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Lizzie Klein “This is a photo of my best friend, Scout, at a little park in Harlem that I shot on my Yashica T4 just after it started getting dark. I love flash photography lately and I love how blue the sky looks here. I took this photo when I was just starting to adjust to living in New York, it was really overwhelming and I also got pneumonia right away. When she visited it was really soothing because it helped me realized not as much changed in my life as it seemed. It’s almost like anti-growth within growth. It’s kind of hard to find places like this in a city where industrial and commercial growth trump nature. I love New York but I never realized how important pocket parks would become to me.” -Lizzie Klein

Lizzie Klein

of all my mom who takes super cool photos and my grandpa who makes really funny short films..they’re the ones who turned me on to photography!


What materials do you like to work with?


People!! And Film, Digital, Fabric, & Textures

What is your current location?

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on?


New York, NY

Los Angeles, CA

I’m working on three projects right now, one about normal eating habits, one about the destruction/transformation? of Santa Monica, and the third is about stigma/media portrayal around teenage sexuality.

What is your current occupation?

Is there any music you like to listen to while working?

Student at Parsons School of Design

I started out on my own and now I get lots of formal training at school!

I like to try to make my subjects comfortable but if they don’t have a preference I like really lame girly 80s music and The Jesus and Mary Chain, Roger Miller, Software Blonde, Funkadelic, Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers, Count Owen & His Calypsonians, Harumi, Eerie Glue, Natural Child, Violent Femmes, Tall Juan, Ferbus, Free Weed, XTC, T. Rex, Wyatt Blair, Frank Zappa, The Coasters, and Del Shannon

What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

Where do you like to work?

I love Cathie Opie, Yayoi Kusama, Lauren Greenfield, Nikki Lee, Larry Sultan, Rineke Dijkstra, Nan Goldin, Ren Hang, but most

When I’m in New York I pretty much just stay in my apartment and use backdrops but when I’m in Los Angeles I go all over.

Where are you from?

Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught?


What is one of your earliest memories of making art?

Where do you like to work?

I was three or four painting at an easel in my underwear at school by all these plants and vines. I liked the painting area the best because my preschool was right across the street from my apartment and I could always see my parents through the vines.

I want to make work that makes people (in and out of the photos) feel more comfortable with themselves because I think our society has made everyone so insecure and anxious and it’s not fair!

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Where To Find Them Websites: Contact: Social Media: @bratmitzvah (Instagram)



Meredith Wilson “The piece is called “Spectators,” after a bar in my hometown where the scene was. I took a picture of this guy’s shirt because I thought the design was cool. I liked that he was watching the band set up, because no one was really paying attention. As I was making the piece, I thought about how it connected with the theme “growth” - him watching the band, and me watching him. I think putting yourself out there as an artist, as the band was doing, is very brave - but observing and learning from other people is also brave. If I think about how I’ve grown in the last few years, a lot of it has been through humility: you can only grow if you admit you have space to, and some stuff to learn, I guess.” -Meredith Wilson Name Meredith Wilson Age 23 What is your current location? Columbia, Missouri Where are you from? Columbia, Missouri What is your current occupation? Coffee server + freelance(ish) illustrator(ish) Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? BFA in Communications Design from Pratt Institute, 2014 What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? Steve Martin, Howard Stern, Vincent van Gogh, JD Salinger, Judd Apatow, the movie “Groundhog Day”. A few other things. I’m moved by anything and anyone I consider to be honest and

forthcoming, and self-aware to some degree. I like complicated people and places and things, with contradictions and imperfections. I think funny and earnest is the best and hardest combination. What materials do you like to work with? Gouache, acrylic, watercolor, pencil, pastel, pen. I work on paper, but I’m trying to figure out how to work on something that stays flatter/more permanent/formal. Working on it. What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I’m doing some larger paintings now. I’ve been into the look and feel and culture of mid-Missouri, where I recently moved back to after living in New York for a few years. So I’m working on some pieces, including this one, which are inspired by my town. Also working on an EXCITING and ANTICIPATED thing for my dear friend Frankie Cosmos, that everyone will see soon. Is there any music you like to listen to while working? FRANKIE C. And recently George Harrison, Neil Young, the Byrds, the Eagles. And the “Reality Bites” soundtrack. When I really get into it - best of Billy Joel. Where do you like to work? I had a great studio set up in my apartment in Queens, and it’s


still my favorite place I’ve ever worked. I also liked working at Pratt in a classroom/group studio setting. I just started renting an office space in Missouri - it’s about the size of a closet with no window and I think it’s just insane enough to be a new favorite! What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I remember watching my dad draw a star without doing the crisscross line thing - he just drew the outline freehand. I was prob-

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Where To Find Them Websites: Contact: Social Media: @merwils (Instagram)


ably five. I was so jealous and frustrated and I spent days trying to do it. I finally got it down. What do you hope to accomplish with your work? want to get better at the technical crafty part - I feel (bitterly) like craft is sort of under-appreciated in art today. But I also want to be honest with it and get at something “human” or whatever. I guess be sincere.


G. W. Duncanson “This untitled two paneled piece by G. W. Duncanson was made as a one-off and not part of a larger work of sequential art. The cartoon figure’s gesture in the bottom panel perhaps beseeches the recreant to take stock of unalloyed truth. The aeriform figure at the top represents acceptance and enlightenment. Suffering is God’s instrument for growth. We know so many things but we don’t know ourselves.” -G. W. Duncanson Name G. W. Duncanson Age 38 What is your current location? 35,000 feet above Colorado. I’m on an airplane. Where are you from? Little Italy in the Bronx What is your current occupation? Artist Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I have no formal education or training in art. I wouldn’t say I was self-taught because there have been so many people I’ve learned from over the last three years. I have only started making regularly fairly recently. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? Science and linguistics books have given me the most inspiration - the most in general. One of my favourites is The Evolution of Lateral Asymmetries, Language, Tool Use, and Intellect by

John Bradshaw and Lesley Rogers. I will never stop being inspired by the films of Hal Hartley, the Kuchar Brothers, Yasujirō Ozu, Wim Wenders, Errol Morris, Stanley Kubrick, Frank Capra, Jem Cohen, and Pauly Shore. What materials do you like to work with? I mostly use pencils, water soluble paint products, pens, inks, and various papers. Most of all i like anything that proves challenging because that is usually a prerequisite of learning, finding solutions as well as unconventional workarounds. Overall, I value ideas and communication over technique and materials. What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? Currently I’m working on a long-form comic for a publisher in the United States. I’m working on a six page piece for a Latvian publisher. I’m also working on another for a publisher in the United Kingdom. Is there any music you like to listen to while working? Sometimes I will listen to music while working. Sometimes I will put on documentary films. Both of these can be source material as I often work spontaneously, very quickly, and without preconception. I will take directly from my current environment and incorporate bits of the moment into the work and build off of that. Other times the work is more planned. I like music from Mali, Ethiopia - Java and Bali - the jazz of Alice Coltrane and Sonny Sharrock - Composers like Ramon Zupko - Igor Wakhévitch Morton Garson - Rhys Chatham and Harry Partch. Tying much of this music together is the fact it’s mostly outside of 12TET


tuning. I think that helps transport my mind outside of culturally imposed ideas of beauty and get at something more universal. Where do you like to work? I started out working on the floor and now I work at a desk. I recently put a good chair at the desk and it’s a night and day difference. I should have done that sooner. I don’t really have a wide range of experience with different work environments to make any decent comparisons. I like using a mixture of light. I have two lamps one is about 3200K and the other is more blue at about 5500K. I like the option for having it very quiet because sometimes certain work requires that.

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What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I made a book about the first time I went in a jacuzzi. I really liked the hot water and the bubbles so i decided to immortalize the experience in a hand-made book I made for my mother. What do you hope to accomplish with your work? Consistently create encore experiences that enrich lives one person at a time. It is my vision to synergistically synthesize emerging intellectual capital to stay competitive in tomorrow’s fascist utopia.


Hunter Schafer “My thought process for this piece surrounded the idea that I’m always growing with my identity. But in order for some of that growing to happen, I have to unlearn standards and false ideas that i’ve either been taught or picked up as i’ve moved throughout my life. With the decay of these learned concepts I can be more in touch with who I am, which essentially makes me a happier person and more open to being nurtured by what my environment has to offer me.” -Hunter Schafer Name Hunter Schafer Age 17 What is your current location? Currently in my dad’s car on the way to my school, UNCSA! We start our second semester tomorrow :( Where are you from? I was born in New Jersey, but live in Raleigh, NC with my family when I’m not at school. What is your current occupation? I’m an illustrator/photographer for Rookie Magazine and do some freelance photography, illustration, and modeling as well. I also attend the North Carolina School of the Arts if that counts as an occupation! Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? > I definitely started off teaching myself, or not really teaching, but more like practicing. It didn’t feel like work though, it was purely for fun and my own satisfaction, I kind of just drew on all my schoolwork and whatnot. I modeled a lot of my drawings

after my favorite comic book characters. I was obsessed with the Teen Titans! That’s kind of where my familiarity with anatomy and the human form originated from. As I got better, I enrolled in local art classes here and there, as well as electives in middle school/early high school. Now I’m at UNCSA which would probably be considered a more formal education! However it’s a lot of technical work, so it’s important that I make time for my own independent projects. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? Some of my idol-figures include Tavi Gevinson, Laverne Cox, Tim Burton, David Bowie, and Karl Lagerfeld. They’re all artists of some form most of whom I’ve looked up to for years now and are constantly a source of inspiration not only for my artistic endeavors but also for just being a human/extra terrestrial. It’s been a while since I read a book or novel for pleasure, but I’m all over magazines. i-D is one of my very favorites, I can drool over an issue of i-D for hours. It’s focus on innovation and progressive thinking in combination with their high fashion aesthetic is right down my alley. The Rookie yearbooks are also a dream, of course. As far as films go, any Wes Anderson movie will put me in a mood for making shit. I often find myself being completely lost in the plot of the movie because I’ve been so avidly paying attention to scene compositions and color combinations. Same thing goes for A Tim Burton animation or the Stanley Kubrick film, The Shining. What materials do you like to work with? I try to get my hands on whatever I can, but some of my most frequently used mediums are watercolor and ink. I collect papers,


business cards, wrappers, really anything that I find aesthetically pleasing and keep them all in a drawer, later to be ripped or cut up and pasted into a collage or multi-media piece that I’m working on at that point. The wider variety of materials I can put into one piece, the better. :) What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? Currently, I’m working on a comic for Rookie, very similar in concept to the piece I did for you guys actually! I’m also reconstructing some clothing for a photoshoot that I’ve been planning for Rookie, which has been quite fun! Dr.Martens was kind enough to lend me some shoes, they’re absolutely gorgeous. Yesterday I found a denim jacket that I’m hoping to deck out with patches, paint, rhinestones, buttons, and hopefully some embroidery tonight. Is there any music you like to listen to while working? Yes! I just picked up the new Beach House album which has been a dream to work to, for that mood I also like to listen to FKA Twigs, the 8tracks Rookie playlist: Take it Easy, and Grimes. For a more upbeat work night I love to put on Ana Tijoux, Ghostt Bllonde, David Bowie, Shamir, or The Talking Heads! Where do you like to work? Most of my work is done alone in my room in the middle of the

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Where To Find Them Websites: Contact: Social Media: @hunterschafer (Instagram)


night. I feel like there’s nothing to really distract me then, and I can fully immerse myself in what I’m doing. If I am working during the day, you can probably find me at Camino, my favorite cafe in Winston-Salem. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? Definitely drawing scribbly mermaids after watching the Little Mermaid disney movie and cutting the drawings out so that I could play with them. I was a homemade paper-doll fanatic at the time. It was the whole idea of bringing these thoughts, ideas, and images in my head to life that brought me immense satisfaction. That particular drive has been there forever. What do you hope to accomplish with your work? This is tough because a lot of my creations are rather compulsive, particularly my sketching which makes up a large portion of my body of work. I suppose one of my goals is to feed the sort of hunger that I have to create, that’s what makes me happy. I also want to incorporate more of my background in activism into my work in the future. As a young transgender/gender non-conforming person I feel like I have a lot of potential to help advocate for my community since it’s only just beginning to become a hot topic. My experiences and feelings surrounding gender identity tend to come through in my art frequently, so raising trans-awareness/ visibility through that is a plus!


Annika White “Growth is defined by so many things, and growing doesn’t necessarily mean that something else is over — just that something new has begun and that can be good or bad. But it’s probably both if you really think hard enough about it. And sure, maybe things have changed, but I think we’ve just grown.” -Annika White Name Annika White Age 19 What is your current location? Brooklyn, New York Where are you from? Santa Rosa, Aalifornia What is your current occupation? Student. Sometimes freelance photography, sometimes freelance modeling. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? My pop has always been really into photography so I naturally learned a lot about it growing up as we would frequently go out on weekends to explore new places to take photos and he was super supportive and would provide me with cameras and film and everything. I was also a part of a really wonderful arts program at my high school in California that had a darkroom photography class. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

I’m inspired mostly by my interactions with other people— however brief or long— and the process of getting to know someone and being close (or closer) to them and seeing the sides of others that not all may get to see. also colors. color is very important to me and I like to watch films with consistent color schemes and films that express a lot of vulnerability and openness. What materials do you like to work with? I shoot with film so I mostly utilize color film and my Minolta. I also like to experiment with film gels and different kinds of lighting. What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I’m currently just taking pictures of people I’ve know forever in my hometown while I visit for the break and trying to put together a decent set of photos to (finally) update my website with. Is there any music you like to listen to while working? definitely listen to music while I work, but the music I listen to changes a lot ~ I’ve been listening to a lot of Wand recently. Where do you like to work? In other people’s apartments or living spaces, in my own apartment, sometimes outside when I can find nice nature. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? Probably stumbling around my first house in Santa Rosa when I was four or five trying desperately to take blurry polaroid


portraits of either my calico cat or my fluffy persian cat or maybe even both on a good day.

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Where To Find Them Websites: Contact: Social Media: @annikawhite (Instagram)


What do you hope to accomplish with your work? The mixed sense of happiness and despair that ultimately follows progression and growth.happy.


Élise Rigollet “The piece I submitted is a black and white collage that I then printed in Riso. It features a plant growing in a pot. It is quite simple but this illustration is special to me, as it was one of the last projects I made in New York. As I was printing the colors -- this is super cheesy -- I kept thinking about how much I’ve grown here.” -Élise Rigollet Name

What materials do you like to work with?

Élise Rigollet

I love working with manual techniques, like silkscreen and litho, and recently I’ve been obssessed with the Risograph. The textures are always more interesting than with digital printing.

Age 22 What is your current location?

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on?

New York, NY

I’m currently (painfully) writing my thesis, so this takes up most of my time. But I try to keep making zines for fun!

Where are you from?

Is there any music you like to listen to while working?

I was born in La Rochelle, a small town on the Atlantic coast of France, but I’ve been living in Paris for 5 years.

Lately I’ve been listening a lot to The Pirouettes, Movement and Mount Kimbie.

What is your current occupation?

Where do you like to work?

I’m currently studying Printmaking at Parsons, New York, for one semester.

I usually have a really hard time working from home, I get easily distracted. I like going to coffee shops and being surrounded by people, it’s a form of pressure and it keeps me productive.

Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I am studying graphic design at Ensad, Paris, and graduating next year. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I remember making clay sculptures when I was little. I had this desk in sky blue formica that was super cool. I couldn’t wait to paint them, so I usually ended up with crappy half-dried pots with stripy paint patterns.

I really admire Karel Martens, Paul Cox, Ed Rusha, Matisse, and Jordy van den Nieuwendijk. I also love the illustration work of Clay Hickson, Alexis Beauclair. Sigrid Calon’s Riso prints are amazing...


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Where To Find Them Websites: Contact: Social Media: @elyzerr (Instagram)



Clark Jackson “I spent a lot of time juggling different interpretations of the theme ‘Growth.’ At first in my mind there was the theme of growth and development as a person, but I’m at a point in young adulthood where even though I am learning how to live independently as an adult, I still feel just like a boy. Then I thought about tumors, or living growths that have little faces and depend on their host, or deformed conjoined twins like in the movie ‘Basket Case.’ I thought about plants and I thought about giants. There are pages and pages of all of these ideas drawn out in my sketchbook. Eventually I landed on the idea of lineage, resulting with this piece, ‘Next of Kin.’ I wanted to incorporate an impression of old royalty portraiture. Though it’s not blatant, this piece also refers to classic images of the Madonna and Child. Basically I’d been drawing these creatures (perhaps some sort of troll or ogre?) and thought it’d be fun to draw one as a baby. I drew the piece with multiple layers of pen and pencil, with digital coloring in Photoshop.” -Clark Jackson Name Clark Jackson Age 23 What is your current location? Portland, OR Where are you from? Boston, MA What is your current occupation? Currently I’m a Donut Boy at a local high-end donut shop. In my spare time, I’m always continuing to make art and working as a freelance illustrator, trying to one day get to the point of supporting myself. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I spent 4 ½ years at the Art Institute of Boston (now the Lesley

University College of Art and Design) and got my BFA in Illustration with a minor in Fine Arts. Before that I was always drawn to art and drew cartoons all throughout childhood and my teen years. I’ve always wanted to pursue art professionally, but art school really put my life into perspective. College was really, really difficult at times and that’s why it was worth it. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? I have an always-expanding collection of comics and art books which I try to spark inspiration from all the time. I love newer alt-comix and I love early underground comics and I love midcentury horror comics. I’m always finding new work to get inspired by, but some of my all-time favorite creators are Gary Panter, Jim Henson, Moebius, Saul Steinberg, William Steig, Bill Watterson and Mike Mignola. I absorb bits and pieces from everything I love, introduce my own sensibilities, and attempt to combine it all in it’s own unique aesthetic. I’m also very inspired by horror/sci-fi movies with traditional effects, as well as animation and puppetry. What materials do you like to work with? I’ve mostly been using black pen on paper and digital coloring for finished pieces, but I’m trying to expand my horizons. I found that I’m not experimenting as much as I did when I was a student so I’m always reminding myself to experiment more and try


new materials.

pop like The Nerves and Richard Hell.

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on?

Where do you like to work?

I have the bones of a new horror comic “Cute Boys Eating Blood,” but I’m having trouble focusing on it. I know it’s a great and ambitious project that people are going to want to read, I just need to resolve some missing pieces in the script before I start drawing it. Writing is the hardest part for me. It’s sort of on the backburner while I try to experiment more and build my portfolio.

My current studio is in my apartment and sometimes I have trouble really focusing on my work when I’m at home, because I have the internet and a refrigerator among other distractions. However I also have all my great comics and books and zines as well as my digital workspace, so working at home has its benefits. I’m young, just trying to find balance and self-discipline in my life.

Is there any music you like to listen to while working?

What do you hope to accomplish with your work?

I listen to a lot of modern underground rock & roll, mostly. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of garage rock like The Gories and Oblivians. Yesterday and today I’m getting back into early power-

I just hope to make work that is fun, unique and beautiful. My dream is just to be successful enough to support myself on my work alone and if I’m lucky, that my work might inspire others.

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Where To Find Them Website: Contact: Social Media: @clarkjacksonart (Instagram)



Adam Parker “I drew this image dozens of times in different sketchbooks, changing little things. I drew the final version on printer paper with rapidograph. I made an effort to display a sort of innocent selfishness. ” -Adam Parker Name Adam Parker

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on?


I am currently working on a five page piece for a little zine, I am also trying to do as much fun work for friends as I can.


Is there any music you like to listen to while working?

What is your current location? Queens

I try not to listen to music when i work, but when i do its usually math rock inspired, bands like Battles, The Bullet Proof Tiger, Toe (etc…).

Where are you from?

Where do you like to work?

Long Island

There is a tiny room in my apartment that I converted into a tiny studio. I work there all of the time.

What is your current occupation? I am currently attending the School of Visual Arts and working as a freelance graphic artist. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? My answer to this question changes every day, as I’m sure is the case with most people. My earlier influences are Geoff Mcfettrige, Charles Burns, Roy Lichtenstein. and today I just started looking at a tattoo artist named “EternoTattoo Nomad”. Very nice clean tattoo guy. What materials do you like to work with?

What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I remember making little folded up books with crayon in pre school. I remember making a book about how I was a samurai who lived in a volcano. In the book i was trying to avenge my parents murder. a parent teacher conference followed its publication. What do you hope to accomplish with your work? At this point I am not very sure. I’m just trying to make nice things that convey observations about human interactions.

I do mostly rapidograph or marker on paper. Sometimes paints and brushes but not a lot.


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Where To Find Them Websites: Contact: Social Media: @adamparkerwastaken (Instagram)



Ivonna Buenrostro Name

Is there any music you like to listen to while working?

Ivonna Buenrostro

I listen to anything that will set me in the mood of what I want the drawing to look like.

Age 26 What is your current location? México Where are you from? México What is your current occupation?

Where do you like to work? I work in my room with a limited and messy space What is one of your earliest memories of making art? my character in highschool was a girl with bunny ears. What do you hope to accomplish with your work? That it makes me feel better and hopefully others too.

illustrator Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I studied graphic design What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? i like animals a lot, i think they inspire me the most right now because they do the most unexpected just by being. What materials do you like to work with? pencils, acrylics, wood. What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I’m working on personal commissions for people that have contacted me through internet. I’m also planning to make a series of drawings parting from a quote i saw as a sticker on a bus: “A pesar de todo que linda eres”


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Where To Find Them Websites: Contact: Social Media: (Facebook)



Camille de Cussac Name


Camille de Cussac

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on?



I made an illustrators collective with some friends called JAUNE COCHON. There are 8 of us and it’s a lot of work to organize collective projects but still a lot of fun. I’m also in a duo with my friend Chap, together we are forming the kitsch ROBERT BEVERY HILLS, we are doing handmade collage, embroideries, resin object … with a lot of glitter and strass.

Where are you from?

Is there any music you like to listen to while working?


When I’m working, I like to listen to the radio. My favourite is Radio Nova, very good music from all over the world.

23 What is your current location?

What is your current occupation? I am working on a children book, called « Le Petit Chaperon Belge » = The Little Belgian Riding Hood. It’s an adaptation of the Little Red Riding Hood of Perrault, but transposed in the Belgium of today. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I’m studying illustration in Paris, at the school Ecole de Conde. I am finishing my master degree.

Where do you like to work? I’m working in a studio with my collective JAUNE COCHON, in the 13e district in Paris, called « La Butte aux Cailles ». You can find us on our website : What do you hope to accomplish with your work? I would like to make people laugh with my illustrations.

What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? I’m a big fan of French and Belgian funny movies like : Les Visiteurs, Dikkenek, La Merditude des Choses, Le P’tit Quinquin … I really like characters that leave a bad taste in your mouth, with an unusual look, an intriguing look. But what inspires me the most are photographs, I always work from them. I find almost everything on Tumblr : old family pictures, vintage portraits … What materials do you like to work with? I like to work with colors. I’m using kids felt pens, Posca, and a


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Where To Find Them Websites: Contact: Social Media: @camille_de_cussac (Instagram)



Irina Skornyakova “‘Terrain’ is a watercolor drawing I made when exploring some ideas for an installation. The installation focused on a synthetic machined environment, simulating a natural terrain. A space that could be variable, expandable and rearrangeable. I liked the idea of using rock forms and crystalline shapes together, something heavy and something light. Similarly I wanted to pair the colors, like that of refracted light, next to the rigidity of a grid. I am always looking for a system and a language of shapes and forms that can keep growing and evolving in new environments.” -Irina Skornyakova Name

What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

Irina Skornyakova

Recently I’ve been on a big kick of authors from Japan. I lived in a tiny town called Tsukuba when I was 10 and the cultural experience had one of the biggest influences on my palette and visual sense. I love diving back into anything relating to Japan. I just finished reading “The Sound of the Mountain” by Yasunari Kawabata and “Masks” by Fumiko Enchi. About to start rereading “Confessions of a Mask” by Yukio Mishima.

Age 29 What is your current location? Portland, MAINE Where are you from? I was born in Moscow, Russia, but have moved around a lot since I was 10, finally settling in Maine for the time being. What is your current occupation? Designer, working on creating custom art for surface imaging applications (i.e. custom wall covering). Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I hold a BFA in Printmaking from MassArt. More recently my knowledge has grown most in the digital realm. I work at a large format printing facility, having new technology around me lets me produce work methodically while letting my mind wander around more intuitively and freely.

I’m obsessed with flavors, smells and textures, both natural and synthetic. I find a lot of inspiration from how our brains work, making complex associations and experiences with something so simple. When I was younger, the films of Tarkovsky had a huge impact on me. Reading Allan Kaprow’s “Happenings” and discovering Michael Heizer’s land art on google maps by accident was a big “wow” moment. And then… I love all the awesome and weird you things I find on the internet late at night. ;-) What materials do you like to work with? I love plants, machines and ink/watercolors, but most of all I like daydreaming. What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I have an ongoing collaborative project “Erasedbyus” with artist and writer Meg Willing. We send each other a piece of art, and


a writing and give it new life (

What is one of your earliest memories of making art?

My first solo show is also coming up, (at BUOY gallery in Kittery, ME May - June 2016) and I’m working away at a whole new body of work. I’ve been working with a scanner and plant matter, and will use this show to take my recent findings to the next level. Mysteries will unfold…

This isn’t the earliest, but I always loved stories and being outdoors. I remember my grandmother reading me a story about an ant that goes out to do its daily foraging and has a very hard time returning home. The world seemed so huge compared to the little ant, so the following day, I remember spending the entirety of my time making a huge watercolor of the ant (drawn very small) surrounded by giant leaves and strawberries, as if it were in a tall forest.

Is there any music you like to listen to while working? I love music, but I find that I get too distracted in finding new things and picking something out, so I prefer to listen to white noise when I work. I make a mix of rainfall and birds (such a hippie), which also helps to feel like I get some outside time, especially in the winter.

Previous Work

Where To Find Them Websites: Contact: Blog:


What do you hope to accomplish with your work? I hope to make discoveries about myself and create personal challenges. By sharing my work with others, I hope to find other people who will want to contribute to a dialogue about creativity and perception.




Emily Yacina’s writing and recordings come from a very special level of vulnerability that a lot

of artists struggle to archive with their work. At first I knew Emily as a friend of a friend through studying at The New School together. But after discovering her 2015 EP, Pull Though, last summer and realizing she was the female vocalist on an array of Alex G tracks, I couldn’t believe I had gone so long without getting to know her! Since finding out about the Philly DIY scene, and learning how easy it could be to record on her own from her bedroom, music has been a pleasurable focus in Emily’s life. She has consistently released music on her bandcamp for the past five years, her most recent EP, Soft Stuff, being her most ambitious and well constructed release to date! The wonderful thing about Emily’s music is how much its primary intent is to satisfy her own desire to create and articulate her feelings, with out any need for an audience or following. That level of intimacy with her own work and the joy she gets out of making it is what led her to conceive it in the first place, and luckily through the encouragement of her close friends and peers, the rest of the world gets to enjoy it as well!

Where are you from and where do you live currently? I’m from a small suburb right outside of Philadelphia called Havertown, and now I live in Bushwick in Brooklyn. Are you formally trained at all in music, or are you primarily self taught? I took guitar lessons. I started when I was in third grade, and I took them all throughout middle school, but then I stopped. I was also involved in the choir in high school and middle school, which I really liked. Did taking guitar lessons and learning how to play music lead you to start making your own music? I don’t really remember writing my own songs too much, when I started learning how to play guitar. I definitely liked looking up chords to other songs. I actually found this note book in my parents house a couple years ago, and it was written by me when I was little, and it was just a bunch of really weird songs that I had made. They’re so so funny and really really simple. I remember in one of them the lyrics were “And why are the colors of liberty red, white, and blue?” haha. I guess when I was little, I just really wanted to know. Where you interested in any other types of art at the time? I was really interested in fine art too. I really love painting. My sister is an artist — she goes to University of Delaware and does graphic design. I would use a lot of her art tools when I was younger, but I never took it as seriously as music. I just did it for fun. It felt natural, but it didn’t feel as natural as recording.


When did you start writing and recording your own music? I started writing and recording when I was in 9th grade when I first got into high school. I didn’t realize that you could record so easily until I found out about Garageband. I took a break from playing guitar for like a year between middle school and high school, so when I started recording I wasn’t too good, so what I would do was I would layer. I would record a track with a really simple melody, and then put another track on top of it. It was cool to hear something that, to me, sounded really intricate, when really my guitar playing wasn’t so good. Just coming up with my own stuff, even if it was really simple, felt gratifying. What made you decide to turn that really private act of recording in your bedroom into making it public by releasing it on the internet? I still have the first album I made in 2011 (Flood) on my bandcamp. For all of those songs that I made, I first sent them to a couple really close friends, and through their encouragement I decide to put them online, not really expecting anything from it. I thought it was just the next step I guess. Because of their encouragement I thought “Huh, maybe these are worth sharing.” Were there at lot of people at your school making music and releasing it? Was there a community of people doing that where you were? I went to this really stereotypical suburban high school in Havertown, and I don’t know what it was about it, but it was just a really magical place. I got into music and making my own stuff because I met Alex Giannascoli (Alex G) in my art class. He was in a band at the time called The Skin Cells, and the people who were interested in music would go to see them play at Temple (University). It was like a new world I had never really been exposed to or even thought of before, and I was like “Wow, this is amazing! This could maybe be an outlet that I could eventually express myself through too.” Also Alex was really influential with recording because before meeting him I didn’t realized that you could do everything on your own. I thought you needed a studio or like professional equipment — I didn’t realize you could just do it with the software on your computer. Besides shows that my friends in high school would go to, we also had a radio station called WHHS 99.9 FM. People who were involved in the radio station all had this shared experience of seeing bands that were happening at that time or sharing music that wasn’t more popular. That was really helpful for me. What was your first experience in the Philly DIY scene, and what impression did it leave on you? My first DIY show actually wasn’t in Philly, it was in Havertown at this church called St. Andrews. I think I went by myself. I was at a point where I was like kind of interested in finding something new to put myself into. So I found out about this show through Alex because he was telling me that his band, The Skin Cells, were playing at this church, St. Andrews, in the basement. I remember going and just being really really amazed. It was just the coolest thing. I don’t think explaining it will do it justice, but I really really loved it haha. Then I started going to the Philly shows after because The Skin Cells mostly played in Philly, and I went to see them. Also our friend Jake Lafferty who was in this band called Cape Of Bats had this project called ~ARMOR ASSULT~ which was this really intense punk music that never really resonated with me, but I loved to see it and be in that space.




