FORGE. Issue 9: Distance

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Lily Snowden-Fine “Having just moved away, leaving home and everything I associate with normality, Distance was an easy theme to relate to. I drew two girls video chatting on their laptops with all the things that separate them; both physical like buildings and transportation as well as emotional ties to places and items left behind. I tried to create a feeling of missing home and being away but also the happiness and excitement of a new experience. ” -Lily Snowden-Fine

Lily Snowden-Fine

gets me inspired and gets the ball rolling. In particular though I’ve admired Kaye Blegvad and Ping Zhu for a long time. Their colours and simplicity are beautiful.


What materials do you like to work with?


I think my favourite thing is to try new materials I’ve never worked with. I’m always discovering a new way to make a drawing more interesting and barely having started university yet I know I have tons more to learn. With all the mixes of things though, the boring old pencil is a trustworthy friend. I love the textures I can do with pencils and the range of shades with a basic HB.


What is your current location? Toronto, ON Where are you from? was born in London UK and then moved to Vancouver BC until I moved to Toronto for university. What is your current occupation? Currently just a student at OCAD U as well as performing improv on the side (no real job, I’m not a real person yet). Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? Mostly self taught and also just being around animator parents, but my high school had an arts program and that kept me working on it constantly. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? Oh man there’s too much. I keep a folder on my computer of images I’ve found of art I like and scrolling through that always

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? Right now just school and homework Is there any music you like to listen to while working? Usually Feist or a podcast. This American Life is a favourite. Where do you like to work? At my desk mostly, but sometimes if it’s small enough I’ll bring it to a coffee shop I like. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I remember drawing and writing lots of stories but with my terrible memory I don’t recall any specific drawings. However, I do remember this year going through some old boxes of art and finding a story about a worm with arms who had no money so


fixed it my borrowing his friend’s piano. Where do you like to work? I admire so many artists who’s work makes me excited and I’d

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like to be that for someone else. I’d like to feel that my art makes people excited or happy or inspired. Art isn’t much without a viewer.


Analogue Blues “This image where I’m looking out into the foggy distance with greenery all around me was taken in the very early morning after it had rained for some time. This place was right in front of my dormitory, and it was pretty interesting because there was snow on the ground, yet these plants were still thriving.” -Analogue Blues Name Analogue Blues Age 20 What is your current location? USA Where are you from?

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? Right now i’m slowly getting through a few rolls of film and taking my time with composing each image. Is there any music you like to listen to while working? If i’m shooting inside, folk music keeps me calm and helps me focus on the mood i’m trying to portray. If i’m shooting outside, the sound of nature around me is the best. Where do you like to work?

New York

Outside among the trees and shimmering sun (minus mosquitoes).

What is your current occupation?

What is one of your earliest memories of making art?

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

As a kid I liked to create my own magazines, and I also remember getting really into making my own paper dolls. I made about 70+ dolls, each with their own family, clothes, was very extensive, and embarrassingly I still have them.


What is one of your earliest memories of making art?

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

Just like many people inspire me with their work, I hope I can inspire others as well. However, my greatest wish is to capture images that can momentarily transport a person to that very moment, and whether it’s a faceless image, a portrait, or a scenic view, the feelings I felt at that very moment will also be felt by the viewer.

I’m mostly inspired by images that I find on Tumblr and Flickr. Also, music can help to create images in my mind. What materials do you like to work with? A camera, tripod, and shutter remote.


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Juli Majer Name Juli Majer Age 22 What is your current location? Vancouver, BC, Canada Where are you from? Vancouver, BC, Canada What is your current occupation? I work at a stationary shop and teach ceramics to kids. I also fill in occasional shifts at Lucky’s Comics (best shop in town).

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I am helping organize ‘KIOSK: A Reading Room’ in the Vancouver Art / Book Fair in October. We are providing space for independently published material and some small press groups in Vancouver to have their work on display and for sale. We also have our own programming during the fair which will include readings, performances, philosophy discussions, and sounds from some of our favourite local artists working in print. Also I am part of a small press publishing collective called DDOOGG. We are working on an anthology for the Vancouver Art / Book Fair, and we will have a small display in the Kiosk room as well. After all this book fair biz, I will be working on doing a book with Portland based publishing group Grid Lords. Is there any music you like to listen to while working?

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

Genderdog, Mourning Coup, Danny Majer, Stefana Fratila, Whitney K, Aaron Read, Cowboy City Rockers, Weed, Ramzi

Last spring I finished up my BFA at Emily Carr University. I focused on sculpture and ceramics.

Where do you like to work?

What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? As of recently Gunta Stolzl’s weavings. I get a lot of inspiration from movies.. Right now I really love scenes in movies with talking severed heads, like in Alien and Re-Animator. if anyone knows of anymore movies with talking severed heads let me know! What materials do you like to work with? Progresso pencil crayons, black wing pencils and some markers I got from crystal mall.

Either at the library or in bed. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? Drawing a flower with my dad, then accusing him of copying me. What do you hope to accomplish with your work? With my personal work, drawing, ceramics, comics, whatever, I want to work hard to find a comfortable and honest space of producing. Understand the shapes in my own stream, and ways to be active in it. In terms of Kiosk and DDOOGG, these projects provide me with a means to interact with and encourage a lot of different artists whom I find endlessly inspiring.


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Emily Harter “The first thing ‘distance’ makes me think of is missing someone, feeling distance from a person. I think that feeling is always the strongest right before you go to sleep. If you’re in love with someone, there’s no way they’re not gonna be the main thing on your mind at the end of your day. I tried to focus on that feeling, when you’re lying in bed thinking about someone, and maybe you’ve got their shirt on or something like that. And you’re thinking about them so much that in your mind its almost like they’re there with you. I tried to represent that in a more visual, mythical kind of way in this piece. There are the real people that are physically there and then there’s this foggy representation of the person they’re thinking about. Because they’re witches, it’s supposed to be like they conjured up a stand in for the person they want to be sleeping with, but it could be seen in a more abstract, dreamy manner too.” -Emily Harter Name

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

Emily Harter

Where are you from?

Definitely the most influential media to me has been stuff that features modern day witchcraft and themes related to that. Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been a huge inspiration since middle school. I’m also a big fan of Simon Hanselmann’s comic “Megg, Mogg, and Owl”. Aesthetically, I take a lot from 1950’s horror comics (Tales From the Crypt, Witches’ Tales, etc) and earlier seasons of The Simpsons. There’s also a weird level of ‘Archie Comics’ influence that somehow made its way in there subconsciously. Also, music. Lately, Speedy Ortiz, Mitski, and Eskimeaux have been meaning a lot to me and my work. I really like what the people in those bands are about.

Pleasantville, New York

What materials do you like to work with?

What is your current occupation?

I call myself a printmaker a lot. Silkscreen is really my favorite thing to work with. I’m in high school now though, so I don’t really have access to a professional level studio or anything, which is limiting. That stands to change in the future, but for now I’m doing a lot of mixed media stuff with gouache and colored pencils and some oil painting.

