people find you?

At xadamdx.com, or walking around Alameda with my son. If it's late at night, the Tacos Mi Rancho taco truck in east Oakland is a safe bet. Their burritos are amazing.

What is your favorite thing about the SF Zine Fest?

I love seeing so many creative people under one roof, and seeing what everyone has been up to. It's fun to barter off items with the other tables.

For new illustrations and designs, follow Adam on:

Twitter: @XAdamDX
Pinterest: XAdamDX