What was your first experience playing a show? II had a friend named Abi Reimold who makes music — I don’t know if you know her but she makes the most beautiful music, she has such a great voice — and she actually went to our high school too but I missed her by a year or so. She was finishing high school when I was in middle school. I got to know her through Alex. I guess either Alex or one of our other friends showed her my really early recordings, and she was like “Wow, I really want to play music with you!” So my mom would drive me to Temple and I would hang out with her, and we would play each other songs. One of us would have the guitar and we would just harmonize. Because we both went through the same choir program at our high school, it was really easy for us to


be able to harmonize, and I still haven’t found a situation where it feels so good to sing with another person. After we hung out a couple times and we played each others songs — she was connected to other people setting up shows in the area — and she was like “Do you want to play this show at this place called Maggot House?” and I was like “Yes! I’m only in 10th grade!” haha. I was just so stoked that she thought it was worth sharing. I remember the night of, I was just so nervous I was like shitting my pants. She was a biker — she would ride her bike everywhere, and Philly has a really big biking community — and she had an extra bike so she was like “Hop on, we’re doing to go to the show!” I have this memory of me just being on this bike and seeing her with the guitar on her back and just freaking out being like “ Uh uh, what am I about to do?” I got there, and I think we were playing in the middle of the night in the living room. Maggot House isn’t around anymore, but it was like one of the best DIY spaces and the people living there were great. So we started out set, and I remember everyone was kind of drunk and they were talking, and immediately everyone was quiet. I was addicted right off the bat. I had never felt so powerful before, or so good about what I was doing creatively. I was hooked! Were most of the DIY shows happening in Philly run by people who were around your age? Were there any venues or were most of the shows house shows? No, I was always the youngest person there. I never really knew anyone else my age — but of course that changed once I got to be a junior or senior in high school. When I was first getting involved, when I was freshman before I was playing shows myself, I remember a lot of instances where people would be like “So, how old are you?” and I’d be like “Oh, I’m 14…” haha. For the most part people were very welcoming. It was mostly house shows. Philly is a really amazing place. You can have a pick of six different house shows to go to any night of the week — theres always things happening. Growing up in that environment, I definitely thought that was the norm. I thought that that was just what older people who weren’t into sports did. You’ve been consistently putting out music for about five years now! How have you approached releasing your music? Did you have different intentions or goals with each release? I never really thought of the albums thematically until after they were done. I never really approaching making an album like “This is going to be about this experience and this is going to have this theme through out the whole thing.” I think of the songs, especially with the earlier albums, as this continuos stream through my high school and teen age years. As I got older, and for this latest release, I’ve tried to think about it more thematically and I’ve tried to make it cohesive in that way. What was it like gradually watching people and bands within your scene starting to legitimize their music and start gaining more success outside of Philly? It was very overwhelming… it a very unique feeling. I think in Alex’s case, the change in high school was very gradual. There was a point where he would just hand out CDs. He eventually got a bandcamp, but before that he had a myspace page. I remember all of our friends were really into his music, but as soon as he go to Temple he was kind of more accepted. I remember his first big tour I was like “Whoa… It’s exiting this very small niche and now it’s getting into this larger audience.” It was wild. And that’s also happened with Abi and a couple other bands from Philadelphia, but not so much to the extent of Alex. Most of all it was just so exciting to see someone I care about so much thrive at what their best at. It’s amazing.


I feel like in a lot of different scenes depending on the age of the people who are starting bands, and wether or not people prioritize making a living off of their music really changes the type of motivation they have towards making music or gaining success. Did it feel like their was a certain attitude with bands and musicians in Philly around gaining success with their music? I think for the most part everyone just started out thinking “This is something that feels natural. I just want to do this because it feels good to play shows and to be in this community.” Then I think there was like this loop where as soon as certain artists where getting some attention people were like “Oh, well if this feels really great and I’m getting appreciated for it, I guess I should keep going.” It happened really naturally that way. I still think it’s all coming from a light hearted place, even though, with Alex as an example, this is his career now. He still does it becasue it’s who he is. Totally! I feel like that’s probably something that’s really reflective of a place like Philly where the vibe is so different from New York. It’s true! People don’t like come to Philly to succeed. People come to New York to hunker down and get into their career. But Philly definitely exploded as far as music. I guess no one was really talking about it, even though it was happening when I was a senior in High School. But as soon as I got to college and I moved to New York, I started reading about all of these things. I love New York and the scene here, but it’s so different and I didn’t realize it would be this different. It was really apparent how different it was once I started reading these articles about how Philly is leagues ahead — and it is! But, I don’t know. It’s just funny to see that idea expressed so articulately. What made you decide to move to New York for college, and what have you been studying here? I decided to move to New York because of The New School. I love The New School so much! I’m studying environmental studies there. When I was first applying to colleges, I was applying to a lot of schools that were kind of small liberal arts schools. I remember seeing them with my mom and there was one school — I forget what it was called, but it was in Rhode Island — and we were going on a college tour there, and I remember getting out of the car and being really freaked out becasue all of the buildings were the same color and all of the buildings were in a circle, and I was like “Noooooo” haha. I knew about The New School because these two girls who went to my high school went there. I didn’t know them personally, but I did know of them and I eventually got in touch with them and talked to them about it. I think it’s the best of both worlds becasue it’s a small community that’s like focused on social justice and things that I’m interested in, but it’s also in New York so you have different ways to spread out if it becomes too much. How do you feel New York has impacted the music you’ve made since living here? My first year in New York was definitely really hard. I didn’t like it that much. I think becasue of that, I found a lot of comfortable spaces in my relationships with people, and those relationships have absolutely impacted the work that I’ve done since moving here. As far as now goes, I think since I’m on better terms with the city, I’m not really sure how the city is influencing my work. But I know for sure that my relationships in the city have influenced my stuff in the past. The first year here was such a transition year and I was not anticipating it to be such a change. So I’ve definitely found a lot of comfort in people.



What differences did you observe between the scene in Philly and the scene in New York? What point did you start trying to play shows in New York? It’s definitely so different from Philly. I talked about it a bit before, but I just thought that everywhere was like Philly and that there were house shows any time you wanted. Then I got here, and there’s definitely a circuit of really amazing venues, but it’s not as vast as Philly is. I think becasue it’s just so much more expensive people don’t have the space to be able to have house shows. But if New York were less expensive, that would totally be a thing. I started playing as soon as I got a good response from the E.P. (Pull Through) and I was like “Oh, I guess this is the next step.” I had gone without playing for a while becasue once I stopped playing with Abi, my performance was me and an acoustic guitar. I just had a lot of insecurity about that, being a girl, which is fucked up but definitely something I thought about a lot, and prevented me from performing, which is really sad. But I ended up finding a guitarist who goes to The New School named Will (Sacks) who’s been really amazing and really good at taking direction. Thats helped me a lot becasue when I play it sounds more like the recordings and it’s less stripped down which has definitely added to my confidence. I like playing shows a lot. I didn’t use to, but I do now. How have you dealt with sexism like that or people condescending to you becasue of your age? Were those issues you faced a lot in Philly? I mean there have been sound guys for sure. It’s just like this different experience all together

I think. Sometimes I’ll feel weird about the type of music I make — for example, lately I’ve been really into The Julie Ruin, just listening to her album on repeat and thinking “Fuck, I really want to make like angry music.” But it’s just not as natural for me. Making these slow sweeping songs is just what I do, and that feels really right. There have definitely been cases where me singing these slow, often romantic songs, after being influenced by the world around me makes me think “Whoa, am I just another girl singing love songs with an acoustic guitar?” Especially when I was young, where I was unable to compartmentalize and say “Fuck that! I’m going to do what I do.” Growing up and playing songs live, it was definitely really confusing, and I’ve had a lot of condescending people. But I also received a lot of support.


What would you say to someone who felt discouraged from making art for similar reasons? I would just say “Just do it anyway! Like who cares?” Just keep on making art, even if people have made similar art. To say that there’s a genre that is a girl with an acoustic guitar, is so messed up. That’s so fucked! I was reading comments on this video where I sang the song “Bruise” for this music publication site called Portals when I was out in colorado for this showcase, and — I just shouldn’t read the comments anymore — but a lot of them where like “Her voice sounds like every other girl.” In doing that, they’re subtracting half of the population and trying to make that a genre, and that’s just fucked up. Yeah, I have a lot of thoughts about gender and how it comes into play being in the music world. What do you think keeps people from putting out their work? I think it’s just like a lack of confidence. I feel like, I don’t know, from my own experience, I needed other people to tell me that it was worth putting my stuff online, Just because I was so young and a girl, I was like “I don’t know if this is really worth putting out their. I don’t know if people will like it.” So it took a lot of encouragement, and now I’m at a point where I want to share what I make. I think putting out my work at this point it almost as important as making it. It’s apart of the process now. What was the process like making your new E.P. Soft Stuff ? It’s inspired by a lot of the same things that Pull Through was inspired by. I was fortunate enough to have a lot of time over the summer to work on it. I was living at my parents house in Havertown, and they are so so supportive. So for the month of July I was home and just waking up and recording. There’s a lot of recordings on my computer that I don’t like, and eventually it was time to come up with a concrete idea for a project. What we ended up doing, my manager Andi (Wilson) and I, was choosing the ones we thought were the best out of all of those songs. I definitely plan on going back and listening to them again and maybe altering them — that was also a new thing for me. I’m use to making a new song pretty quickly and just thinking “That’s it.” But Andi really challenged me to really go back and think about it and take things out — it doesn’t just have to be this spirt of energy, it can be this long term process. It was good, I definitely needed to do that. Sometime it’s not always a part of the plan, but when all of the little pieces come together it eventually sounds how I would want it to. Also the synthesizer has really helped me out a lot, haha. It’s been what I needed to explore more sounds What methods did you use to record it? Was it different at all from your previous albums? In the past I’ve only used my guitar, and I’ve played around with all of the affects on Garageband to make it sound like a different instrument. But this past christmas my parents got me this midi synth that I just use with the software. It came with a collection of different sounds in different folders, but you can also change each one and make your own. So that’s been really amazing. I really like how it sounds with the guitar stuff that I usually do. What contemporary artists have had a big impact on you and your work? Artists that have played a really big role… Frankie Cosmos has been really huge for me. I feel like whenever I read an interview of her’s I’m like “Oh, I feel a really similar way, making a bunch of stuff and just putting it out.” She’s been a really big influence. Alex has also been a big influence as well. Eskimeaux, has been huge. I remember when we were in high school Alex sent me one of her songs called “In Our Bed A Boat” — I don’t know if you know that one,



but it’s soooo amazing. I’ve been following that project for years. Abi is always influencing me. Girlpool’s music is something I love to listen to. It’s just really honest, and it’s really encouraging becasue it doesn’t have a lot of affects but it still stands so strong, which is something I need to be reminded of sometimes. Also Jessica Lea Mayfeild is really amazing. Her album, Make My Head Sing, is one of my favorites. What older artists have had a big impact on you and your work? Liz Phair has been really really big for me. Exile in Guyville is one of my favorite albums of all time. When I was in high school I was really obsessed with Modest Mouse and Elliot Smith. Those were artists that really formed my ways of thinking about emotion when it comes to music. How they were able to express emotion was really inspiring to me. Pavement, Built To Spill, bands like that. What makes you want to keep making work after all the stuff you’ve done so far? I feel like at this point it’s surpassed everything that I’ve imagined, and that’s really special and so encouraging. I think it is something that I do naturally — like I have to do it. But also, getting encouragement from people that I don’t know is really special. Getting messages from people saying “That song really resonated with me” or “That song helped me through this time” in a lot of ways makes it worth it. It’s really cool to have an impact that goes beyond my own life. It’s cheesy, but it’s true. Are there any projects that you would like to embark on that you just don’t have the time or money for at the moment? I want to learn how to play drums really badly. I want to have a drum set, and know how to play it really well, haha. But at this point, I don’t know how I would get a drum set or how I would get good at playing drums, but I think that would be amazing. I also really enjoy making videos too, and I wish I had more time to do that. It’s hard to balance everything with school. It’s really refreshing to not only make music but to find the same sort of creative comfort in other things that might not come so naturally, but are still very rewarding, like making videos or painting.





Ginette Lapalme’s work exudes such non-judgemental positivity, that it has the power to cuddle even the coldest viewer. I

first came across Ginette’s work after one of my best friends showed me one of her pieces, and I was immediately astounded having never seen anything quite like it. Ginette is masterful even with the most common or cheapest materials, and part of its charm comes out of her ability to truly transform what ever she is working with. Although most of Ginette’s work is often off the cuff and devoid of a narrative or setting, her art and creations benefit from their lack of context. Ginette’s work is so hypnotizing in the love and comfort it gives off that it pulls who ever is looking at it out of their current state, even if just for a moment. While I was conducting this interview, Ginette described her work as being therapeutic for her and explained that so much of the positivity comes from her trying to create something that would make her feel better when she’s feeling bummed out. Looking at her work in that way had never even occurred to me… But then after hearing that, I realized that her work was fulfilling exactly that function in my life as well, serving as a source of generous happiness when ever I’m feeling uncertain. Ginette makes hundreds of objects and pieces a month, and whether they’re used to brighten your mood or not, there’s certainly something of her’s out there of everyone.

Where are you from and where do you live currently? I’m originally from outside of Sudbury, ON (Chelmsford to be exact). I moved to Toronto to attend OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design) and I’ve been living downtown in this city for about a decade now. Are you formally trained in your field of art, or are you primarily self taught? I was always kind of taught and self-taught? My mom pushed us (my sister and I) to draw and make crafts, as did early catholic school and a lot of amazing Canadian

TV shows that aired at the time — Art Attack type shows. I remember being a little kid and feeling eager to wake up weekend mornings, just to make crafts by myself in the basement and watch cartoons. I definitely watched more toons than anything and I’m still kind of like that now, easily distracted !!! What was your experience like going to OCAD? OCAD was my reason for moving to Toronto, and getting out of my hometown was all I wanted by the end of high school, so OCAD felt very freeing! I had a lot of cool teachers and I met a lot of amazing people.

“I remember being a little kid and feeling eager to wake up weekend mornings, just to make crafts by myself in the basement and watch cartoons.”