Age 17 What is your current location? Pleasantville, New York

High school senior and part-time barista Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I’ve taken art classes throughout all of high school. Before that, I did an after school program for 8 years, and now I help teach it. I’ve also done a few summer printmaking programs.

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? Right now it’s all college apps mainly, haha. But when that’s over I’m putting out a new issue of my serial zine, MOONZINE! It has


a lot of good stuff. I got a lot of really great submissions and an interview with Sadie from Speedy Ortiz, which is pretty big for me. I’m also trying to have a solo show at the coffee shop I work at but I’m not sure my work is inoffensive enough for my boss to let me put it up. Is there any music you like to listen to while working? I listen to music when I work pretty much 100% of the time. Like I said before, I’m pretty much all about Speedy Ortiz, Mitski, and Eskimeaux right now. I also listen to a lot of Krill (RIP) and Porches. Where do you like to work? I love working in a shared studio space with other people. I spend a lot of time in the school art room but my time there is really fragmented because of academic classes so that makes it hard. I love going to a friend’s house and just putting on some music and making art together but most of the time that doesn’t happen. We just get food and watch a movie or something.

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What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I took this one after school art class for eight years starting in kindergarten. It was run by this guy who was a professional illustrator and just an amazingly creative and smart dude. I learned about composition and color theory and stuff like that way earlier than a lot of people because of the class, so I really owe a lot to it. I never really stopped taking it, actually. I just assist the teacher now. But the things I did there were really the first thoughtful pieces I can remember making. What do you hope to accomplish with your work? Right now I use my work to sort of emphasize certain parts of me that I don’t get to express as often as I’d like to. Like, I’m totally in love with my friends and my community, but it does feel very isolating to be a queer witch in a small town. So my work has for a while has just been expanding on this big abstract world where everyone’s a gay teen witch. I don’t know what I’m going to be feeling when I end up leaving Pleasantville but I’d just love to take this as far as I can. It would be the best thing for my work to resonate with other small town queer people. I guess that’s kind of the goal.


Jonathan Dyck “I’ll often just draw panels and figure out, as I go, how to fill them. With this piece, I ended up using a six-panel grid to explore the theme of distance from a less objective position: how it can be internalized, how it can be intimate, projected, imaginary.” -Jonathan Dyck Name

What materials do you like to work with?

Jonathan Dyck

Pencil, India ink and some combination of nib and brush. I also like working with lino, if I have access to a press.

What is your current location? Montreal, QC Where are you from? Southern Manitoba (across the border from North Dakota) What is your current occupation? Freelance designer/illustrator, etc. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I just finished a diploma in graphic design. My program included a lot of drawing classes but not much in the way of fine arts training. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? I’m always collecting images from old books and other print materials; a lot of it tends to be early to mid-twenthieth-century stuff. I love the drawings of Walter Crane and the woodcuts of Rockwell Kent, to drop a few names. I recently finished reading Bento’s Sketchbook, John Berger’s book on drawing, and I’m currently hooked on Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels. I also read a lot of comics and I’m inspired by how different artists have messed around with cartooning’s formal constraints, the way it overlap and sometimes conflicts with illustration.

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? Right now I’m illustrating/designing a label for a fermented drink called Fire Cider and working with the editors at GUTS Magazine on our next issue. I’m also working towards a zine of comics that will hopefully materialize someday. Is there any music you like to listen to while working? Maybe it’s because I love his art/animations and how they’ve informed his music, but I usually put on Chad VanGaalen when I’m making comics. I often let my iPod’s shuffle dictate what I’m listening to when I’m working, but lately it’s been Vince Staples, Lower Dens, Faith Healer, Sade, Weed, and occasionally I’ll just binge on some Sting. Where do you like to work? I try to work outdoors whenever possible but I usually end up in my bedroom. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? When I young I didn’t really like drawing on paper. I would decorate objects around the house, draw on tables and other furniture. At school, this would get me into trouble but at home it didn’t seem to be a huge problem.


What do you hope to accomplish with your work? Something beneficial to the lived realities of others. For myself: some peace of mind. I suppose the two are related.

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Liz Barr “This piece is from a Christmas gift I made for my partner, Jean. We’re long-distance, with Jean in Chicago and me in Philly, and we’ve been together for 2 years now. The gift was a risograph-printed book of some of our goodnight texts to each other, plus this illustration of us texting each other, and another of us Skyping. Jean makes comics, and we both love zines, so I thought it would be a sweet gift. I generally make a lot of work that involves imagery of texting, video-chatting, emoji, etc. I’m sure part of that is influenced by being in a long-distance relationship, but I’m also very interested in digital aesthetics and incorporating them into physical pieces. Though the term is maybe inextricably linked with unfortunate, crotchety think-pieces about young people, I proudly identify as a millennial, and I want my work to reflect the time and place I live in. And part of where I live is the internet. ” -Liz Barr Name Liz Barr Age

nia. I’ve taught myself to do some things, like embroidery, but I’ve been formally trained in drawing, painting, photography, screen-printing, etc. I’m very lucky to have had access to so many classes and resources throughout my life. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

Newark, DE

I’m inspired a lot by art and design I see online, especially on tumblr. I’m inspired in general by the internet and pop culture. I also get to see a lot of amazing exhibitions by being involved with the ICA. As far as contemporary artists, I’m very inspired by Lorna Simpson, Glenn Ligon, Jenny Holzer, Juliana Huxtable, Alex Da Corte, and Erin Riley. Lately, Nicole Eisenman, Jennifer Bartlett, and Anna Valdez have all made me want to get back into painting. I’m also very inspired by my friends, especially my partner Jean Cochrane.

What is your current occupation?

What materials do you like to work with?

I just finished a summer internship at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Philly, and this fall I’ll be working at the print shop on my school’s campus. I’m also about to start working at Philly AIDS Thrift, the best thrift store in the city, that is also a non-profit that benefits AIDS Fund. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught?

I don’t really have one medium I stick to so I call myself “interdisciplinary” when people ask me. Being an art student (at least at my school) means I have to take lots of different classes and try out lots of different media, but also in general, my mediumchoice varies a lot depending on the specific project. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of digital photography and digital collage, embroidery, making gifs, making zines, printmaking, object-making, etc. I also do graphic design and illustration.

