We are excited to catch up with Snapshot Magazine, an Austin-based publication featuring contemporary art and writing. Both Armando Garcia and Danea Johnson, creators of Snapshot, are sharing the interview space (they have put the name of the respondent after their respective answers!)
ZFH: Why do you create zines?
SM: Zines are a generous form of expression. They can be personal or include global or social issues. The versatility of such a platform and ease of publishing zines is what makes it worth it.
ZFH: How did you become interested in zines?
SM: I first became introduced to zines when I started attending local music shows in South Texas. I was in my teens then, but I didn’t really become interested in zines until college. That’s when I met and made friends who actually took some part in zine culture, even if it was just reading or collecting them. They talked to me about them and I fell in love with the idea. — Armando
I also became interested in zines during undergraduate in San Marcos, Texas. My sister and a good friend would spend our free time cutting, pasting and writing things for our zines. They were never published or formalized in any fashion and ended up in the trash. We were young and experiencing life outside of our privileged, formative years, so I’m sure the issues we talked about were personal, about girlhood and growing up. Every once in awhile we would go to Austin and visit Tower Records on Guadalupe (closed 10 years now!) to check out their selection. — Danea
ZFH: What are your favorite zines/mini-comics etc.?
SM: Our friend Sarah Frey —a major contributor to our magazine and a fave artist — publishes Lessons in # Reality from time to time. It’s hardly available, but I’m pretty grateful that I have the past two issues that she’s made. I was able to get my hands on a reissue of Guide to Dating Gangsters Volume 1. I love stuff that takes a good look at ridiculous stereotypes and how f’ed up views on sexuality have become between cultures and within subcultures. It’s really harsh and hysterical, but only because it’s true. It’s handmade by Vice Versa Press and I think they were at your zine fest last year. — Armando
Right now I’m really into Vagina: The Zine based out of Austin, Texas and published by Hillary-Anne Crosby. Crosby exclusively provides a platform for women to express their creative sides, whether it’s drawings, poetry or short stories. It’s a role model of a zine. — Danea
ZFH: Why does self-publishing appeal to you?
SM: Besides abiding by your printer’s standards, there are no rules in self-publishing. I have found it to be a culmination of the many aspects of design: creative writing, technical writing, layout, graphics, printing, crafting, and conceptualizing.
On the other hand, I can’t hide behind the fact that I was pretty privileged to have a job when we made the first issue. I was able to spend a good chunk of money on design software, a printer and a binder to compile and saddle stitch the magazine for us. Now I don’t really have a paying job, but we still plan on using the money we made on the sales of the first issue to put towards printing the second issue. It’s a vicious and beautiful, art cycle. It’s also the beauty of self-publishing. You have full control over all the aspects that are involved in making a book, magazine, or zine. The point being that I am focused on publishing forms of self-expression.
We are both vested in the DIY mentality and we love that Snapshot Magazine can be whatever the reader wants it to be. To some it’s a pretty-looking zine, some consider it a new magazine format and there are even some who look at it as a coffee table piece. That’s what I aim for — bend/break the rules of traditional publishing. If you will, we shouldn’t be concerned with separating the cultures. Publishing should be fun and free. It should be a platform for art. — Armando
Self-publishing allows for different voices to be heard and legitimized through the power of readership. There’s freedom in not having an editorial board backed by advertising interests. You can do whatever it is you want to do and freely admit your biases. This freedom also comes with a responsibility to the work that you produce.
And yeah, it’s fun. The best part is getting to know our contributors and hearing their stories. — Danea
ZFH: What is the concept behind your zine/zines?
SM: Our focus is artists, designers, musicians and creative forces. We feature interviews, writing and photography. It’s our take on arts and culture in Texas. We may branch out of Texas, but so far we have focused on our home state.
ZFH: What is your creation process like when starting a new issue of Snapshot Magazine?
SM: Concepts usually brew in our minds for what seems a lifetime. We light a candle and make a wish and say a prayer. Then, the universe kicks our asses into high gear and we gather content and design for an issue in less than two months. At least, that’s the approach that we have taken for the past two issues.
In those two months, we may interview almost a dozen artists through emails and at meetings or events. Sometimes people contribute their photography, but for the most part Danea shoots all the photos. Meanwhile all the concepts come to fruition in the layouts, design quirks and typesetting. I tend to lose track of the number of test prints that we go through and then VOILA!
On a personal note, reading about the creative process has made me feel MUCH better as I scramble to get my own zine together in these last few weeks!! Thanks guys, can’t wait to see Snapshot at fest!