“I’m pretty sure Patrick and Chris came up with the moniker of Wowee Zonk and made a few one off zines with the title. Then we just started using that word as the title of our first three-person anthology and we kept using it for 4 publications.” How did you meet Patrick Kyle and Chris Kuzma, and when did you guys start Wowee Zonk? I was in the same anatomy class as Patrick and Chris during our second year at OCAD but I didn’t meet them until after the anatomy exam was over (Patrick disagrees with this timeline, but this is my memory). We started sitting together in most of our other classes and we all liked each other’s drawings and we’d hang out and they both forced me to like beer. We discovered we collab-drew pretty well. I’m pretty sure Patrick and Chris came up with the moniker of Wowee Zonk and made a few one off zines with the title. Then we just started using that word as the title of our first three-person anthology and we kept using it for 4 publications. Now Wowee Zonk reappears to curate a fantastic room of comic art makers/small publishers at TCAF every year (since 2009). How have you guys approached curating the Wowee Zonk section at TCAF? How do you track down the artists for it? Curating the Wowee Zonk space has been pretty easy until just recently tbh! The first year we were given space

at TCAF, while it is being held at it’s current home of the Toronto Reference Library, we were awarded one of the library’s small conference rooms on the first floor. We were able to set up in a (approx) 7-8 foot squared space that has two blank walls and two glass walls. We approached the Wowee Zonk room that year as a one stop “shop”. We approached many of our zine making friends and had them drop off work with us, that we priced and had an inventory of. We decorated the room with a bunch of trash (literally I think they were all pieces of paper we scored from Coach House’s recycle and trash bins) and we played annoying music and that was it. TCAF organizers have been so so generous to us. Our presence at the fest has grown quite a lot since 2009 and it’s getting more stressful to organize only because so many people are interested at tabling in our space! It’s hard to fit all of the comic people we’ve befriended and been inspired by along the way... 2016 will be the most crammed yet ha ha so we’ll have to make some changes about that probably. Can you tell I’m excited for TCAF tho?


How would you describe the aesthetic of your work to someone who’s never seen your work before? Pink, butts, lumps, cats, dogs, bips, boops, sadness, hope. A lot of what you do is very impactful and endearing illustrations on really lo-fi materials! How do you choose what to work with for each piece, and what led you to the materials you tend to use? I hoard. I have a lot of craft bits and bobs, a lot of which I find hard to use sometimes, but that’s often how projects start for me. It’s seeing the raw material and getting this really heavy urge to make “a thing” with it. Also I’m not rich so I tend to find/buy free/cheap stuff. You’ve done so much incredible work as a fine artist as well! How do you approach the fine art that you do?

and the every day things I make. I suppose the only true difference between the commercial stuff I occasionally am hired to do and my fine art is that it’s paid for... and has specific deadlines and criteria... When was you solo show Fait Dodo Peanutte, and how did that show come together? Oof that show was really rushed! Fait Dodo Peanutte happened in the fall of 2013. Someone else’s show was pushed back and Magic Pony approached me to see if I had a body of work to show in their stead. I kind of did and kind of didn’t so I spent a month rushing and producing/finishing a lot of work; Figurines I’d been procrastinating, a large airbrush painting (my first! Ack!) paintings on handmade paper, airbrushed goodie bags full of jewelry and stuff etc. It was pretty wild... I wish I could have had more time to flesh it all out but for a rush show I think it went pretty well, considering!

To me there is not much separation between my “fine art”

“To me there is not much separation between my ‘fine art’ and the every day things I make.”


“All my works lately feel like they are about cheering up. That is what I am trying to do, actively, while making things.” When did you start selling your work online? Was there any sort of learning curve when you first started?

jewelry and printing and cutting stickers. I started using my shop a lot more and I kept going with it. I am very much still learning how to operate it!

I first opened my Etsy shop in 2008, but I didn’t really start working with it on the regular until 2011. At first it was just a place to sell a few leftover silkscreen prints I was making while still in school. In 2011 I started making

How do you feel the internet has impacted your work and your ability to do what you do?


Well, in high school I found DeviantArt from just search-

“I jumped from DeviantArt to LiveJournal, to Flickr to Threadless etc. So I always had this extra outlet for critiques and compliments (haha) from outside of ‘Academia’ ~ It helped me build a lot of confidence and helped hone my critiquing skills also.” ing for cool wallpapers for my computer and it all honestly started from there. I’d always been a kid who drew, and who was complimented for drawing well, but DeviantArt and just those types of internet communities, had me drawing even more and really wanting to share work with other like minded people. I jumped from DeviantArt to LiveJournal, to Flickr to Threadless etc. So I always had this extra outlet for critiques and compliments (haha) from outside of “Academia” ~ It helped me build a lot of confidence and helped hone my critiquing skills also. How did you start producing work on Threadless? Was that one of the first places people started buying your work? Haha yeah I was going to specify that when I first opened my etsy it was like 100% Threadless ppl who were buying my silkscreens prints. I think my boyfriend at the time told me about the website because we’d just met and he was like “Oh i like your drawings, you should try this.” So I became a little ob-

sessed with that website for a time. It took me so long to get printed though ha ha but I loved the web community and went to the states for the first time to meet up with a lot of the other artists and ppl who worked for the company in Chicago. I met so many cool people through Threadless. A lot of the pieces you create are one of a kind (shrinkydinks, pins, hand drawn patches), where as a lot of artists often try to use one illustration for as many things as possible. It’s really cool that you’re okay with doing custom, one-off things, and you don’t have to feel as precious about your drawings! Is it important to you to try to make as many things as possible, and feel as though your work can be flippant? Well I guess I always had this kind of fight in my head about how I always have to make new new new things and to repeat is to be lazy. But I have to fight against this really. The reason I make things that are... custom one offs but also ‘cheap’ and marketable is honestly to be able to make a ‘living’.


Are there any over all themes or perspectives you try to get across with your work? Is it ever difficult for you to figure out what you want to say within your work? II don’t really try to say anything. I just make what comes out. I guess they are what I want the world to be? All my works lately feel like they are about cheering up. That is what I am trying to do, actively, while making things. When I can do it that’s therapy really, visualized. I think it’d be really funny for people to know that even with the work I make, most of the time I feel like the most miserable person. I’m getting better though. How often do you try to incorporate some sort of narrative in your work? I don’t feel very good with writing. I have a lot of hangup insecurities about it so a lot of the comics I made have been wordless. For me it’s more about small motions and emotions with my narratives. So for the drawings that I do, I don’t have a narrative in mind when I’m starting, but things develop themselves when you’re drawing.

As someone whose never left North America, it honestly was the most perfect time to go to Tokyo. TCAF brought with them a huge roster of artists and Beguiling staff, as well as translators. Quite a few of my friends were going on the trip as well so it was honestly ideal. I still have to work on a diary for the trip for a certain website so I’m going to keep most of the tidbits to myself for now! But it was really grand and I can’t wait to go back. What contemporary artists have had an impact on your work? It hasn’t really been a typical artist who has inspired me most lately, but a tumblr curated by a teen with a most special eye ~~~ Jasmine at She’s really changed my colour palette.

Ha ha. Not very often! I am not super pro-active about commercial work, though I hope to push myself more with that in 2016.

In high school I spent a lot of time on Deviantart which is where I came across Donald Dixon’s work for the first time, whose work was really mysterious and illustrative with all these seemingly secret narratives. I was pretty obsessed with them. He used to delete his work a lot so I would save all these images and I had quite a few in a folder but lost it all over the years and he doesn’t really show his work online anymore but he still makes things and I still am inspired by him. Looking back I think Donald’s work really made me think about being an illustrator.

What was the process of putting together and publishing your book, Confetti, with Koyama press?

Are there any directions you want to take your work that you haven’t really explored that much so far?

The process was surprisingly easy and chill! After Annie approached me about compiling this book, I just went through this large body of work I had already catalogued on my computer, dumped it on a usb and brought it to Koyama Press’ office. I did most of the editing myself but under Annie and Ed’s watchful eyes ~~ It took less than a month to put together. There were a few items I had to re-scan or re-shoot but most of it was done for me already because up to that point I was always recording the things I made for sharing online or to sell in my shop.

Lots of directions! There are too many ways one could go or keep going; Ceramics, animation, toy/mould-making, mascot costumes. . .

How often do you do work for clients?

The hardest part really Was deciding on the cover! My initial idea for the front of the book was really lackluster and Annie was really honest with me on that so I completely reworked it and having redone the cover with sculpted material made me realize that’d be a great way to deal with the chapter ‘titles’ too. I kept things rather wordless. You recently took a trip to Japan as a part of a partnership with TCAF? How did that happen, and what was your trip like? I basically invited myself! TCAF was really generous in putting out an open call for whoever could fund the trip themselves to come and table with them for free at the Kai Gai Manga Fest and Design Festa. So that’s what I did!


Are there any projects that you’d like to embark on, that you just don’t have the time or money for at the moment? Ugh so much! I want to work BIG BIG BIG but it’s difficult without much money or much room. (I have a very minuscule studio). I am very jealous of the projects Misaki Kawaii creates! She’s a huge inspiration to me also. I also would like to work on longer cartoons some day.


by MATTHEW JAMES-WILSON, Cover illustration by KENDRA YEE

For someone who is very rarely photographed, Annie Koyama is a beacon in the contemporary comics community. It’s

truly unfortunate that it takes a near death experience to really show you all there is that you can do with your life. But after having an experience like that and reflecting on what it is she cherished the most, Annie set out to support the work she believed in and the artists creating it. Since Koyama Press was initially launched (by accident) in 2007 with the release of Trio Magnus: Equally Superior, Annie has curated and released some of the most striking and innovate art books and alt comics from the past eight or so years. Koyama Press as a publisher has been so important in my life for directing me to some of my favorite cartoonists and illustrators, a few of which have been included in previous issues of FORGE. such as Jane Mai, Alex Schubert, Michael DeForge, and Patrick Kyle. Koyama Press is a unique example of someone pouring so much of themselves into what would hopefully benefit everyone else, and the care and passion that comes from a project that is run that way, is partially the reason why Koyama Press stands out so much among other contemporary publishers. Annie belongs in comic sainthood, and her warmth and generosity is unforgettable for anyone who has the pleasure of meeting or working with her.

Where are you from, and where do you live currently? I’m a born and bred Torontonian. I still live here. Prior to starting Koyama Press you were working in film, right? What film work were you doing, and what made you decide to move away from that industry? Yes, I was a film producer. I started at the National Film Board of Canada, did independent documentaries, then feature films for a short time and ended up in advertising, making commercials and then running the day-to-day

operations of the largest production company in North America. I left to travel but that plan fell through due to poor health. How did you get interested in independent comics? I read comics as a kid but became interested again once I had started publishing books like Trio Magnus: Equally Superior and the mini comic A Very Kraftwerk Summer by Chris Hutsul. Going to my local comic shop, The Beguiling was pretty overwhelming at first.

“One of the first artists I met was Clayton Hanmer and he introduced me to Steve Wilson and Aaron Leighton. Together they form the collective Trio Magnus. I published their book and we needed the company to have a name so that’s how Koyama Press was quickly formed.”


How did Koyama Press first start? Accidentally! When I was ill for a long time I used my savings to play the stock market and grew that money. Then I looked for local artists to help by funding projects with them. They had to have a product to sell and they could keep the proceeds. Hopefully it gave them some visibility or let them do something outside of their commercial work. One of the first artists I met was Clayton Hanmer and he introduced me to Steve Wilson and Aaron Leighton. Together they form the collective Trio Magnus. I published their book and we needed the company to have a name so that’s how Koyama Press was quickly formed. Do you feel like the urgency and scariness of your sudden illness caused you to really want to invest yourself in a project that was meaningful to you after you got better? Absolutely! It’s too bad that it sometimes takes a health crisis to make you realize what is important.

Did you have a specific goal with starting Koyama Press? Has that changed at all over the past 8 or so years you’ve been publishing books? I did. Even though I knew nothing about publishing, I still wanted to make more books with local, emerging artists. To this day, it’s still the main focus of the press but I’ve worked with more established artists like Julia Wertz, Maurice Vellekoop and Renee French as well. Why was it important for you to focus on local and emerging artists? Some arts funding was drying up when I started doing projects with artists and initially I was happy finding Canadians to publish but once I saw Jon Vermilyea’s work and contacted him, it was a natural progression to find other U.S. artists. It’s hard to make a living anywhere as an artist and if I could bring an emerging artist’s work to a wider audience, then why not?

“When I was ill for a long time I used my savings to play the stock market and grew that money. Then I looked for local artists to help by funding projects with them. They had to have a product to sell and they could keep the proceeds.”


From Drinking at the Movies by Julia Wertz

“Ed had already been working with me on a part-time basis but now covers production and marketing duties. In a small company, everyone pitches in so there’s overlap in what we all cover.” Were there any other publishers you took inspiration from, as you were formalizing Koyama Press?

duced to other artists via the people I was already publishing.

I liked a lot of the books from Buenaventura Press, as well as lots of great zines that I discovered at TCAF (Toronto Comic Arts Festival).

How did you first meet Michael DeForge?

Who is on the current staff of Koyama Press, and how has it changed since you decided to start the press? Ed Kanerva works with me and Helen Koyama works parttime as well. Once I signed on with our distributor, Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, it was too much work to do alone. Ed had already been working with me on a part-time basis but now covers production and marketing duties. In a small company, everyone pitches in so there’s overlap in what we all cover. How have you gone about finding artists to work with? I found a lot of interesting work online and was also intro-

I saw his gig posters online in late 2007 and then recognized him when he walked by my table at TCAF in 2008. We started working together shortly afterwards. How did you meet Patrick Kyle, Ginette Lapalme, and Chris Kuzma of Wowee Zonk, and when did you start working with them? I saw their work at zine fairs when they were self-publishing Wowee Zonk and decided to work with them on that series in 2008. Then I published their book Pobody’s Nurfect in 2010. I went on to work with Patrick on Distance Mover and his new book Don’t Come In Here due out in the spring. I published Ginette’s book Confetti this year and Chris is working on a kid’s comic for KP as well.


Wall installation at the Koyama Press office by Jesse Harris

You seem to really care about the individual artists you work with and giving them a platform to put out the work they want to make. Do you try to make an effort to have a relationship with everyone you publish? I do care for them. Art is such a personal thing and we’re not making widgets here, so they trust me to take their personal vision and help them turn it into a good book. I certainly have become friends with most of the people whose work I publish. That’s a nice perk of the business.

You’ve said in the past that the way you’ve been able to finance Koyama Press is largely from building up a nest egg by investing over the period of time you were working in film. Do you think the financial situation you were able to start Koyama Press in has allowed you to be able to take risks on putting out work that you believe in, that might not have the chance to be as commercially successful? Yes, absolutely. For the first six years, I gave the proceeds from the books to the artists, so KP really operated as an unofficial nonprofit company. When my initial funds

“ I still take risks on books that I would like to see out in the world, even if I know from the outset that they may not sell a ton of copies.”


“For the first six years, I gave the proceeds from the books to the artists, so Koyama Press really operated as an unofficial nonprofit company.”

ran out and when I secured a distributor, I had to begin working more traditionally.

However, I still take risks on books that I would like to see out in the world, even if I know from the outset that they may not sell a ton of copies. The spirit of Koyama Press and the work you put out is so refreshing, and is really unparalleled by most comic publishers from the past 10 or 20 years! How do you go about curating such a cohesive collection of books when you’re working with such a wide range of authors and artists? I wish I could say that there was a formula but it’s simply work that I like and in some cases, stories that are pretty unique. I like to cross lines, so that I hope that I can continue to publish some art books and zines in addition to the comics that I like How has living and working in Toronto affected you as a publisher? What do you think has made the Toronto comics and zine community so significant in the past few years? Well, I mostly love my hometown and am proud to rep Toronto, but, with the Internet, you can work with artists

from all over the world. I prefer to meet the artists in person though. There’s a pretty good fine art scene here as well. There are a lot of people in Toronto participating in the zine and comic fairs and we’re fortunate to have book fairs in addition to TCAF each year. How has TCAF affected your ability to do what you do as Koyama Press?