I’m currently a Fine Arts student at the University of Pennsylva-

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently

21 What is your current location? Philadelphia Where are you from?


working on? Well I’m about to go into my senior year, which means I’ll be working on a thesis project soon. I don’t know what form it will take yet, but it will probably involve photography and installation. This summer, my main project was making and printing a zine called “Guilty Pleasures in the Age of the Problematic Fave.” Is there any music you like to listen to while working? I always listen to music while I work, and it’ll vary depending on my mood. Usually when I’m screen-printing, I’ll listen to The Pinkprint on repeat because it keeps me going. Besides that these days, I listen to a lot of Mitski, Eskimeaux, Hop Along, Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, and Whatever, Dad. I make a lot of playlists too, usually to send to Jean, but also for myself. Where do you like to work? I do almost everything in my room, in my bed, when I can. But some projects require going to the print shop or specific studio classrooms at my school. I’m going to get a senior studio this year so maybe that will change my habits, but for now, I do as

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much work from bed as I can, haha. I also take photos all the time, everywhere I go. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I don’t really remember this, but the story I hear all the time from my mom is that when I was like 4, I drew an amazing reproduction of the Teletubbies without even tracing, and that’s how they knew I’d be an artist. I remember drawing all the time as a kid, though. I got really into drawing the animals in Zoobooks, and later on, I drew my celebrity crushes Johnny Depp and Gene Kelly from posters and DVD covers. What do you hope to accomplish with your work? That’s a big question. Different projects serve different purposes. A lot of it involves documenting my life, but my hope is that it’s relatable for people and not just narcissistic or self-serving. Some of my work is political and some is more light-hearted, but I want all of it to be accessible. I think the biggest thing I would like to accomplish with my work is accessibility. I want to make things that people can enjoy or think deeply about without having studied art or art history or gender studies or philosophy.


Kiani Ferris “My work exhibits the relationship between a physical and mental dissociation. This may be displayed through a literal splicing of body, or through a portrayal of fleeting consciousness. Though bodily and cerebral fragmentations are two dissimilar things, both elements work in unison, forming a cohesive parallel. ” -Kiani Ferris

Kiani Ferris

I currently attend The Cooper Union, which is the first extremely formal art education I have received. I didn’t ever think I would attend art school, so I am very grateful and fortunate.


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

18 What is your current location?

Zines! I find them everywhere in the city, it’s really a great way to discover artists, writers, and musicians that you may not have experienced otherwise.

New York, NY

What materials do you like to work with?

Where are you from?

I’m most comfortable with graphite, as that is what I have had the most training with, but I am really open to other materialsready to absorb what art school has to offer!


Seattle, WA What is your current occupation? Full time student at the Cooper Union School of Art. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? When I lived in Seattle, I took studio classes at Gage Academy of Art, and I also attended their program called Teen Art Studios. This is a free, no sign up required, weekly class. I always appreciated this program Gage offers to the Seattle youth. Art is hard, often times intimidating, and let alone expensive. The fact that this organization offers a free space (and free pizza) for teenagers to engage in art makes me so happy. Without this program, many youths may never have a chance to involve themselves in artistic practices. This program makes art approachable, which is an important part my philosophy.

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I started a zine called “Biracial Bandit,” a submission based zine made by and for multiracial individuals. Youths from across the country have sent me their art, poetry, selfies, stories, and so on. I’m currently working on getting the zine circulated in college libraries, art galleries, and various organizations. I am very much interested in zine making and distribution, as I find it to be very clear way for people of all economic backgrounds to own physical copies of and experience art. Please feel free to submit at anytime! Chances are you will be featured in the zine.


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

What is one of your earliest memories of making art?

Most of the portraits I make are of friends, loved ones, or people I know. When I work on portraiture, I listen to music that the subject of the piece likes. I secretly think that it makes the end result better. However, King Krule and Cocorosie are usually my #1 choices.

Ultimately, I hope to create some sort of platform in which adolescents are inspired to make work of their own. As I’ve said before, I’m really into accessibility in the art world. I firmly believe that individuals of all backgrounds should have the ability to participate in the beauty of creation, which is a reason why I love Gage’s Teen Art Studios.

Where do you like to work? Nowhere in particular. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I remember one day when I was about 4 years old my parents gave me a wooden chair to paint. My logical conclusion to this situation was to ignore the chair and paint my entire body. I guess this was my earliest art making experience? Who knows.

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I’m not sure where my work will evolve, but I know that I want it to target and involve adolescents who may not have access to a surplus of art supplies and other resources. Whether this means I work solely in the “zine industry,” participate in an organization, or simply make art of my own, if I am able to connect with others venturing into the art world, I will be happy.




Lauren Martin successfully applies the same excitement, techniques, and sensibilities to the

many mediums she throws herself at. From oil painting, to animating for The BJ Rubin Show, to designing and screen-printing t-shirts for Frankie Cosmos, Lauren is simply happy to take on whatever projects are placed before her. Like so many others from this emerging generation of artists, Lauren owes a lot of her education to Youtube tutorials as well as hours of laborious practice through personal ventures like making almost all of the clothes she wears. Now, months away from finishing her degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Lauren is gleefully anticipating the various creative endeavors that are soon to fill up her life.

Where are you from and where do you live currently? I’m from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and I still live there in the same house that I grew up in. Are you trained at all in your field of art, or are you primarily self taught? Yes and no. It’s like 50/50. A lot of my drawing skills were self taught. I did go to fine art school, but that was more to polish up my skills. But a lot of the textile stuff I do I learned at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), where I go now. What was your experience like at the fine arts university you attended? What made you decide to transfer to FIT? Well I started with fine arts, mostly becasue I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I went to this school called The National Academy, mainly becasue they didn’t require any liberal arts courses, so I could just go and draw all day. At first I really loved it and I was learning so much and I was having a great time. The only problem was that I was probably 20 years younger than the youngest person there other than myself, so it was really isolating and lonely just being the only person in my age group. So I decided to take a year off. Then during that year off I started learning how to knit and learning how to sew, and realized that I actually really liked fashion, textiles, and clothing. So I decided to apply to FIT for their textile design major. I got in so… the rest is history, haha. How has living in New York impacted your work? I guess, exposure to a lot of art from a really young age. I grew up across the park from the MET (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) and I would go a lot growing up. Also just having a lot of like-minded creative friends who I met through going to school here. Greta (Kline) has been a big influence on my work as well, just being such a creative person. So having friends who are also from New York has definitely benefitted me as an artist, I would say.


