Modernizm is my own personal zine dedicated to art. On this blog you will also find posts about other zines, zine related articles, reviews and Zine Fest Houston. Please enjoy. If you have comments or questions, email me (Stacy) at modernizmzine@yahoo.com.
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ZFH 2014 Interview #4: Sarah Welch/Mystic Multiples

Today’s interview finds us catching up with the immortal Sarah Welch. A prodigious illustrator, comics artist and purveyor of fine zines and prints, she is the author of Misseen and Endless Monsoon, and her illustrations have been featured in Free Press Houston and Cite Magazine, among others. Let’s take a turn ’round the block and stay a spell with Sarah.
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ZFH:Misseen” deals with your issues living with low vision. Do you think it has affected your aesthetic choices when drawing? If so, how?

SW: I think the most prominent, literal effect it’s had is that I use a lot of black. I wasn’t really conscious of this until recently, but I think it probably makes my life a little easier when I’m workingto see everything divided into bold, distinct shapes, I’m not about demure line work really. I used to aspire to perfect, clean lines, but I think I’m team chunky whether I like it or not. Team Chunky y’all.

Sidenote–I tried to buy one of those blue non-photo pencils once so I could feel more ~professional~ making comics hahaha and it was a complete waste of time because I couldn’t see jack. So my originals always look like a mess.

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ZFH: What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest?

SW: A lot of what we plan to have this year has yet to be printed, so I’m going to cross my fingers that all this reaches fruition. The top priority for me is to have second edition copies of Endless Monsoon I (which we premiered and nearly sold out of at last year’s ZFH) and of course, the new Endless Monsoon II: Cry Me a River. Monsoon II ended up twice as long as the first installment so we plan to release it as two books. We should have some new little riso printssome gator printsin my fantasies I’m also making a set of Halloween themed cards. I like Halloween.

ZFH: What is something that you’re looking forward to about the 2014 Zine Fest Houston?

SW: ZFH after party prom. I hope they play lots of Mariah Carey. I’m ready for my prom slow dance to some chopped and screwed Mariah please. Is there a request list?
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ZFH: There is now! Next question: What do you think the zine/self publishing scene in Houston will be like in 20 years?

SW: I don’t know about 20 years, I think I’m only willing to forecast 5-10 years into the future. Like all things in Houston, I see growth. I think we could be a good hub for the south and southwest zinester, self-publishing crowd. I like the idea of ZFH becoming an event that is attended by folks all over the country like SPX. There’s a lot of comic, zine, DIY talent in Texas, and there’s no reason ZFH doesn’t draw more attention in the future.

ZFH: What is/are your favorite place(s) in Houston?

SW: I don’t leave my duplex often, but when I do, I like to go to the Dan Flavin grocery store building on Richmond. I’m also in a serious relationship with Hot Bagel right now. I get the toasted garlic bagel with lox cream cheese. James likes the bagel kolaches.

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Thanks Sarah! Can’t wait to see what happens next in EM.

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ZFH Interview #4: Sugar & Rice Magazine

To whet your appetite on a gloomy Sunday afternoon, we bring you our fourth interview! Sugar and Rice, “the Gulf Coast’s Food and Culture Magazine”. David Leftwich shares more below.

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ZFH: Why do you create zines?

DL: Because you can take a “what-the-fuck” attitude and create something that you think is cool and important.

ZFH: Why do you like zines?

DL: I like zines because they expose you to so many different voices and perspectives. They’re a great way for people to bring writing, artwork, and photography into the world and do it in print. Also, with the rise of online everything, I think their underground attitude is important for keeping print alive.

ZFH: How did you become interested in zines?

DL: My first exposure to zines was 20+ years ago when I managed the magazine section of an independent bookstore in Washington, DC. We had a nice selection of zines that covered everything from music to poetry to politics. I thought they were a great way to learn about stuff—new music, new poets, etc.—that you weren’t finding in the mainstream media.

ZFH: What is your favorite part of zine fest?

DL: I have to admit this will be my first time attending, but I’m really excited to see all the different zines and hopefully add some to my collection.

ZFH: What is something that you’re looking forward to about the 2014 ZineFest Houston?

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From “Creole Coffee,” by David Leftwich. July 31, 2014.

DL: Ha. See #4. The zines!

ZFH: What are your favorite zines/mini-comics etc.?

DL: I may have a broad definition of zines, because I include a lot of small, independent literary journals. I just discovered a new one called Agriculture Reader, which I really like. They are publishing a lot of great writing, poetry, and art. Another one I really like is The Hat. They went on a hiatus for a couple of years but just published a new issue, #8, and are currently working on #9. I’m excited to have them back in the game. I’m also a big fan of Saucy Magazine, which explores the interactions between food and art. Each issue explores a different them using a different format and trim size, and feature some great photography and writing.

ZFH: What made you decide to participate in the 2014 Zine FestHouston?

DL: The opportunity to see other people’s works, to meet other people trying to keep alternative print alive, to share our work with others, and to support an important community in Houston.

ZFH: What new projects are you working on this year?