TCAF is a great show for us and it’s heartening to have a great show in our hometown. Is it important to you to have diversity with the artists and types of books you put out with Koyama Press? Yes. I think that if you peruse our catalogue, you’ll find a pretty diverse range of artists, subject matter and type of books. After running the press for 8 years, what are things you’re still learning about publishing? As with any job, I think that there are always new things to learn. Because I wanted to publish some children’s comics, I’m still learning about that market, which, naturally, is very different from comics for adults.


What’s some advice about publishing comics and art books that you would have liked to be given when you were starting out?

True Story Of A Good For Nothing Artist And Her Pussy by the Japanese artist Rokudenashiko, which is our first book in translation.

Ha! Everything! As I knew nothing about any kind of publishing but just forged ahead, I did make mistakes but as I’ve said before, if you make sure that you learn from your mistakes, it’s not the worst thing that can happen. I will say though, that if I knew going in that the market was as small as it is for the kinds of books that I publish, it might have given me pause if I was a more cautious person. I’m glad that it did not deter me because I’m happy to have published all of the books.

Are there any projects you’d like to embark on that you just don’t have the time or money for at the moment?

What books or other projects do you have planned for 2016? I’m still locking down next fall but for spring, I’m excited for books by Patrick Kyle, Don’t Come In Here, Aidan Koch’s After Nothing Comes, Cathy G. Johnson’s Gorgeous, Ben Sear’s kid’s comic Night Air and What Is Obscenity? The

Yes, I had an idea to start a residency for artists and have a friend who is a farmer who told me about all of these ‘out’ buildings on his properly (I’m sure that many farms have them) just sitting there unused. You’d have to basically take over the building and make it livable and heating that kind of structure in the Canadian winter is no joke but the rent would be affordable. It would take considerable funds to make this work though and I am not sure that I can get any funding to help. I also can’t take on a big project like that while I have my current job but I have other ideas that will take less capital to start but it’s too early to list them.

“I did make mistakes but as I’ve said before, if you make sure that you learn from your mistakes, it’s not the worst thing that can happen.”




Tyler Boss’ ambitions towards comics far exceed the years he has been active as a working cartoonist and illustrator.

Knowing him now, it’s actually really hard to believe that while growing up in Buffalo, Tyler had very few things that ever made him feel ambitious. Tyler is one of the most well adjusted and focused individuals just out of college that I’ve ever met, and it’s very clear that much of what has driven him to accomplish what he has, stems from the same stubbornness to do what people wouldn’t expect of him to do, that he felt in his adolescence. Through his sheer desire to make comics that mean something to other people, and his appetite for new affective ways to display those comics, he’s been able to develop relationships with people he’s looked up to like Gabe Fowler, of Desert Island, and Nick Gazin, of Vice, who have benefitted him in his career and personal life. Tyler is probably more aware of the fact that he’s at a very impressionable and transformative point with his art than anyone else. As viewer observing his work from the outside, its been fascinating to see an artist growing and changing so publicly through the huge volume of work he continues to eagerly put into the world.

Where are you from and where do you live currently? I’m from Buffalo originally and moved to New York for school. I now live and work in Brooklyn. What school did you go to here in New York? I went to a couple of different schools. In high school you figure out you want to go to art school or whatever, and you apply to a bunch, and then you realized that you’re poor and you can’t afford any of them. So I went to a shitty state school in Buffalo, and was there for a year and hated it. I like exclusively hung out with the pot dealers so I could get free drugs. Then after that I went to another different shitty state school called (SUNY) Fredonia that out in the styx, and went there for a semester and worked up a portfolio instead of going to any of my classes. Then I sort of flunked out of that school, but got accepted to SVA (School Of Visual Arts) and was about to get a scholarship. I ended up going to SVA, and I really wanted to go to there becasue they had a cartooning program, and in a more fanboy-y sort of way, David Mazzucchelli teaches there, and that dude’s comics were what made me want to make comics. Were you making a lot of art before going to art school? Was any part of your art education self taught? In high school I was kind of a delinquent… I would sort of just hang out with the skateboarders and sneak out of school and smoke cigarettes behind the firehall or whatever. But in my senior year I had a moment where I was sitting and reading a comic book in one of my classes and just thought “Yeah, I’ll make comics.” haha. Then for the rest of my senior year I exclusively took the art classes and would just hang out in the art room. But yeah, I would say it was all formal. It was not that self taught —

maybe only in the sense that I had to keep doing it to be any good at it. What role have comics played through out your life? I don’t really remember what my first comic was, becasue I’ve always just had comics. I remember getting my first Calvin and Hobbes book from my uncle Jack at my first communion. I always read the sunday strips. But there was never like a comic store in Buffalo, so my grandmother would go to these flea markets and garage sales and she would buy me single issue DC comics and Marvel comics, and then she would bring them to me in stacks like “Okay, here’s ten. When I see you again next month I’ll bring you another ten.” I think the first one she gave me was Teen Titans Spotlight: Nightwing, which is weird becasue that book is all about Robin going back to the Bat Cave for the first time since he left, and I feel like most of my comics are all about that sort of identity crisis that people have when they step out of the shadow of their parents or something. Did that realization that you wanted to make comics allow you to feel more desire to accomplish something or have a sense of ambition that you didn’t have during high school? Yeah totally! Well it was sort of like the same thing as being apart of a music scene when you’re a kid, especially when you grow up in a place like Buffalo where it’s sort of empty and there’s nothing really going on. Finding a group of people who are interested in the same thing as you, who then show you new shit and get you excited about different stuff — like my one friend Owen Carol, I met him during my freshman year at SVA. I was into comics but I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with that. I was like “I guess I’m just going to work really hard at this, but I don’t really know what I’m going


to make.” Then I met my friend Owen and he showed me Dan Clowes, and The Hernandez brothers, and Charles Burns, and then that was all of the shit that I became obsessed with. He was the dude who gave me my first Lose comic. Yeah I kind of owe everything to Owen, as far as my comics knowledge haha. But finding people like that, and then wanting to impress them and being like “Oh no, stick around, I’ll be cool. I’m not going to fuck up.” is nice becasue you work really hard to make them laugh or think your shit is good. What was you experience like at SVA? SVA was good and bad. I feel like it’s like any art school, right? It’s cool becasue you really dig the people that you meet there, especially coming from a really shitty city like Buffalo and moving to New York City and meeting all of these kids from Louisiana and Colorado and Connecticut. You realize that there are other people like you out in the world, which is maybe the most exciting thing about art school. It was really great in that I had some really amazing professors like fucking Gary Panter and Klaus Janson were really amazing… Nick Bertozzi… obviously Mazzucchelli. Meeting all of those people and having them show you how to make comics is really fucking cool. They’re such a mixed bag of people. Klaus is mainstream super heroes, Gary is as weird as you can get, and Mazzucchelli is somewhere in the middle. That was really cool. But it’s good and it’s bad. I feel like… I might have read it in your Penelope Gazin interview where she says “You should go to art school for a year and then drop out and keep hanging out with those kids.” The most education you get is from the people you surround yourself with. Art school is a really easy way to do that. You sort of throw everyone into the colander and see who’s most interesting to you. What did you do right after graduating? After I graduated I was fucking terrified! I just thought “Yeah I’m going to make these weird comics and it’s going to be really fun!” and then I realized “Oh man, I’m really poor.” I mean, I wasn’t so worried about money persay, I was more worried about not hating what I was doing. While I was at school I worked at Forbidden Planet, which is a comic shop in New York. I worked there the entire time I went to SVA, for like 50 hours a week, to try and pay my way through school. So when I graduated I still had that job, which I was ready to be done with at that point. I was sort of worried about what I was going to do with these fucking four years of skill that I learned. I feel like everyone goes through this when they graduate. I was working really hard to make some comics or try to make an illustration portfolio over again and make something that I could make marketable so I could do my job. But it was all really shitty and there were so many false starts and abandoned comics. Then I got a job sort of serendipitously doing inking on a mainstream book, and that in conjunction with Forbidden Planet, was enough to


sustain myself which calmed me down a bit. I was able to feel like “Okay, I’m sort of working in my field. I can tell this to my mom and she’ll be happy that it wasn’t a total waste of money. You just got to art school, and then you work at a comic shop for the rest of your life.” But that made it easier to not give a shit about everything as much. In a weird way, when your work isn’t so all important, you start to make better work. I just relax and not worry about if their was going to be a readership or worry about if it was good or bad — which was helpful and has ended up working out it seems. How did you first start your series Funeral Pudding? Funeral Pudding was probably the culmination of a couple of failed comics. I wrote the whole thing in a car with my parents and my partner Courtney (Menard) when we were on a vacation weekend retreat in Maine. We were in the car driving back from Bangor Maine after we were up in the woods the whole weekend. A lot of it is slightly veiled autobiography. My family is my mom, my dad, my brother, and me and we took a road trip across the country which is one part of the story. And then the other part of it, the sort of the “fell in the woods”, is about me and that “just getting out of school” identity as well as the way childhood breaks when you realize how you exist in the world — the way that your perception shifts seeing your parents as people rather than omnipotent beings. Most of the comics you’ve put out, including Funeral Pudding, have been self published and printed by Jesse Hlebo. What led you to go that route for you first few things and how did you start working with Jesse?  So I had a couple other weird jobs getting out of school, and one of them was where I was an artists assistant to David Sandlin, who’s a print-maker/book-maker/artist, and I also got a job working at Desert Island with Gabe Fowler. So I started making Funeral Pudding, and wasn’t really thinking about how I was going to print them, but I had a background in silk-screening so I understood that if I was going to do a limited color I could risograph the thing. David had been risographing some books so I thought “Okay, I’ll do that!” Then I was talking to Gabe and said “I can’t find a risograph.” and Gabe was like “Oh, talk to this dude.” so I talked to Jesse. It was just a cool community thing with people knowing people. I just like the risograph. I feel like everyone is into it. It heightens everything just enough. Even if you’re just going to do a black and white comics, to print it on a risograph just makes it feel like a better object — like something you actually want to hold, specially in the conversation now about “Why print anything, as oppose to just throwing it up on the web?”

Most of the stuff you’ve done in the short amount of time since you graduated has been in some physical form. Do you think a lot about the way your work is being read? Yeah there’s a lot of planning. The physical object is the end goal. I’m working on this new thing now, and the whole thing was designed and worked out before I even finished writing the story. Setting up systems of working where it’s like “Okay, it needs to work inside a multiple of four (pages). How can I tell a story in that multiple of four so that it’s interesting?” or “Okay, we can work within these colors. What can you do with these colors that will look interesting?” Everything just sort of feeds back into each other. I’m always thinking about the product, the way that the final object paces out the story and the way that the story relates to that. A lot of it is just being into that sort of stuff and wanting to make nice objects… Like give people a reason to want to fucking read it, haha. To have it, just becasue it looks nice, even if the content is shit. How do you approach the writing portion of your work? The writing thing has always been really tricky for me. You go to art school and, especially at SVA, it’s all about how to tell a story. So most of my interests coming out of school and drawing so much were just how you tell a story — the sort of cool visual tricks that comics have that other mediums don’t have. So, if you’re going to make a comic, it needs to only function as a comic. In relation to the writing, it was always kind of a struggle to work something out that would be interesting. I almost think of it more like song writing. I use to play in bands and shit in high school and we would write songs and they were all terrible. But I’ve always liked bands like Why? where they’re almost vaguely telling a story, and there are these very specific notes that hit in a way that resonates with people. I find that that’s what I’m interested in writing. I’m not interested in doing this big over arching narrative — I’m not like interested in writing like Tolstoy. That’s why most of my stuff is shorter. I like to sort of get more than just a feeling across, but a story with the idea of a feeling or the position in life of how you feel. Like with the structure of a song, they’re hitting these notes at certain moments to hit your heart strings. How do we do that with storytelling in this story? My process is way too convoluted and weird. When you do illustrative work, do you try to work through it differently than you would your comics work? Yeah, I have a weird relationship to illustration. I don’t think I’m very good at it. I’m more geared to multiple images, and it’s hard for me to distill it down into a concept, at least with what is the current marketable trend in illustration. But I’ve done a lot of work for Vice. I probably owe most of my career to Nick Gazin, the art editor over at

Vice. The way I approach illustrations is maybe similar to the way I approach comics, as far as — when I come up with a story it’s visually about “How will this look best?” It’s not like I have a style that I rely on. There is a way that my hand is going to move, but I try not to rely on a style. It’s more like “Should this be simpler? Should this be more rendered? Should the panels have more background?” I try to do the same thing with my illustration work. I think about it like “What is the correct visual solution to this? What is going to be the best way to visually and conceptually approach the problem?” But that’s still a work in progress. You clearly try not to stick to one specific style of drawing when you make work. Does that come out of getting bored with one way of drawing, or do you actively try to change the way you draw? It’s part and part both things. I do get bored trying to draw the same way all of the time. It’s like, if you’ve worked out the problem, why keep doing it? But I also just get so excited by seeing different ways of approaching picture making. He’s actually a good buddy now, but I remember seeing Daniel Zender’s work for the first time and losing it becasue I couldn’t believe seeing that sort of approach to making a picture — just how simplified it was and how affective it was. In contrast to him, seeing someone who’s another good friend now, Jensine Eckwall’s work which is like this very lush watercolor painted stuff. It’s like wanting to play in everyone’s sandbox I guess. I sort of think “Oh! That looks like fucking fun! I want to do that.” Just the pleasure of moving your hand and making an image and the shear joy of drawing and figuring something out. Right now I’m probably going through a little bit of a Leanne Shapton phase, drawing with no pencils and just loose brush work and really having fun making marks and thinking about drawing. It’s definitely part of being young. I’m sort of now calming down about that and not being so nervous about having a marketable style. It doesn’t sound interesting or fun to do that, so why would I want that to be my job, even though that’s what they tell you at art school. I have jobs now where I can be in the studio all of the time, and that’s great. I have the luxury of doing what ever I want with my own work and not worrying about what it looks like as a large portfolio or whatever. How did you start working at Desert Island, and how has that benefitted you? I got the job becasue my partner, Courtney Menard, was friends with Gabe (Fowler) on facebook and she was like “Hey did you see that Gabe is looking for help?” I had been going to Desert Island for like three years at that point. Me and Gabe knew each other. I would drop books off and stuff, and we would talk, but we weren’t close or anything. So I went in one day and was like “Hey are you still looking to hire somebody?” and he was like “Yeah! I think I might have someone, but you know, just shoot me


and email and maybe it’ll work out.” So I sent him an email a couple ours later. Then at 4 in the morning I got an email back from him that was like “Hey man that’d be great! Just fill out this thing and you can come work! I just want to make sure you’re cool!” But yeah, it’s just worked out and it’s been awesome. I definitely owe the fact that I have any sort of readership or people that are reading anything that’s just my personal work to Gabe and to Nick Gazin — not that there are so many gate keepers in the comics world. The indie comics world is pretty accepting and everyone is pretty chill. But by being behind the counter at Desert island, people just automatically assume you’re a cool dude becasue Gabe is a cool dude. It’s like “Well if Gabe likes you, you must be cool.” It’s almost like he’s vouching for you or something. Also getting to see all of the weird comics and getting to know Gabe is cool. Gabe’s so fucking smart. I’ll get this sort of art education, while also getting paid for it. How did you meet Nick Gazin? I met Nick at MoCCA this past year. When I got out of school, I literally didn’t have any work. I was a cartoonist who had no comics. I think I did the math on this yesterday but, all of the comics that people have seen, I’ve made with in the past year exactly. So I was at MoCCA and had the things on the table, and Nick just came by. Then he wrote an article called Comics Are Still Not Just for Kids and MoCCA Still Exists and very kindly included

me in it. He bought my comics and said nice things to me, which seemed weird because — I mean I knew Nick Gazin, everybody knows Nick Gazin. He’s pretty hard to miss with the mustache, although I guess he doesn’t have it any more. But it was cool to get kind words from Nick becasue Nick is a really honest critic. Some people give him shit and say he’s mean or something. But in such a cuddling community, the only criticism I would have is that comics criticism isn’t harsh enough. Nick is someone who is really real about it, so to get that from him felt really validating. He sort of immediately hit me up after that to start doing illustrations for Vice, which I did. Then I was doing a comic for Smoke Signal that I was really hyped on, which Gabe let me do. I wanted to post it on the internet so people could read it, but Gabe wants people to wait a little bit before they do that, so I was like “Well, I want to share some fucking comic.” and I drew this little one pager and put it on instagram. Then Nick hit me up on Instagram and was like “Hey do you want to do comics for Vice?” and then I started doing comics for Vice, haha. See, it’s weird. It’s just Gabe and Nick sort of bouncing back and forth giving me opportunities to get my stuff out there to people, in a very easy way. I mean, Smoke Signal is free, and anyone can pick it up — and people do! So that’s a really cool opportunity there. And Vice is just there forever, and people can read it.