Has illustration always been the main format that you’ve worked in? I started out being a portrait artists, first and foremost. I started doing portraits in high school, and that’s what I mainly studied at The National Academy — formal fine art portraiture — like having a model standing in front of you. Then I started to use the computer a little bit more and doing more illustrative work. I found that using the computer gave me more of the freedom to do something crazy, where as I felt like if I was using paper I was going to stick to what I knew and try to not mess it up becasue the materials cost me money. Working on the computer, I kind of feel like I can just do whatever I want. It’s actually really freeing to have that as a way to work. Like, you can’t mess up! So I would say my illustration started when I learned how to use photoshop when I started at FIT. That also helped me to translate that into working with screen printing, becasue when you’re working on the computer it makes it really easy to print your stuff on vellum and shoot a screen. How did that illustrative work that you started doing transition into your textile work? The textile stuff that I started doing was very traditional — basically what you learn how to do at school. It wasn’t until last year when I realized “Oh, I can combine my fine arts skills with this ability to create repeats and all over patterns that have no direction to make one thing.” I started combining my ability to draw faces and actual figures with what I learned in textile design, which was just like florals, and made that into my brand of textile designs. What was your first experience in the DIY music scene in New York, and what impression did that leave on you? It’s so funny. So I started going to shows when I was like 15 or 16 with my friend Owen (Kline), who’s Greta’s older brother. The first show that I remember going to was at this venue called STFO, which was this girls basement. She had this really amazing house, so it was in the basement of her parents townhouse. I think it was Fiasco who played, and I remember I crowd surfed for the first time and I was like “Wow! This is what it feels like to be cool! I want to be cool now!” hahaha. Of course, I always really loved music, but that was my first time going to a show with people my own age that wasn’t at Webster Hall or something, so that was a really good introduction to what was out there. Then I just started going to a lot more shows with Owen and Greta. In 2009 when I was 17 and Greta was 15 we worked for Showpaper, and part of our job was to work the doors of DIY shows. I just learned about tons of shows, and tons of musicians, and really got into the scene that summer. I became a real person, haha. That’s also how I met BJ (Rubin). I worked the door at his show. Did your entrance into the DIY scene just start with kids throwing their own house shows, and then gradually transition into regularly going to more “legitimate” DIY venues? Yeah! The first few shows I went to were just people’s houses. It was only kids. There were no adults there and there was no one like “running” the shows. It was all people my own age, which was really cool. It was cool to meet people young who were doing stuff, becasue I kind of always felt confined to the fact that I was a teenager and like “I can’t do anything until I’m an adult. My life sucks.” It was great to see people who were my age at the time being the ones in charge. That was really inspiring for me. Then later on when I got older and I was an adult, the people running the shows were adults as well. But from the ages of about 16 to 18, I was just with my own age group — we were the ones running the show. Of course, when I worked for Showpaper, we had bosses. But all of the shows before that were all kid run, which was cool.




What was the experience like working at Showpaper? I found out about the job through Greta. It was Me, Greta, her friend Eliza (Doyel), Julian (Bennett Holmes), and our friend Jack Wolf. We were working for Joe Ahearn, who currently lives at Silent Barn and runs Clocktower Gallery, and our job was to book the benefit shows. So for the concerts that Showpaper would throw where bands wouldn’t get paid, all of the proceeds would go to fund Showpaper. I don’t know how we got that job, but we were in charge of booking those shows — of course under Joe’s supervision. He wasn’t just like “Do whatever you want!” So we were in charge of booking those, and a lot of the jobs were like making cold calls to people and being like “Hey, you’re in a band! Would you want to play this thing?” and a lot of the responses being “No!” and sometimes, very rarely, people being like “Yeah sure!” We had a couple of really fun shows. Then the other part of our job was to walk around the city distributing Showpaper; just going to coffee shops saying “Hey! Would you mind putting this near your register?” and stuff like that. So it was half really fun, and half really boring. But it was a really great experience over all. It was just that one summer. By the end of that summer I didn’t feel I needed to do it again. It was really good, but it was a lot of like dealing with people in bands who can kind of be crazy. We had more than one occasion where we booked a show and everything seemed confirmed, and then the day before I would text the people in the band and be like “Do you need anything from me? What time do you think you’re going to get there?” and then they would say “Oh I forgot. Sorry, I can’t do it.”

How did you start working on the BJ Rubin show? So I first met BJ that same summer at Showpaper. He threw a comedy show at Monster Island’s basement in 2009 and I worked the door. It was him, some other Daily Show comedians, and his friend Kevin Shea. Then at the end he played an episode of the show Brass Eye, which is now my favorite show ever. I just remember being like “Who is this guy? He’s so crazy and weird.” so I staked him on the internet for a while, and eventually we became friends. Then 8 months later we started dating. Then maybe about half a year later he started the BJ Rubin Show, and I just helped. I did what I could at the time, which was not much, but eventually I learned how to do (Adobe) Flash and how to do animations for the show. A lot of it was self taught over the years, just fiddling around with the computer. But yeah, that’s how I got involved. Just being around. What has you’re role been on the BJ Rubin show since you first started? Did you suggest a lot of the animation stuff you’ve done for episodes, or did BJ ask you to start doing animations? Well we had very different ideas of what the show was. Of course it’s his show, but I was really influence by Tim & Eric, so I was like “BJ I think this could be really funny if you just let me please edit one episode.” So I got to edit the episode In Space, which is still to this day like my favorite episode of the show. I did a graphic for that episode, which was different than any of the graphics I did up until then, and I realized “Oh, this is how I could do it.” So a lot of it was just him giving me the chance to work on that one episode and then me kind of like figuring it out from there and being like “Oh, this is how it could look if I did this and that.” I actually started out animating everything frame by frame in photoshop, which was a nightmare. But those graphics actually look really cool — they’re just insane. Then I learned how to do flash later on. So yes it was him asking me to do it, but also editing that episode really helped to show me how it could be done. You’ve been making a lot of the Frankie Cosmos merch for a while now. What’s the process like making each of the designs and doing the screenprinting? The process of actually making the designs is really hard to explain. It usually just comes from me doodling, and then getting an idea from the doodle, and then making it into a fully rendered illustration. Then I shoot the screens at the screen printing lab and we printing everything at her house. I think the buildings one is the most successful design so far, and that one was just me doodling and then being like “What if I made the buildings into letters?” In terms of printing, Greta and I just do it at her parents house. It’s not professional at all, haha. It’s really a funny set up. It’s usually me printing, and then Greta running back and forth laying done a new shirt after I finish printing one. It’s not efficient at all, but it works. BJ helps sometimes too. When did you start designing the merch? I approached Greta about it. I had just finished taking one of my first screen printing classes, and I kind of realized that I could be helpful to her. So I kind of just said to her “Hey, what would you think about me designing a t-shirt for you?” and she was just like “Yeah! Of course!” That’s kind of how it came about. It wasn’t like formal at all. I don’t remember exactly what the timing was, in terms of whether it was before or after the album (Zentropy) came out. I think it was probably after, and I was realizing that she had a much bigger fan base than what I had thought — I mean of course, I love her music, but I didn’t know that other people did. It was cool in that sense to be like “Oh, there’s a market for this. Let’s make a shirt.” So that’s how it