DL: Issues 3 & 4 of Sugar & Rice. I’m really excited about the graphic novella/essay I’m working on with artist Sara Hinkle for issue 3. She’s a kick-ass artist. And she is doing some amazing illustrations for a graphic recreation of the infamous opening night of Houston’s once iconic Shamrock hotel.

ZFH: What is something you think people should know about DIY in Houston?

DL: That you can do it here. Houston is wide open. It has a pretty amazing DIY/entrepreneurial spirit that people support. I’m constantly meeting people here who have an idea and then successfully pursue it—whether that’s starting a successful bar on some maxed-out credit cards, launching a worm-composting business, starting an urban farm, opening an art gallery, or launching a food zine. Just go for it.

ZFH: What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest?

DL: Issues 2 and 3 of Sugar & Rice.

ZFH: What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines?

DL: Cooking and writing poetry.

ZFH: Why does self-publishing appeal to you?

DL: You can do what you want. You can pursue and tell the untold stories—the stores that the mainstream media ignores.

ZFH: What is the concept behind your zine/zines

DL: Sugar & Rice is an independent publication that is telling the stories of Texas and the Gulf Coast through the lens of food. We believe that Texas and the Gulf have vibrant cultures whose stories often go untold—stories we are dedicated to telling well.

ZFH: How long have you been creating zines?

DL: We’ve been working on this venture for about a year and half.

ZFH: What is/are your favorite place(s) in Houston?

DL: There are so many. Here’s a random, but not all-inclusive list, of favorites:

The neighborhoods and buildings around the Houston Ship Channel where it is inside the Loop
Urban Harvest East Side Farmers market
Pollos Asados La Sillas food truck (really a bright yellow school bus) at 1416 Broadway
Little India (the area around the intersection of Hillcroft and Harwin)
Brazos Book Store
The Art Car Museum
The Station Museum of Contemporary Art
Long Point Road from Gessner to Hempstead
Hong Kong Market on Bellaire Ave.
The trails at the Houston Arboretum
Antidote, Blacksmith, and Catalina
Alice’s Tall Texan, Bad News Bar, Poison Girl, D&T Drive-Inn
The now closed Blancos
Buffalo Bayou
Hello-Lucky
Arne’s
Alabama Community Garden
Revival Market
Kaboom Books
Airline Drive from Cavalcade to 610

And that’s just a start.

ZFH: FInally, what do you think the zine/self publishing scene in Houston will be like in 20 years?

DL: Magazines printed on paper collectively made from recycled cardboard sold at noodle stands lining Bellaire Avenue.

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A beautiful vision indeed! Thanks David! We look forward to seeing your stuff at fest this year.

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The event is live on Facebook.  And now we wait… :)

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ZFH 2014 Interview #3: Alex Gleason

For your Friday evening enjoyment, an interview with Alex Gleason, author of “Toddler Timothy’s Delicious Candy Apples,” a deceptively sweet title.

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ZFH: What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest?

AG: Toddler Timothy’s Delicious Candy Apples: a Halloween storybook about a trick-or-treater who meets a terrible fate.

ZFH: Why did you create Toddler Timothy’s Delicious Candy Apples?

AG: To instill fear in the hearts and minds of children.

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ZFH: What is the concept behind Toddler Timothy’s Delicious Candy Apples?

AG: It’s about tainted Halloween candy. After some research, I learned that no kid has ever gotten poisoned candy from a stranger’s house on Halloween. Yet, my mother used to inspect every piece of candy in my basket before letting me eat it. I’m poking fun at people’s irrational fears.

ZFH: How did you become interested in zines?

AG: I wanted to make a book to pass out to trick-or-treaters. Later I was told that my creation was a “zine”, and discovered that there are other people in Houston making their own books too.

ZFH: What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines?

AG: I make websites and write code.

ZFH: What is something that you’re looking forward to about the 2014 Zine Fest Houston?

AG: Seeing some cool artwork and meeting other people who make books.

ZFH: What is something you think people should know about DIY in Houston?

AG: H-Town is one of the few places that does this. Represent.

ZFH: Why do you like zines?

AG: They’re pure expression–no profit. Zines make the world a better place.

ZFH: Do you find an intersection between your coding work and your illustration work in terms of content or aesthetic layout? If so, what?

AG: Writing a program is kind of like building a machine, and it can break like one. If you’re smart, you’ll make it out of replaceable parts, so if one piece breaks you can deal with it. I’ve learned to write programs this way.

Adapting this to my digital illustrations gives me a lot of control. I separate my drawings into components, which can be moved, resized, and rotated freely without messing up anything behind them. For example, I’ll draw an entire backdrop, even the parts I know will be covered, so I can freely move my subjects over them. I’ll draw a detailed bald head before layering the hair on. But that’s just the start; I take it to the extreme, down to finger nails sometimes. It really helps to fine tune everything, make changes in the future, and allows me to re-use pieces of my drawings in other drawings.

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So! Look forward to a disturbing cautionary tale sure to scar your children! In the best way possible. Yay! Till next time!

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