“I’m always thinking about the product, the way that the final object paces out the story and the way that the story relates to that.”


“I definitely owe the fact that I have any sort of readership or people that are reading anything that’s just my personal work to Gabe (Fowler) and to Nick Gazin” I feel like in school, theres this really big stress to “make connections” rather than just making friends and caring about the things that other people are doing around you. I think part of the reason why you’ve been able to work with who you’ve worked with, and why it’s been a positive relationship, is just becasue you seem to actually care about the people that you’re working with or who potentially have opportunities for you.

they make you go to the American Illustration party and they make you go to all of these functions and all of these shows, and it’s all fine and good. But for me, and I assume for most students… What are you suppose to do? Are you suppose to walk up to these art directors and be like “Hey! I love what you do… Now please give me money?” It’s just so weird! Like why would you want to do that? Like, I get it, you’re trying to make a career — and some people are really good at it and very natural.

When you’re in school for illustration, especially at SVA,

It’s not a calculated thing, I just love what Gabe does,


so yeah, I want to be a part of that, I want to come and hang out with him. It works out too where he’s like “Oh I like what you do. Yeah, lets do this.” It’s more of a natural thing. Just find people that you like, or who are doing a cool thing, and just hang out with them. It doesn’t even have to be art related! Me and Gabe are friends out side of that. He wants to build a cabin in the woods, and he was like “When I’m doing that, you’re going to come out and we’re going to build it.” Weird shit like that where you become actual friends where you hang out and you do stuff. It’s more community based. It’s like “I’ll build you this bird house, if you give me the seed.” — that’s the stupidest metaphor, haha. It’s more fun that way. They try to tell you that in art school, but everyone is all keyed up and terrified of failing that it never naturally works out. How did your eight part Vice comic, Baby Teeth, come about? I sort of had this idea that was going to be a three of four

page thing. I sent Nick a couple of comics and was sort of playing with this other one, and I was like “Hey man, I know I normally send you one pagers, but I’m going to send you a five pager. I know it’s been a minute since I sent you something, but that’s why.” Then he was like “Oh cool. Do you just want to do it as a serial though?” and I was like “Oh, I didn’t know that was an option.” then he was like “Yeah!” and I was like “Cool… Let’s just do that then…” That was weird becasue, before it went up I had like a couple pages drawn. I had it all planned out, but immediately after Nick asked if I wanted to do it, it went up two days later, so I didn’t have a lot of time. It was weird becasue every week I had to draw the page — or how ever many pages so that it could function as a stand alone thing as well. That was maybe the more interesting thing about it. I had to shape it more like “This has to be a larger narrative, but also it needs to function within one or a couple pages as a story on it’s own.” That’s just simply how it has to function on Vice.

“Nick had sort of told me that he got an email from someone who was calling my comics Michael DeForge rip-off comics. It was hard to swallow at first, but eventually I thought ‘Yeah, I can kind of see it…’ Part of being young is that you have to work through your influences, and exercise all of that.”


“!t was also weird to be doing it in a public arena where I was being paid to do it. It made it so that I had to keep doing it — like I couldn’t just drop off on it. So I tried to imbue it with some jokes. I drew Creep Highway into one of the fucking pages and emailed Patrick (Kyle) about it, and he seemed cool about it and not creeped out or anything, haha.” Baby Teeth was a weird one… That was like a growing pains comic for me. It’s funny too becasue the subject matter is about growing pains. I’m happy to have done that, and I’m really thankful for the opportunity, but I’m also happy that that comic is done, haha. Certain people,


who will remain unnamed, came at me really hard about it — and rightfully so a little bit. Nick had sort of told me that he got an email from someone who was calling my comics Michael DeForge rip-off comics. It was hard to swallow at first, but eventually I thought “Yeah, I can kind of see it…”

Part of being young is that you have to work through your influences, and exercise all of that. But it was also weird to be doing it in a public arena where I was being paid to do it. It made it so that I had to keep doing it — like I couldn’t just drop off on it. So I tried to imbue it with some jokes. I drew Creep Highway into one of the fucking pages and emailed Patrick (Kyle) about it, and he seemed cool about it and not creeped out or anything, haha. But I don’t know. He’s Canadian, so maybe he’s just polite. But that was a really weird comic to do. It seemed like a very polarizing one, where I got responses from people who loved it and thought it was great, and responses from other people who were not so into it and who hated it. For the most part up until that point, especially since I haven’t been out there for too long, everything has been so positive and like “Here’s an award! You’re great! Have a table! Do this thing for us!” To have something with such a negative reaction was kind of actually awesome. I was kind of excited to be like “Oh cool! People are pissed about this! This is great! It’s eliciting some sort of reaction.” It’s really hard when you want to make something that’s really your own, when you’re also really excited about and invested in so many things other contemporary artists are doing. How do you deal with worrying about your own style? Yeah, that’s a constant concern. Every single thing I do, I’m always very conscious of. I read a loooot of comics, and I’m excited by a lot of things, so it’s always a worry that “Oh, this looks too much like somebody else.” or “This idea is probably planted in my subconscious because it affected me so much when I was reading this thing, that its coming out without me remembering that it came from somewhere.” But I’m definitely getting more comfortable with my own thing. For a while there, when you get out of school, you’re so nervous about “Is your voice valid? Is what you’re doing going to be good?” and giving yourself the chance to do something different, that you sometimes maybe think “Well that person is doing something that’s working…” If you go that rout, that shit’s going to be the worst shit you do becasue it’s going to be so insincere and so dishonest. I feel like you just need to keep working, and exercise all of that stuff. There’s this whole thing about “the young art star” — and it’s attractive, who wouldn’t want to be the darling of a community. But everybody just needs to go at their own pace. I’m probably not going to be someone who’s figured out what they’re doing until they’re like 50. I think in my writing, its more my own, whereas sometimes the visual style is coming from a couple of different places and it’s sort of obvious. But there’s also a history of that in cartooning as well. If you look at Tomine, and how he got flack for most of his career about being a Hernandez ripoff or a Dan Clowes rip-off. But you know, Adrian’s work is really affective and its amazing. I’m sure it bummed him out. I don’t know… it would bum me out. But he just kept

fucking doing the work. If you keep making the work you’ll eventually work it out. You’ve worked on a couple murals with Josh Cochran, right? How did you end up working on those with him? My partner, Courtney Menard, is friends with Josh. She’s helped him with a bunch of stuff when his normal assistant couldn’t help. But he needed help on a mural for the Pacific Park Arts, and Courtney was going to help him. But then he needed more help so I was like “Yeah that sounds fun, we can go and do that.” It was a lot of fun. It was also brutal. I was so sun burned from it, becasue I’m a pale Irish boy. The next day I couldn’t walk becasue the backs of my knees were so sun burned. But it’s fun to go and do stuff like that. Josh is great, he’s super funny. I also helped him with this one at Chuko, which is this new ramen place that’s opening up on Evergreen and — you know what, they don’t need a plug, they’re a big enough ramen place, haha. But yeah that was fun too. We just hung out and talked about Fall Out 4 and painted a mural. Do you worry at all about how your comics will be received? I’m never worried about the over all bones of the story within a comic. Structure, storyline, and pacing usually work in my comics. If there’s one thing I’m confident in, it’s that I can at lease visually get the story across. Where I get worried though is with the themes and the dialog, like “Does this read right? Is this natural? Is this coming off how I want it to?” In that regard, I’m always thinking about a readership or who’s going to be reading it. With my comic Swimmers — I did it, and it ended up going over great, people seemed to really like it, and I got a MoCCA award for it this year which was really exciting. I was really pumped about it and I thought “Great! This was a good comic.” But later, I was reading this thing Sarah Horrocks did about Sam Alden’s It Will Never Happen Again story (Hawaii 1997), and she really cut into it and talked about the male view of romance and suggesting “Hey that was very interesting and very problematic.” Then I immediately started comparing it to Swimmers becasue I had a couple people be like “Yo… Women, am I right?” and I was like “Noooo!” But you can’t help that. You can’t tell those people no becasue that’s how they read it, so you sort of always have to be aware of that. It’s interesting. It’s sort of another problem, and I like that. I have to think “Okay, let’s not make some shitty comic perpetuating some idea.” Yeah, so I think about that a lot. Are there any projects you’d like to embark on that you just don’t have the time or money for at the moment? Yeah! I’ve been sitting on a comic now for months. I would also really like to get back to finishing Funeral Pudding, becasue it’s suppose to be like ten chapters and I’ve only


“ It’s kind of nice to be really young and not know what I am yet.” done three. But, just sort of having to take jobs has dictated my amount to time right now to do things. It would be really great to get one big job where I could pay my rent for a few months and then I could just work exclusively on pumping out comics. I want to double how many pages I’ve done in this past year. I think I did about 120, so I’d like to get that to at least 200 pages this year. Do you have a specific goal when you make work? What do you hope to accomplish with what you put out? Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, all of my work is kind of allthe-same-y in that it’s a lot about “How do we exist in the world?” and focusing in on that age just post adolescence when you sort of realize that you have to interact in the world. That sort of feeling, and how that travels through your 20s. You know, artists usually have one or two themes that they always work around, and that’ll probably

be the one I’ll work around until, I don’t know, I’m 40 and have a child. The only thing I’m more interested in is, I’m interested in making longer stories now. I want to continue to make bigger stories or write something thats a lot more that just 12 pages or 1 or 2 pages and seeing what happens with that. I’ve only been doing shorter stuff and thinking “What would happen if you kept writing this character?” rather than “Okay that person is done. Now lets do a new thing with basically the same person in a different situation.” haha. I’m just more excited to see what happens. I never really know. Theres not like a plan. It’s kind of nice to be really young and not know what I am yet, and give myself that freedom of “No, just do it dude.” The worst that happens is that nobody reads it. And that’s fine. Nobody asked me to make comics, haha.




I’m not sure if Reed Kanter fully realizes how many kids lives he’s positively impacted, or at least the extent at which he

has done so. You can tell by the tone of his voice when he talks about the record label he’s been running for the past three years, Danger Collective Records, that it’s hugely important to him and constantly on his mind. But to really examine what Reed and his friends from high school have been developing over the course of the past few years, all you really need to do it look at the enormous group of teenage listeners who pour into every show Danger Collective books, and the massive catalog of releases they’ve put out in the the brief time they’ve been around In a lot of ways, Danger Collective Records saved Reed Kanter’s life, as it was a project that was born out of his necessity to find something he cared about after a dark period of addiction and anxiety as a high schooler in a small town outside of Los Angeles. After getting sober at 17, Reed sought out a way that he could cultivate his interest and involvement in the other thing that seemed to consume his youth, the LA DIY scene. In the few years that Reed has been managing Danger Collective while slowly growing the operation from a pipe dream with friends to a label that annually runs a 30+ band summer festival, Reed has brought hours of joy and solaces to the kids of LA and surrounding towns. Danger Collective Records give a sense of meaning to Reed’s life that he had been searching for all of the years before he started the label, and in turn creates meaning in the lives of so many otherwise bored or aimless kids just like he was.

Where are you from and where do you live currently?

What was you first experience in the LA DIY scene?

I’m originally from Agora Hills California. It’s about an hour or so outside of Los Angeles. I currently live here in New York City. My girlfriend goes to The New School, and I work from home. But I go back and forth a lot.

It’s actually so funny. For my friend group, becasue we lived so outside of LA, any time we went to LA was like the coolest thing to do, becasue it was like “Cool Shows! Cool People!” Where we were in high school, there was nothing happening! If you didn’t play football, you were just weird. I remember, one of the first things was, we went to one of the Breakfast At The Smell shows. I think it was Surf Curse, Moses Campbell, and some other bands. But we went there, and I was really nervous becasue I had always heard about The Smell and stuff, and when we got there everyone just looked so cool. We felt so out of place at 16 being there. But we went in, and that’s where I saw Surf Curse for the first time. Immediately, I was into it. Then I saw Moses Campbell back when they were together, and I was just blown away. I got really into the music coming out of LA, especially within the Big Joy Records scene. Same with Burger and all of those things that were happening. With my band, or dream was to be in that scene, and eventually that happened — which was cool, but there was a period of two or three years where we were like “We need to play shows at The Smell! We need to be in LA playing!” cause we had only been playing house shows and battle of the bands at the community center.

What made you decide to move here? I moved here to pursue school. I was also going to The New School as well, but it just wasn’t what I want to be doing at this point in my life. I hope that I go back to school eventually, but right now my main focus is my label (Danger Collective Records) and music right now. Were you formally trained at all in music, or are you primarily self taught? I learned piano when I was younger — I had lessons. My mom thought it would be a good idea becasue all of the other kids were learning piano, haha. But then I got really into guitar. I remember there was like a Costco where I lived, and they had this little shredder guitar and I bought. I was like 12. It was like a $60 guitar, and I got really into it. I was self taught for a while, but then I started taking it more seriously so I started taking lessons. Then I got over guitar and I moved into synthesizers and music production.