came about. I seized an opportunity. Do you want to do more work like that for other people in the future? I would definitely take any offer! I’m really into collaboration. The only criteria would be; I have to like your band and I have to like you as a person. Then it’s like “Whatever you want!” T-shirt design is such a fun way to market your band! For me, a lot of the time growing up, I really loved going to see bands, but I also really loved having the proof that I had seen them. Do you know what I mean? Like it’s one thing to be like “Yeah, I got to see whoever play.” but it’s another thing to wear the shirt to school the next day. I think that t-shirts really help promote people’s bands, and also especially help the ego of young kids and make them feel like “Hey, I fit in to this group!” I always felt that way at least. I still have lots of band shirts from high school. You told me a while ago that you make almost all of the clothes you wear. When did you start making your own clothes? I started making my own clothes about three or four years ago. It was right before I started at FIT actually. My mom went to FIT for fashion design, so we had a sewing machine here. I’ve always been interested in making my own clothes, but I stared actually trying to seriously do it like three or four years ago. I took a sewing class at FIT and I really loved it and obsessively researched online how to sew different things and different pattern companies — just learning totally on my own, using Youtube as my tutor. I’d say I’m about 75% self taught in that category. But the sewing class definitely helped with keeping things looking a little more professional and neat. Yeah, it’s a total obsession now. I hate buying clothes. How do you feel Youtube has enabled young people to teach themselves skills? What affect do you think that has had on the current generation of students? I think that Youtube is the greatest resource in the world. I use it for everything. I taught myself how to knit, I taught myself how to sew, I taught myself how to crochet — even screen printing stuff. You can look it all up online. I think it’s so great, especially becasue I don’t know a lot of people to ask. I don’t really have anyone who I can be like “How do you sew this thing?” But the internet knows! Whenever people ask me “How did you learn to sew? Can you teach me how to sew?” I’m always like “Honestly, look it up on Youtube. I don’t think a person could have taught me any better than the Youtube videos did.” I know there’s a person behind making the videos, but the camera angles make it as though you’re looking through their eyes — you’re not like behind their shoulder. It’s like they have a GoPro strapped to their face while they’re just sewing a seam. It’s actually pretty amazing. Even in the sewing class, I would say I learned a lot, but when you’re in a class room with 20-something other people you can’t really see what your instructor is doing at the machine, becasue you’re behind someone, or you’re distracted by whatever is happening. When you’re just watching youtube, and you’ve got your computer right next to your sewing machine, you can see exactly what to do. It’s just so much easier. I mean, of course if I had like a private tutor, that I guess, better than a Youtube video. But like, who has that? Have you gotten interested in techniques, that you weren’t even aware of, through tutorials online? Oh, for sure! Almost everything that I’m interested in, I’m interested in becasue of following Youtube tutorials and clicking the next video in the series. So many things have sprung up



from that. Especially with screen printing, becasue there are so many different types of screen printing you can do, like hot foil printing, or puff printing. It’s crazy. You can get stuck in hole. A very fun black hole. Pattern and texture are really big elements in your work across each of the mediums you work with. Is that something you’ve been consciously experimenting with, or has your work naturally gone in that direction? I’m aware that I have a style, but I’m not really sure where it comes from. I guess just experimenting. Especially with the animations, you can really see them transform from the very beginnings to what they are now. It was just kind of figuring out what I thought looked good. My early animations were kind of limited to what I was able to do, and as I got better and better I was able to more freely explore my style. I would also say my illustrations are influenced by my animations for the BJ Rubin show, becasue with that I have ultimate freedom. BJ loves crazy wild stuff, so I just kind of do whatever I want on that show. Then I think “Oh, that looks really cool. I can use that for textiles or I can use that for illustrations or I can use that for the t-shirts.” I think the style sort of grew from just messing around. Do you feel like the experimental stuff you’ve been able to do outside of school has informed your work, more so than the what you’ve done in school? Yeah definitely. The stuff that I’ve done for school is not very creative at all. I would say that the work that I’ve done outside of school has been done with much less of an idea of what it would be used for, and I’ve just tried to make something that looks really cool. With school there’s always the idea of “Who is going to buy this?” especially with textile design because it’s such a business. It’s not really fine art, it just has to sell. So the stuff I make outside of school is really what I would consider my own work, and the stuff that I do in school is just like what some idiots are going to buy, haha. What are things you feel you’ve specifically benefitted from school? What are things you feel you’ve learn from making work outside of school? School taught me neatness, discipline, and a work ethic I don’t really think I had before — which is amazing and I’m so happy for that. I think that school really helped me to become more of a business person, in a way. School has really made me more aware of that in a great way. Outside of school I’ve learned that, if it looks really cool — even if you don’t thing it’s very sellable to a mass market audience — cool people will like it. With the Frankie Cosmos t-shirts, I don’t think I could necessarily sell them in say Sears, which is honestly where the big bucks in textiles are, where middle America shops. But if you’re making something cool, cool people will buy it. So there is a market for everything, I’ve learned, as long as it looks good. Who are some artists who’ve had a big impact on you and your work? Moomins. I actually really love Tove Jansson’s work, I think she’s so amazing. I also really love Bauhaus art and architecture. Josef Albers has had a huge influence on me. I love how clean and severe his art work is. I kind of like really cold art, haha! Like art that leaves you feeling empty. Even Ellsworth Kelly — I think he’s such a freak. I love his art. It’s so dumb and great. Dumb isn’t the right word, but those canvases are just one color and it makes you so mad becasue you’re like “How could that be in a museum? Anyone could do that.” But the feeling that it leaves you, this hollow feeling, is so severe and so empty. Wow, this is a weird answer. I also love normal art too!



Becasue I studied portraiture for so long, I love neoclassical portrait painters. (Jean-AugusteDominique) Ingres is one of my favorite painters of all time. Hans Holbein. (Johannes) Vermeer — I have a couple Vermeer paintings in my room. Yeah, I love portraiture and I love mad Scandinavian and German art, haha! I don’t know. I don’t like anything! I either like it all, or I don’t like anything. Who are some contemporary artists who’ve have a big impact on you and your work? I really like the movies by the Safdie Brothers. They went to my high school. I think their movies are so beautiful. Daddy Long Legs was a really touching film and I found it really inspiring. Our friend Geoff Duncanson — I don’t know if you’ve met him — he was at Paper Jam this year. He makes comics that I think are so funny and so creative. He started making them way later in life. I’m not sure how old he is — he’s older than BJ — but he started making them like two years ago and he’s so good. His work is really inspiring to me. Also Owen (Kline), I think his movies are amazing! Greta (Kline), as we know, her music is great. David Earl Buddin, the composer, is a huge influence on me. He got me into a lot of music that I would never listen to otherwise, and he got me more interested in music that is harder to listen to. He has made me a much better consumer of music than I was before.


What do you think keeps people from starting their own projects when they’re younger? I would say, from my own experience, what stopped me from pursuing everything when I was younger was the fear of failing. I think, especially for young people, when you have an idea and you want to see it become something or a finished product and it doesn’t work out, it’s particularly disappointing. I had so many bad endings to projects when I was a teenager. This was also before things like Youtube, which can really help you out, and I was doing everything on my own and it wasn’t really a hit. I also think kids want their first try to be good, and sadly sometime it takes like more than 10 tries. I think not having patience really prevents people from getting to where they’re going as kids. I know that was my problem for a long time — just not wanting to do it twice. Do you think the access that young people have to Youtube and rest of the internet has made it easier for them to succeed or even just produce the work that they want to produce? Yeah! It’s a different world now than it was even six years ago and if I had the tools that I have now, I don’t know where I’d be! I think that access to the internet really really changed the way that I can work. Even things like Pinterest — it’s just so good for finding inspiration. As a kid I found the library really intimidating, because I didn’t really know where to look or how to find interesting things that could inspire me. But now it’s just at everyones fingertips and you can search for anything. I’m actually like, really jealous of kids who are coming of age right now becasue I think that their art is going to be amazing. But I’m also young enough that it’s still influencing the way that I’m going to work for the rest of my life in a really positive way. I’m really excited. Are there any projects you would like to embark on, that you just don’t have the time or money for at the moment? I feel like my mind goes a mile a minute and I always have things that I want to do and I just don’t have the means to accomplish them yet. A goal of mine has always been to have my own line of clothing — but I mean you need a lot of people to help you with that. You can’t really just do it on your own. But it would be cool to make a clothing line or a house-wear line or a jewelry line. I’d love to make large scale screen prints on a canvas. I just want to do everything. It’s impossible! Then — it’s not that I don’t have the money for this — but I also love writing music. I don’t know. I just want to do it all. It actually makes me kind of sad to thing of how many things I can’t do right now. What do you hope to accomplish with your work? I’ve never really been the type to find meaning within my own art work. But I love when other people find something with in my art work. So I think my goal, ultimately, would be to have people really love my art and have it touch them and make them feel really special. I think with making clothing, you can access more people in that way. I think t-shirt design is a really good way to display art because anyone can wear it and feel special without having to pay a lot of money. That’s kind of where I see my art going; making really accessible affordable art for anyone, and have it be practical at the same time. So like objects or clothes or things you can have at your house — that’s where I see my art going ultimately. We’ll see.





Greta Kline and the massive amount of work she’s produced in the few years that she has been active, have so critically

impacted my approach to making art and presenting it to the world, that it’s sort of hard to even pinpoint what it was like before accidentally stumble upon her music just over a year ago. I’m pretty certain that this is true for a lot people who’ve come in contact with the music by the young woman behind Frankie Cosmos. Greta’s music is an odd juxtaposition of being public about what feels private and very much reflects a world where a teenage girl can release a 40+ album discography of demos, available to anyone who’s willing to give them a listen. Since the release of her first studio album Zentropy, put out by the tour de force indie label Double Double Whammy in March of 2014, Frankie Cosmos has garnered critical acclaim and a cult status online and offline. Despite only having one “properly recorded” studio album out, and another one soon to be released with Bayonet Records, Greta’s achingly sincere songwriting and endearing presence have really helped fill a void in contemporary indie music where their hasn’t been so much genuineness in the past couple of decades.

She and her romantic/musical partner Aaron Maine (of Porches.) have created a whole mythos of characters, motifs, and

symbols that only add the already mystifying creative output they have done collectively and alone. I met Greta for the first time the day that I moved to New York City at a show she played at the MoMA, which I designed a poster for. After meeting Greta she introduced me to the DIY scene in New York that her brother introduced her to as a young person, and since then I owe a lot of the friendships I’ve made and experiences I’ve had living here to her and her music. Just over a year after seeing Frankie Cosmos perform for the first time, I met up with Greta in Prospect Park to conduct this interview. At this point, after all that has happened, all I can really say is that there is an immense power behind Greta’s music, and it has only just begun to crystalize within the collective consciousness that surrounds it.

Where are you from and where do you live currently? I’m from New York City, and I currently live in New York City. Manhattan is my home. Are you trained at all in music, or are you primarily self taught? I studied classical piano for like 10 years, and I took electric bass lessons in 5th grade. Then everything else is self taught pretty much. I figured out guitar from there. What made you choose to learn the bass? I don’t really even remember. When I was in 5th grade my aunt’s boyfriend wanted to teach me bass. So he lent me a bass, which is still the bass that David (Maine) uses in our band now. It’s on loan, haha. He taught me all of the the classic funky bass lines. One of the first ones I remember learning was the “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5 bass line. Some of that kind of stuff. It was like every Friday for all of 5th grade.

How has living in New York impacted you and your work? For me — I think I didn’t realized it when I was younger — but now I realize how lucky it is to live in a place where you can go to shows when you’re a kid. I feel like a lot of places do have real all ages scenes, and growing up here was really useful in that way. My older brother showed me all of this music and would take me out to shows. We could just go to Death By Audio any day and just find a new band that was playing there. So if you were interested in music you could be propelled into being more interested in music becasue you were encouraged to go to different places. There was a lot more all ages stuff going on then, I think. The shows that I play now are sometimes not all ages, and it’s sad, but there are still so many places like Shea Stadium and Silent Barn that are all ages. For me when I was a kid there was the old Silent Barn and like house shows and stuff. I feel like for me that was the thing about New York that I really liked. And being told “You have the freedom to go on the subway!” You can get yourself somewhere — you don’t have to know how to drive. You could be like 13 and you could go to a place. That, I think, was what I liked about growing up in New York. It was cool becasue of that.


Has music always been your main artistic output? I know that you’ve studied poetry and made a lot of comics in the past. When I was a kid I was really interested in visual art. I really wanted to try drawing comics and paint. I still paint and recently Elaiza Santos showed me how to make wooden pins. I got really obsessed with collaging them and painting them. But I think I kind of gave up on visual art really fast. I tried a lot of forms of visual art. I went a “creative” day-camp for a long time where I took sculpture and painting classes and whatever. But it was always very clear that it was going to be my older brother who did all of that stuff, so I was kind of discouraged. I was like “Oh he’s the artists” and decided not to even waste the paper on trying to be a visual artists. I was always studying music, so when I was 13 I became interested in writing songs. I think all those sort of art scenes have gone hand in hand for me. I mean I definitely don’t know if I’m in an art scene, but I think it’s cool that Silent Barn has a zine fair or stuff like that where you’re encouraged to notice both things. I always made zines and stuff when I was a kid. Part of it was that I learned that that’s what punk was, so I thought it would be cool to make an art zine and then not give it to anyone. I think I just learned that it went hand in hand with music, even when I was just an on looker in music and not performing.

You’ve obviously gone to a certain level of publicness with your music. Do you want to do the same with your visual arts, or do you like having that work just be for you? I really don’t make a lot of art in that way. I mean I do sell visual art becasue I make these pins and sold them on tour. On my first tour I made zines and comics and brought them to shows, and that was my merch. But I think that’s as far as I want to take it. Me and Allyssa (Yohana) and Gabby (Smith) were talking about making a comic blog. We got the URL and the the tumblr and we scanned a bunch of art, and then never put anything on it. It might have died on Allyssa’s old computer — I mean we all still have our physical comics, but all of the the scans died. But yeah, I’ll always make art. I think it’s kind of nice to have one thing that’s private. It’s nice to have the comics just be for me and my close friends. You often cite your brother Owen as being someone who introduced you to a lot of stuff. What do you credit him for introducing to you? He definitely showed me a lot of music. He’s the really reason why I started to listen to music, I think. The thing that I can specifically credit him for is when I was 12 he gave me two Jeffrey Lewis albums, and those where really influential to me. I think that led to a lot of music that I then liked, so I can definitely credit him for that. He showed me a lot of different kinds of music over my

“The other band that was playing was No One And The Somebodies, who ended up becoming my really good friends, and still are.”