The funnier thing is that Austin (Feinstein) and Dylan (Thinnes) from Slow Hollows were at that show, and they were both two years younger than me, so they were like 14 or 15. I saw Austin stage dive, I think, during Surf


“Eventually, I had a really bad problem with drugs and alcohol, and I got sober when I was young. I had just turned 17. I was away for like six months in a program and stuff. I was going down a really dark path. So when I got out I was like ‘I really have to focus on something that’s important to me, otherwise I’m just going to be back to getting high.’” Curse’s set. There’s a video somewhere. I think (my girlfriend) Lizzie (Kline) was at that show too, but we didn’t know each other. Who were the friends that you were hanging out with then? When did you start meeting more people in the scene? Well I remember that day when I was at The Smell, I was with my friend Jackson (Katz), who runs the label with me, and our friend Sean (Dellorco) who was always into the same stuff, but he works at KCRW so he’s off doing bigger and better things. But yeah, those were our friends who went there. We were all in our skinny pants and our button downs, too scared to talk to anyone. Those where the friends I’d go into LA with and not tell our parents. Was it exciting to see people your own age playing in bands and organizing all of the stuff that was going on? It had a weird affect on me. I was just so use to this place where there was nothing like that happening. Seeing it


happen was almost like… It didn’t feel real. But then it immediately hit me that “Well I’m not going to be able to be in this, becasue these people are too cool. I’m from some weird small town outside of this. There’s not anything cool there. I’m never going to be this cool.” It was funny. As people were going into shows, I would just look up the events and listen to the bands from my headphones in my room, becasue I had too much social anxiety to go out some times. That’s a lot of how I learned about the music scene in LA. Just from Bandcamp and sitting alone and listening to it and imagining “I could be at the show… But I’m too scared to go.” How did you get over that anxiety? Well my friend Nolan (Pearson) would always be at shows. When I was 17, after I got sober, I just sort of wanted to get more involved with music. At the time there was this venue called Almost Holden which help us start throwing shows. There would always be a show at Almost Holden, and that’s how I got involved. It was a smaller space — you could fit like 150 in there — so it didn’t feel as intimidating as The Smell use to for me. That helped me meet people. Then my friend Nolan knew everyone, so we ap-

proached him with the label. He was the perfect person. That helped me meet other people becasue he was funny and confident and I was shy and couldn’t talk. So that helped when introducing myself. How did your label, Danger Collective Records, start? Where does the name come from? Back when I was 16 all of my friend played music and stuff, but we had no idea what it was like to be on a label. When we heard about Big Joy and Burger, they seemed like reachable things, but we didn’t know how to reach them. There was this teacher in our school who had this synth punk band — and we were all into anything that had synthesizers in it — called Danger Friends USA! Then the friend group that I was in coined the name Danger Collective becasue they wanted to form like an art collective. So when I joined that friend group, that was already the name of it, haha. I wasn’t there for the naming of it. I kind

of feel bad now, since that’s the name of the label, and I didn’t even make it up. It very quickly turned from the “art collective” into the burnouts who just did drugs and listened to music. Eventually, I had a really bad problem with drugs and alcohol, and I got sober when I was young. I had just turned 17. I was away for like six months in a program and stuff. I was going down a really dark path. So when I got out I was like “I really have to focus on something that’s important to me, otherwise I’m just going to be back to getting high.” I started focusing on music, I started going to shows, and I started meeting new people. Then I started really focusing on my own band (Casinos). My buddy was like, “Yeah I sent the demo to Burger and they never got back to us.” — and there were other issues like that where stuff was sent around and never received. So we were just like “Why don’t we just do it our selves? Self release it!” But then we thought “All of us within the band Casinos make

“That was another reason why the label started… So that I could not seem like a liar, haha.”


our own music. We could just make a mini label for just all of our own music.” so that’s what we did. I had it all mapped out. I remember going to a show with my friend Jackson (Katz) in a car and he was like “But what are you going to call it?” and I was like “Oh… I don’t know.” Then I remembered the Danger Collective friend group name and was like “What if we called it Danger Collective? That could be cool.” Then we had to ask the original group who coined the term if it was okay to use that and they were like “Yeah sure.” haha. But yeah, then it went from there. It started out just as a way to put out the first Casinos albums, but then we met my friend Franky (Fox) who does Franky Flowers, we met Dylan and Austin from Hollows, our friend group became bigger, so it became that friend group, and it just went from there to releasing other artists that we didn’t know. Actually, you know what… The other thing that started the label was; when I got sober I changed schools and I started going to an alternative high school in Santa Monica where I met Lizzie (Kline) my current girlfriend. I had the biggest crush on her ever. I didn’t know how to talk to girls and I’d never had a girlfriend up until then, so I was really trying to impress her, but I didn’t know what she liked. She was in the cool kids group who would go outside and smoke cigarettes, so I would always walk by with a cigarette so it would seem like “Hey I’m smoking too.” or “Oh hey! I didn’t even see you guys there.” that sort of thing like “Oh, I’m mysterious.” haha. But anyway, I remember walking by one day, around the time I had the idea to start the label, and she was like “What have you been up to?” and I was like “Well yeah, I’m trying to start this label with my friends for our friend’s bands and stuff.” Then I though, “Oh I shouldn’t have said that… Now I just seem stupid.” But she was like “Oh, that’s really cool! I’d really like to hear some of the stuff!” and I was like “Yeah, we should have something up and running soon!” and that’s when I met back up with my friend Jackson and was like “Okay, we have to make it happen now! I sort of like talked it up to this girl, and I don’t want to seem like I can’t do it now.” haha. That was another reason why the label started… So that I could not seem like a liar, haha. But not it has nothing to do with that. It’s not like I’m still running it to impress this girl — which would be funny if running the label now was like “She still thinks it cool!” Do you think the fact that you had an experience that made you recognize how precious things are in your life, made you take the label really seriously? Did running the label give your life some sort of meaning that you were looking for after you got sober? Yeah, definitely! Not to get too dark but, my life was a real living hell. I came from an abusive family, living with my mother and being completely estranged from my father. The only thing I had focus on was music and my drug use, to escape my horrible situation. So then, when I got sober and reconnected with my father, I needed some-

thing in my life that made me feel like it had some sort of meaning, becasue without it, I would just be back to what I was doing. People were telling me, when I was getting sober, that I wouldn’t have lasted another year. I was 105 pounds, I was completely out of it — I was on the path to death basically. That’s why the label is still so serious to me. It was started after going through a dark place, and it just keeps me going and keeps me motivated. Since I started the label I haven’t relapsed. The seriousness of the label sort of goes with the seriousness of my sobriety I guess. That’s why I give it my all. To not go back there. I feel like a lot of people start projects like yours after recovering from some traumatic experience and realizing how much control they actually have over their life. Once you escape your lowest point you realize how much you can actually accomplish on your own. Exactly! When I was using I had no control of anything in my life. I was completely powerless to drugs, the abusive experience — everything. The one thing I had as an escape was music, so I always knew I wanted to pursue something with music. It was almost like the way out, it seemed like. And now it is! It’s helped me so much. Who was involved with Danger Collective at the start, and who helps to run it now? for? The original members were myself, my friend Jackson — he’s been there since day one helping me do this — my other friend Michael Louis and then basically this whole friend group who were Rafe (Noonan) and Kreider (Dane) from Casinos, and our friend Patrick (Marbman Jewett) who takes photos for shows — he’s a really great photographer and he does great coverage. It was that group, but we sort of had people come in a go out. But now the solid group is myself, Jackson, Aaron (Jassenoff), Dylan (Thinnes) from Slow Hollows — that kid is like a booking prodigy — our friend Franky (Fox). Then everyone else still has a little part in it. How old were all of you when you were starting out, and how did you figure out production, financing, etc… for the label? So I was 17 when I started it. When we stared off we didn’t have any tapes of CDs or anything, we just had a Bandcamp. But we threw a lot of shows. What we’d do is we would save up our money from those shows, and thats what helped us do the first few releases. The cool thing about the shows was that we were bringing in a new scene of bands, and a lot of people were into it and liked it. The other thing was, my dad’s friend owned a gym in Westlake Village — which is totally out of LA, there’s nothing going on there — and we found this guy, who I think my friend Patrick was friends with, that had a whole sound set up with really professional equipment, and we started


“The goal was never to be the label with a contract or stuff like ‘You have to do two albums here.’ If we like someone, and they want to do an album with us, that’s awesome. If they want to go to a bigger label next, that’s cool, we support that.” just booking shows in there. So that was like our space. It was like the Danger Gym or something, haha. It was literally where all of these warehouses were, and every Friday and Saturday night we’d do shows and there’d be tons of kids. It was like a whole social gathering or something. We threw a bunch of shows there and we got a lot of money to help fund the label there. That was really important in the start of the label, and it brought music out to kids in that area. Kids who I’d see in high school when I use to go to school there, who I’d never thought I’d see there, were coming out to shows. It was really cool, cause it was the only thing happening out there. There’d be a party or something, and there’d be one of our shows, and everyone would just go to our shows cause it was cooler. It was kind of funny. We were like destroying the house shows in the valley with our shows. What was the scene like out there, and how did you go about finding bands? A lot of it was through my friend Nolan in the start, becasue he had all of the connections to bands and stuff. Our first few shows, Girlpool played — it’s crazy where they are now — Bobby T and The Slackers and Slow Hollows, who are both still on the label, my band Casinos played as well. Just a lot of local bands we had been seeing play


at Almost Holden. We would just sort of look from that, and then book headliners. We were all obsessed with this guy Rexx, and I remember we booked him and that was great. We ended up doing a 7” with him after a while which was cool. Yeah, we sort of went from there. We’d go to shows and see bands we’d like, and then ask them to play. In the beginning we had no idea what we were doing, and luckily it just worked out, haha. We didn’t know how to run a show. We didn’t know how to do anything. Then more of my friends got involved with it. Everyone would be volunteering to run merch, run door, help with sound, and helping to make sure people weren’t getting hurt. The whole idea was that we kept the early gym space we had as a sober space, which was really cool. It would just be a bunch of kids chain smoking and moshing, haha. But those were some of the most fun shows. That was sort of how I learned how to manage shows from there. We booked Runaway this year, which was a big festival, and I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did with Runaway if I hadn’t started small doing those shows. Was there a specific goal you had when you started the label? Has that changed at all over the years? The whole thing with starting the label was to — we’ve sort

of almost reached this goal — but it was to just put out music that we would listen to that we really liked. Now — and although this sounds really really narcissistic and pretentious — but pretty much the only stuff I listen to is music coming out of the label, cause everything we release now, I love and listen to on repeat. That’s always been the goal, and now that we’re there it’s very awesome. The goal since day one was just to do what we were doing with smaller bands and taking them and showing them to people. It was like “Here is what we like. You should listen to this. You should see them live. You should hear their tape.” That’s sort of what we’ve done. And now bands that were smaller on the label have now gained some attention and it’s really cool to see that happen. I think one of the things that’s really admirable about what you guys do with the label is that, so much of it is just driven by trying to promote music you’re genuinely excited about, and giving it the proper platform for it to be heard by other people. Yeah, the goal was never to be the label with a contract or stuff like “You have to do two albums here.” If we like someone, and they want to do an album with us, that’s awesome. If they want to go to a bigger label next, that’s cool, we support that. We just want to have had the chance to work with that person. I guess a lot of what we do is like that. At the start of the label I got really into cassettes and the cassette culture thing. That was really cool when we started doing our own tapes and that was really big for me. Now that we’ve moved on to doing vinyl stuff, it’s kind of amazing. I never thought we’d be where we are now. I thought that this was going to die out the summer after we started it. But we’ve done bigger and better things since then which is really cool.

through that. I remember it was really cool putting it in and watching the tape spin. I was into them at a young age, and when cassettes were a cool thing that was happening when I was around 16 I was like “Now that thing thats in my drawer that I never use, I can use it again!” When we do a release, I get so stoked when we get the tapes in. Did you guys face people condescending to you becasue of your age when you first started booking shows and running the label? Yeah… I think in the beginning we were seen as the goonie little kids who were trying to do it. I don’t think a lot of people took us seriously. That may just be me being hard on myself and what I do, but that’s what it felt like for a while. It was sort of like we had to do enough stuff to eventually get the attention of bands that were older. Now, I don’t feel like that’s the case as much. We’ve done a lot of stuff recently and we’ve been a round, which helps, but in the beginning that was definitely an issue —especially with the coming and going of Big Joy Records. We seemed like competition to them I think. But we weren’t haha. We were just trying to do something that was our own thing. When did you start playing in the band Casinos?

I would say a lot of it has to do with Burger Records becasue they helped the whole cassette resurgence thing happen. Burger was really responsible for making that happen. The other thing is that, it’s a physical format that’s cheap to produce. It’s different from vinyl, but it’s cooler than a CD. You can get a whole album for like $5 on a physical copy. I’m into them a lot. I buy a lot of cassettes. When someone gives me a demo, I get really stoked if it’s on a tape. I think a lot of it just has to do with the fact that they’re cheap to produce and Burger Records making them cool again.

Casinos is the band I’m in with my three closest friends. It’s myself, Jackson Katz, Rafe Noonan, and Kreider Dane. I don’t know where to start with it. I guess the band was originally called something else, and it was my friends Kreider and Jackson’s project. I didn’t know them at the time and they met through the “school of rock” sort of thing Rock Nation. Then they met my friend Rafe, who’s just a really talented piano player. So he started playing in the band, and they did that for a little bit. I eventually met Kreider and Jackson around freshman year of high school, and we all became really close friends and we were all hanging out all of the time. Then I got really into synthesizers. One day, I think I had Krieder over, and I was experimenting with arpeggiators and stuff. We had just smoked a little weed so I think he was really into it haha. Then after that he asked me if I wanted to do stuff in the band. I was never a really good keyboard player, but I sort of got better playing keys in the band. I would do bass synth and stuff. I had no idea what I was doing with synthesizers, I would just make noises and stuff, and it would sound cool. Eventually I learned how to recreate what I was doing. So now that’s my whole thing. I do analog noise mixed with samples and all kinds of stuff. I just sort of add a little weirdness to it all.

Growing up I had a little cassette player, and going to sleep, I would always listen to a Beethoven tape. I don’t know why my family did that, but I always had to fall asleep to this tape. Then I had my own little tape recorder, so I would always record funny stuff. It was basically like me sampling stuff when I was younger, haha. I’d always find tapes around the house, and I could listen to music

I think the band has been around for like five years now. All of our music comes out on out label, which is really great because we don’t have to worry about it. We have a new album coming out, and we’re on a booking agency now, It’s crazy we’ve come from playing battle of the bands shows to that. It’s cool to see my own band do that. I never wanted it to be like “This label is for my band, and

What do you think has contributed to the resurgence of cassette culture?


I’m going to push my band before anyone else’s.” so I always get a little bit hesitant to give my band opportunities with shows and releases. Jackson and everyone else probably hates me, haha.

and the older kids will always come back to it. And you can see everything from garage rock to really experimental music. That’s really awesome too, the variety of music they host there. It’s the best venue out there.

How important has the venue, The Smell, been to you and what you’ve done with Danger Collective Records?

Has the label changed at all since you move to New York for school?