“It was so great! Uh! Literally every all ages show in one page. You could just be like ‘Oh! What ten things could I go to tonight in New York City?’ and then you could go to three of them if you wanted to.”

whole life. He also took me to my first rock show. He took me and my middle school friend Eliza (Doyle) to our first rock show in April 2008. It was towards the end of 8th grade and his friends band was playing. The other band that was playing was No One And The Somebodies, who ended up becoming my really good friends, and still are. So that was like a huge life changing experience. He took us to like every show, becasue he was a little older. It was a “You can go if Owen is there.” kind of thing. So I thank him for that, haha. Through going to shows you started working for Showpaper, right? What was the transition from you’re brother introducing you to DIY shows to then taking it upon yourself to help make those shows happen? Actually, my brother was the one who pushed me to work for Showpaper as well. His friend Julian (Bennett Holmes) worked there. He was in this band that we would see all of the time called Fiasco. They played like every weekend and my parents would be like “Why do you gotta go see Fiasco again? You just saw them two weeks ago!” but they were just that kind of band that you love seeing. Julian worked for them, so my brother said “You should work for them! It’s this really cool thing.” We were really into Showpaper — I mean it was amazing! It was


so great! Uh! Literally every all ages show in one page. You could just be like “Oh! What ten things could I go to tonight in New York City?” and then you could go to three of them if you wanted to. It was really cool. So Owen told me to work there, and sort of helped to get it to happen, and then me and Eliza and Lauren (Martin) all worked there. It was the three of us, Julian, and this kid Jack. So literally for a whole summer, it was these five teenagers’ job to book all of the shows to fund Showpaper. For all of the fundraiser shows, we had to get bands to play for free basically, and make it happen at least once a month. So that was like a really crazy and interesting responsibility, being totally thrown into the music world and learning how to book shows. I think all of these cool people were involved and it seemed like a cool thing to do. It also made it so that we could work the door at shows — shows that we maybe wouldn’t go to otherwise. I always forget that I did that, and it was definitely the first kind of experience I had in music booking. I mean don’t book shows, but I have definitely booked shows for touring bands before at DBTS (David Blaine’s The Steakhouse) or whatever. It’s weird how much more I’ve learned since then, and how different it is to book a show than it is to get your own band booked. It took me years to get anyone to pay attention to my emails. I would be like “Pleas please let me just like open a show. Please!”

and were just like “No… Fuck off.” So it’s really funny to be on both ends of that at a really amateur level. Now we have a booking agent and he use to live at (the old) Silent Barn, and I’m sure I passed him at some point when I was 13. It’s funny to know that I was in his house when I was 13, going to shows, and he was doing that — emailing bands and booking shows. It’s a real community. New York is really small, and I think that was a really cool thing to learn as a kid.

time I had opened GarageBand, and I just made sounds from random stuff on my desk like typing or touching the mic and I put all of these affects on it. I made this really weird album called Sick At Home And Sleeping, which I think I put on a CD and gave to Lauren. That was like the only person I gave it to. I don’t even know if you could call it music. But it was really fun, and it was the first time I tried to do something like that — like compose a piece of sound art.

I was talking to Lauren (Martin) and she was telling me that you started out making weird water sound music, and that was the first thing you sent her. When did that music that you were transition closer into what you’ve been doing for the past few years?

How did that transition? It pretty much immediately transitioned into songwriting, haha. I made that one thing — It was 5 songs — and then I made this other thing maybe six months later where I recorded guitar onto GarageBand and messed around with recording two tracks of guitar. I was like “Oh! I can play guitar here, and then I can play over it on a different track, and then do something else!” which was exciting to me. It’s still exciting to me, haha, I don’t know. Yeah so six months later I wrote a song, and then wrote another song maybe a month later,

Lauren told you that! That fucker, haha! That’s so funny. Wow she has good memory, that’s crazy. So one time I was sick at home from school in 8th grade and I made this really weird music all on GarageBand. It was like the first

“It was like the first time I had opened GarageBand, and I just made sounds from random stuff on my desk like typing or touching the mic and I put all of these affects on it. I made this really weird album called Sick At Home And Sleeping, which I think I put on a CD and gave to Lauren. That was like the only person I gave it to.”


then made a little album and only showed it to Lauren probably. Then it pretty much spiraled out from there, to being a constant thing in my life — just always doing that. It’s like the best, most productive, way to procrastinate from school work are anything. It’s better than like going on the internet. You put out well over 40 releases on your Bandcamp prior to your first “proper” release Zentropy, which has led to debates of whether or not you’ve had a prolific output. Being a person who’s listened to most of that discography, I feel like there’s a huge chunk of it that are real albums, and it’s not something you can really brush off. Going through it, I think there’s different points for different people where they suggest the cut off for real albums is. What was the first album where you were aware of an audience? When did you start feeling like you were putting together a real collection of albums? I don’t know if I ever did start doing that. I know that the first album that anybody heard was called much ado about fucking. It was the first one from when I started dating Aaron (Maine), and I like made an album about starting to date him. Not really an album I guess, but I made a bunch of songs and put it online and showed it to him. Then he posted it on Facebook, which was mortifying! Then all these kids “liked” it and commented and shared it. There’s a stats page on Bandcamp where you can see how many people are listening and downloading, and I was really freaked out becasue it went from zero, zero, zero, zero, to 20 or 40 or whatever. I was excited and terrified. And then I got a show booked becasue of that I think. 6 months later, the kids at (SUNY) Purchase were following the Bandcamp — which was so cool — and then I got booked for a show at Purchase where Aaron played drums for me. I think that was like a stepping stone. So I think that was the first album, but I don’t think it changed the way I put stuff out. Gotta say… that album is super personal, so listening back, its really crazy. It’s amazing to me that I even sent it to Aaron. But I mean, of course I did. I think the first time that I was like “I’m going to put together an album” was Zentropy. We were working on the Porches. album (Slow Dance In The Cosmos) and I was like “Oh, I want to have a record! That sounds so fun!” I had met Dave (Benton) and Mike (Caridi) at Purchase and they were like “We have a record label.” so I was like “Oh cool, I could like make an album.” So I went back through all these songs I had written throughout the whole Bandcamp and was like “These are my favorites.” Which actually, the thing you’re saying about how they shouldn’t be overlooked — I agree. There are so many old songs that I want to go back and rerecord. I plan to do that forever — Just always go back to old material and try to do it with the band. It’s really nice to be able to be like “Oh I wrote this song in 2012, and like nobody heard it. Now I