The Smell will always be a go-to venue. All of the shows are $5, it’s all ages — the guy who runs it, Jim (Smith), is just so good at what he does. It’s so cool becasue it gives everyone from small bands who’ve never played a show opportunities, to bigger bands who want to do a DIY show. It’s really cool how the whole space still has the whole DIY aesthetic to it, but you can still see anyone from No Age to Ty Segall play there. When we started booking at The Smell, that was basically the dream — to play there and do that. I’ll always love playing there and I’ll always love booking shows there becasue it’s helped us tremendously, especially with gaining a following. When they were talking about The Smell in either the LA Weekly or the LA Record, the mentioned how “Burger and Danger Collective came from it.” and that was really cool! The Smell has really helped us out and we appreciate everything Jim has let us do. That will always be my favorite venue and my favorite place to see shows. I guess it always changes too. The younger kids who discover music will discover it,

Ever since I moved out here I sort of took on more responsibility with it and started to run it in a more professional manner, becasue I wasn’t home where I could be around my friends and just working at the same time and going to shows. I felt a little more isolated here, but that turned into me really focusing in on the label. I guess now it’s not as disorganized as it use to be. Theres still a level of things being disorganized but it’s sort of controlled. I think New York really helped me see what I wanted to do with the label. Now I’m really devoted to it, and I’ve learned a lot of things being out here. I feel like we’re still DIY but we’re just not as disorganized because all day I just work. I’m not just sitting on my ass ignoring it, which I would be if I was in California. When did you start doing Runaway Festival? Runaway Festival was originally called Inside Lands. It was a play on the name of the festival Outside Lands. My friend Dylan who’s in Slow Hollows had the idea to

“Since the first show we booked and presented, I’ve been blown away by them (Slow Hollows). They seemed like the band who made you think “They’re going to go somewhere.” I always thought they’d be going somewhere.”


“We want to do it again this year and we want to have a diverse line up with a lot of cool bands again. We have a good team doing it, and we hope this year’s will be as good as last year’s.” book a mini festival. It was held in 2014 at Los Globos, and it was called Inside Lands. That year we worked with our friends who had this thing called Lost Dog Collective and we presented it with them. It was a lot of work and there was a good amount of money, but at the end of the day we all did well from it. It was a cool learning experience. We booked Together Pangea, The Garden, White Fang, Heavy Hawaii and a bunch of bands from the LA scene. Then what happened last year is we brought on board Mike Morin who use to work for The Church on York which was a venue in LA that closed down. He’s just one of those guys who’s been booking and doing this for a long time. He’s basically what we needed to take the idea we had and take it to the next step. Basically we just through the dream festival. It was a lot of work and a lot of things happened. The venue, Jewels Catch One, backed out of the show last minute and cost us a lot of stress and anxiety. We had to move a whole 30+ band festival to a whole new venue in less than a week. There were a lot of other issues that happened, but at the end of the day, we threw the festival we wanted to throw and I enjoyed it. It was a nightmare running, but it seemed like we did a good enough job. With the line up last year, it was very diverse. One of the headliners was No Age, then another was Antwon, who’s a rapper, then we had Retox, which is

a hardcore band. It was cool becasue I felt like you could go to one stage and see a certain sound and then got to another stage and see a certain sound. It was really interesting. We want to do it again this year and we want to have a diverse line up with a lot of cool bands again. We have a good team doing it, and we hope this year’s will be as good as last year’s. We’re about to start planning that all now. You started playing in Slow Hollows recently, right? What is your connection to that project and what do you play in the band now? Since the first show we booked and presented, I’ve been blown away by them. They seemed like the band who made you think “They’re going to go somewhere.” I always thought they’d be going somewhere. Once we did the first album on tape, that was really good, and ever since then they’ve been getting bigger and bigger, especially with this new album they did Atelophobia. That album was a really solid album, and I think a lot of people enjoyed it. I’ve always been a fan of their stuff, but I’ve also worked really closely with the band on this last project. I knew everything what was happening with it, so when Austin wanted to add synthesizers and keys to it, he asked me


and I was very down. I was like “I love this band. I love working with them.” so it was easy. All of those guys are my close friends now. It’s different from what I have to do in Casinos, and I kind of like it to the same extent — I don’t feel like it’s a burden to have to play shows. I really enjoy it, and I get excited to play shows with Slow Hollows. What do you have planned for 2016? We have a few vinyl projects we’re working on. We have a really busy year of releases. This could be our biggest year with releases and bigger names. I’m really excited to finally unveil those and announce the projects. Runaway Festival is going to happen again. I don’t have any of the details now, but we’ll hopefully, in the next few months, have more details about that. It’s going to be a busy year, but I think it’s going to really pay off. Are there any projects you’d like to embark on, that you just don’t have the time or money for at the moment?

a space where I can throw shows, have a record store, and a place where I can duplicate my own tapes. That’s the goal. That’s the other thing we’re working on for next year; trying to get a space together. That will be the next big venture; going from doing what we’re doing to having a storefront and venue. I don’t know what’s going to happen with that, but it’s going to happen in the the next few years. Hopefully we get it together, haha. What do you hope to accomplish with Danger Collective as a whole? At the end of the day I just want to keep putting out music we love. Even if the hype fades away or we’re not throwing shows anymore, I still want to be putting out music. I want to keep doing this as long as I can, even if I’m paying out of pocket and living in a box. It’s what I love doing, and I love working with other artists and individuals. It’s just what I’m passionate about. If it turns into something else —if I work for another label or whatever — I don’t care. This is just what I want to be doing at the end of the day.

Personally, with everything we release, I’d love to do it on vinyl. It’s just that vinyl is really expensive and it’s a long process. My dream at the end of the day is to have

“Even if the hype fades away or we’re not throwing shows anymore, I still want to be putting out music. I want to keep doing this as long as I can, even if I’m paying out of pocket and living in a box.”


Photography by Matthew James-Wilson

Jane Mai @ Comic Arts Brooklyn

HTML Flowers & Booger Brie @ Comic Arts Brooklyn

Gabe Fowler @ @ Comic Arts Brooklyn

Hannah K. Lee & Michael DeForge @ Comic Arts Brooklyn

John Malta @ Comic Arts Brooklyn

Hannah K. Lee & Anne Ishii @ Comic Arts Brooklyn

Tyler Boss @ Comic Arts Brooklyn

Forth Wanderers @ Baby’s All Right

Told Slant @ Baby’s All Right

Palm @ SkyHigh Murals

Emily Yacina @ SkyHigh Murals


Alex G @ Baby’s All Right

Alex G @ Rough Trade

Krill @ DBTS

Krill @ Silent Barn

Krill @ Silent Barn

Frankie Cosmos @ Silent Barn

Frankie Cosmos @ Silent Barn

Big Ups @ Silent Barn

Big Ups @ Silent Barn

Florist @ The Marlin Room At Webster Hall

Ronald Paris @ Baby’s All Right

Ronald Paris @ Baby’s All Right

Vagabon @ Silent Barn

Dog Island @ Silent Barn

Jerry Paper @ Shea Stadium

Dog Date @ Palisades

Real Life Buildings @ Baby’s All Right

All Dogs @ The Marlin Room At Webster Hall

Frankie Cosmos @ The Marlin Room At Webster Hall

Glueboy @ Silent Barn

Stove @ Silent Barn

Majical Cloudz @ National Sawdust

Beach Fossils @ The Marlin Room At Webster Hall

Beach Fossils @ The Marlin Room At Webster Hall

PorchesDowntown @ The Studio Boys At @ Webster Silent Barn Hall

Frankie Cosmos @ The Studio At Webster Hall

Free Cake For Every Creature @ Palisades

Stabetha @ Webster Hall

Perfect Pussy @ The Studio At Webster Hall

Adult Mom @ Brooklyn Flea

The Empty Gestures @ Shea Stadium

Glueboy @ Shea Stadium

Long Beard @ Silent Barn

Fraternal Twin @ Silent Barn

Eskimeaux @ Baby’s All Right

Frankie Cosmos @ Baby’s All Right

Laced @ Baby’s All Right

Best Shows By Matthew James-Wilson

October 2nd @ Baby’s All Right

Eskimeaux/Told Slant/Attic Abasment/Real Life Buildings October 8th @ Baby’s All Right

Alex G/Ronald Paris/Forth Wanderers October 9th @ SkyHigh Murals

Alex G/Frankie Cosmos/Palm/Emily Yacina it seemed as though alex couldn’t help himself from smiling throughout this entire show, and i couldn’t really help myself either. i ended up seeing alex play three times in two days to celebrate the release of his first album on domino records, beach music, and each show was more satisfying than the last. it was so amazing to see this individual who had spent so much of his life working to get to the point where he was now and totally legitimizing his artistic craft to the point where he could live off of it. being in an ocean of enthusiastic kids in a warehouse that none of us had ever been in, and probably wouldn’t ever be in again, was a better situation than any to watch alex’s lengthy performance and celebrate his triumph.

October 13th @ Baby’s All Right

Frankie Cosmos/Mega Bog/Sheer Agony/Laced October 21st @ National Sawdust

Majical Cloudz/She-Devils i left this show feeling so warm and hollow at the same time. majical cloudz set was so enveloping that it truly made me feel the same way i felt the first time i ever listened to their music… which actually brought up a lot of feels for the person i was at that point in my life. their performance was so confident and convincing that i couldn’t help but feel stripped and empty by the time i returned to the sidewalk and walked to the train

October 22nd @ DBTS

Krill/Lvl Up/Cende October 23rd @ Silent Barn

Krill (Last Show)/Frankie Cosmos/Big Ups i cant really properly articulate how i felt at this show… krill was easily one of the greatest bands i’ve ever been able to live though, and their records and performances meant so much to me. this show served as a perfect funeral.

November 6th @ Silent Barn

Stove/Dog Island/Vagabon (Solo Set)/Glueboy/Tessa Skara November 13th @ Shea Staduim

Jerry Paper/GABI/Alice Cohen/Dougie Poole so many shining weirdos on one bill. by the time jerry paper went on, for what would be his last show in new york before moving across the country, i felt like nothing else could have subverted my expectations more. but lucas’ set certainly proved me wrong.

November 22nd @ The Marlin Room at Webster Hall

Frankie Cosmos/All Dogs/Eskimeaux/Florist December 1st @ Shea Stadium

Elvis Depressedly/Lvl Up/Yohuna

i felt flooded with emotions at this show. i was really excited about seeing lvl up and elvis depressedly playing again, and it was such a pleasure getting to see yohuna play their soothing set. but i was totally disarmed when a ran into my friend jonathan at the show and he shared this incredible news about a band that some friends were in. the news was so unbelievably positive and the band who it was referring to has meant so much to me for the past couple years, that i couldn’t control myself. i was so proud of what they had accomplished, and suddenly hearing this crazy news right in between lvl up and elvis depressedly’s sets caused me to reflect on how much had happened for so many bands that I’ve had the opportunity to become friends with, in the short amount of time i’ve been going to shows. elvis depressedly’s impassioned performance that followed, beautifully soundtracked the sudden shock of emotion :’’’)

December 2nd @ Webster Hall

Superchunk/Kurt Vile/Waxahatchee/Steve Gunn/ Parquet Courts/Lee Ranaldo/The Felice Brothers/ Rainer Maria/Woods/Torres/Titus Andronicus/ Beach Fossils/Perfect Pussy/Speedy Ortiz/Hop Along/Porches/Screaming Females/Frankie Cosmos i had no idea i was going to this show until about an hour before it happened. a couple months ago, i started working for katie garcia and dustin payseur, who run bayonet records, and it has been the single most positive working experience i’ve ever had in my life. on the night of this show, i was getting ready to leave the bayonet office, and just before leaving katie asked me if i wanted them to put me on the vip list for this insane “christmas party” show for ground control touring that dustin and greta were playing. how could i possibly say no? i quickly dropped my stuff off at home, grabbed my camera and headed to webster hall. once i arrived the venue was so over stimulating and each room was packed with all of the who’s-who of the new york music industry. it was so fun to see so many incredible musicians just excitedly watching all of the other incredible musicians sets back to back to back. katie and dustin introduced me to so many of their friends and made me feel just as welcome and comfortable as they did the first time i ever met them.

December 8th @ Irving Plaza

Deerhunter/Atlas Sound Decmber 20th @ Silent Barn

Long Beard/Fraternal Twin/Catholic Easter Colors/ 100%/Tim Woulfe

Shows I Wish I Had Gone To December 8th @ Palisades

Emily Yacina (EP Release Show)/Small Wonder/ Swoon Lake/Aviva Skye December 19th @ Palisades

Guerilla Toss/Eric Copeland (Acoustic Solo Set) FORGEARTMAG.COM 77

You Should Check Out... By Matthew James-Wilson


Slow Hollows

slow hollows is a band born our of desire and willingness. i first heard about them after hanging out with my friends nick rattigan, of surf curse and current joys, and reed kanter, the founder of the label slow hollows is on, danger collective records. the entire day, the band kept coming up in conversation, so when i got home i turned to the internet to figure out who they were. from the opening guitar melody to the closing one, slow hollows most recent album atelophobia stuck with me at first listen. the los angeles three piece’s second album, which came out last summer and was pressed for the first time and the end of this fall, has so much quiet force behind it. the sonic dynamics mirrors the back and forth emotion expressed by the the band’s songwriter, austin feinstein. the record fills any listener with a comforting sadness, and leaves a great first impression for what i’m sure is to be a much longer career for the band.

Emily Yacina

at the end of this fall emily yacina put out her most ambitious and textural release to date, really making a stride in a direction outside of her comfort zone. emily has experimented a lot through the releases she’s been consistently putting out on bandcamp for the past 5 or so years, but never nearly as much as she has on her new ep, soft stuff. emily’s haunting vocals and sweeping guitar playing, which she is known for both on her solo recordings and her collaborations with alex g and abi reimold, are still the focal point of soft stuff. but emily surrounds her previous recording method with much more odd and dissonant synth accompaniments, that really show growth in the artist’s craft. i had the pleasure of seeing emily live a few times this past year, and her performance although lacking much of the instrumentation from her recordings, were equally (if not more) enchanting *_* emily is clearly on the cusp of creating her most interesting work and soft stuff proves to be a huge gesture in moving her music in a new direction.

Free Downloads


post trash is the new music journalism site spearheaded by dan goldin, the co-founder of exploding in sound records who’s constant support of diy in boston and new york is responsible for the growth of tons of bands in both cities. post trash’s first compilation (which will hopefully be the first of many) is an incredibly extensive mix of unreleased tracks and demos from an array of bands and musicians who are friends of or are on exploding in sound. the compilation is available for free, but i would definitely encourage making a donation for it, considering all of the proceeds go to planned parenthood!


Bayonet Records

i’ve been exited about katie garcia and dustin payseur’s record label, bayonet records, since it was first announced, and that initial excitement for the label is what led me to meet katie in the first place. just less than year after shyly asking her if they needed help with the label at a show at the knitting factory, she and dustin asked me if i’d be interested in interning for them. even in the labels infancy katie and dustin have championed music that feels both unusual and relevant to today, enlisting artists like jerry paper, frankie cosmos, red sea, and warehouse to join their roster. I could not be more excited to see what shape the label takes during it’s first big year in 2016, and i’m still so honored to help them further their vision.

Master of None Soundtrack

master of none was certainly the most charming and good intentioned television show i watched this past year. beyond the great writing and casting, what really blew me away about the show was the soundtrack! the soundtrack has so much variety in music, that it seems as though it shouldn’t work at all. but somehow the range in time periods, textures, and tones of each of the songs on the soundtrack work perfectly to mirror the complexity of perspectives and attitudes in the show. pretty much the whole soundtrack is available as a playlist on spotify, and it’s already introduced me to sooooo much music that i wouldn’t have even thought to look up.



Profile for FORGE. Art Magazine

FORGE. Issue 10: Growth  

FORGE. is a quarterly submission based art magazine, with the sole purpose of showcasing the work of different artists on the internet and a...

FORGE. Issue 10: Growth  

FORGE. is a quarterly submission based art magazine, with the sole purpose of showcasing the work of different artists on the internet and a...

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