can play it with a four piece band and put it on an album that is going to be heard.” I think I want to do that for a long time. There’s always going to be too many songs to put on real fancy albums, so I’m always going to be able to do that, which thrills me. I mean to me they’re all real albums. But the only “real” album is Zentropy, because everything else is just done on my computer and could be redone, in my opinion. That’s really interesting! It’s weird becasue, with musicians from the past, we have an entire idea of their discography becasue they’re probably not going to release anything new. Where as now, as we talk about music that’s coming out, we have no perception of what the fifth album by someone will be, or if the third album they make will be the last good album they make, or if there will be two terrible albums but then a really great album. But since you’ve made this sort of mythos around your music already, people have this whole catalog to make up their mind about before even listening to “the real albums.” Just even what you’re saying about following a discography as it comes out versus after it’s all been made is true. After people heard much ado about fucking, people started following the really small releases — it’s true that they were more flippant releases like “Here’s another album” and “Oh, here’s another one” a week later. But becasue they’re flippant, if you do find a song that moves you it’s exciting! You found this one song amidst all this junk or whatever. I mean, you don’t have to like all of it becasue there’s so much of it. It’s like a diary. You could read your diary from seventh grade and be like “Oh this is sooo stupid, I was sooo dumb.” and then you could find one page where you ask some deep philosophical question and then you’re like “Whoa, that’s really smart!” I feel like all art is kind of like that. But I think that’s also what is cool about having this huge catalog. There’s no person who’s going to be moved by everything on it. But if you find the one album or the one song that you like, you deserve to find it becasue you worked really hard to find it, haha. So I think that’s cool. How did you discover Bandcamp, and when did you decide to put your music out online rather than just leaving it on your hard drive? I don’t remember! I wish I remembered! It was so life changing! I had a Myspace first. It sucked! Sorry, but Myspace is like the worst. I don’t know. It was clear that there was an end to the era of that being the place where you listened to music. I mean, I did use Myspace for a lot of my childhood to find out about bands — it was like “Oh, this band has this other band in their top eight. I’m going to click this band and then listen to their music. Then I can see who they like. Then I can go to the listings on their shows.” Myspace was great growing up. Then there was

Taken by Mina L贸pez Blanco in December 2011

a point when I realized it wasn’t the way to stream music anymore, and I started noticing that all of these bands had Bandcamps. I wish I could remember the moment that I figured that out. But I was just like “Oh, this is like a really easy way to release an album, and sell it!” Even just having it in the context of “this is a release” where as on myspace it’s just streaming. There you could put it up for download. Actually, when I first made Bandcamp, I didn’t understand that, so I just had all of these links to Mediafire. I would put the album up for streaming on Bandcamp and then I would put a Mediafire link underneath saying “If you want to download it, click this link.” I don’t remember when I figured out how to use Bandcamp, but it was a long process. Still learning, haha. Yeah it was cool — it just made you feel really legit. You could be like “Hey I just put out an album. Check it out!” and then send it to your mom or whatever and she could send it to her friend and it felt really real. You can use it to legitimize any stupid song you made. You just put it up and then suddenly it’s not nothing, it’s something. Whether or not anyone hears it, it feels like somebody hears it, becasue you’re putting it there in the world, which I think is a special thing about the internet in general. I think that’s how people felt about LiveJournal or Facebook even. Whether or not people are reading your status or “liking” your status, you took a thought and you made it a thing in the world. It’s a very new generation feeling. How did you first meet Aaron Maine, and when did you start making music together? The first time I met Aaron was in 2010 during the fall. He had just done a tour, with his album Porcupine by his band Space Ghost Cowboys. I think that was around the time that I first met him. I had followed his music for a couple of years and he was friends of No One And The Somebodies — their roommate Sam had showed me all of his music and downloaded it onto a computer for me and I got really into it. Then Steve (Yankou) was like “Oh, do you want to meet Aaron Maine?” and then I met him, like outside my house, becasue he was getting a ride from Steve. So I went downstairs with my dog and was like “Hiiiii!” and had a big crush on him. Then we met like twice more that fall. But I was like 16 so it would be been weird if we had hung out then. But then a year later we met again and “rekindled the flame.” He got texting that year, in fall of 2011. Then he texted me, and we became friends. Actually he booked me my first show and that was the real way we started hanging out. Alright, I’m going to be honest. I wrote a song, and it was like obviously flirty towards him, and I put it on his Facebook wall. I made like a “music video” and put the youtube link on his wall, and he had no idea that I made music. He didn’t really even know that it was me when I sent it to him, becasue he didn’t know I made music, so he was like “What is this weird song that she’s posting on

my wall?” Then I think he figured it out and he called me and was like “Do you want to play this show this weekend?” and I had never played a show before. So I went to Westchester —and didn’t even have a guitar to bring, so I used his guitar. I didn’t even make a set list — I was such a shit show. And it was such a great show with all of these musicians that I love. So that was really special. Then in November he was playing a show at Cornell, and he was like “Hey, do you just want to come for the ride and hang out there?” So I went with him and Kevin Farrant and we all hung out. Then we became friends and really soon after we started dating that November. We literally made a song the same day we started dating. We like had our first kiss and then we wrote a song together three days later and recorded it and like had our second kiss while recording it. It was like sooo cute. I become like sooo girly when I talk about it. Ugh, I just love him. Anyways, yeah, dating and making music together have just gone hand in hand forever. We met through music, we immediately started making music together the second that we were hanging out. I asked him to sing on a song of mine, which is on the first album about him (much ado about fucking), and then we wrote Intimate — that was the song we wrote a week into dating. Then, I didn’t really even want to start a band, but he was like “Do you want to start a band?!?” So I tried to teach him some of my songs and he played drums. So I had a band then, and we played maybe three shows in a year. One of the things that’s so exciting about watching you two perform or interact with each other is that you’re just both so equally excited about what each other is doing! What was it like to have someone, who’s music was really important to you, be really interested and enthusiastic about your music? It was really inspiring. I mean, I loved Aaron’s music from way before I met him, so I think that even influenced my music before I met him. His music, along with a lot of other people’s music, has helped shape the way that I write songs. Especially his first three albums, Harmonica, Sad Album, and Secret Album. Those were all huge influences on me, and I just loved that music. It’s funny now becasue when I think about it, it was probably so self centered becasue he was so into my songs becasue they were sooo clearly similar to his songs haha. But no, he was just interested in my songwriting. I remember the first song of mine I taught him when he was starting to drum, it was this song called Smiling About Ronaldo, and it was really funny and had really weird rhythm, and he was like “How did you even make up a rhythm like this? This is like not normal. This is really hard!” I was like “I don’t know. It’s just all up in my head.” haha. I feel like he was interested in my music becasue it was so not coming from a place of trained songwriting. We just both had a really good influence on each other. Plus he was like really encouraging. Every time I wrote a song I would send it to him, and every


time he wrote a song he would send it to me. I would write a song and then he would take the exact melody and format and write his own version and send it back. We just had a lot of fun writing together. It’s still really nice to have that kind of mutual musical mentorship. I feel like I have that with a lot of friends, where I love there music and they love mine. It’s so beautiful. It’s such a good feeling when someone you look up to also likes your music. With the Girlpool tour (this summer) it was the same thing. It was just so much love, and so cool to feel like that. Do you ever feel intimidated by being grouped in with stuff you’ve liked for a really long time? Well I definitely don’t ever feel competitive with other musicians. I don’t think music is like that. I mostly get really inspired by people. I think I played a show on the anniversary of the first rock show I had ever been to, which was with No One And The Somebodies, and all my friends who were in No One And The Somebodies came to my show. I was just so excited that over the course of many years we had become friends and that they supported my music. It was just such a good feeling to play and have them be there. So I feel like in that way, that’s really cool. But I don’t know about being lumped in with bands. Honestly I feel like the fact that Porches. and Frankie Cosmos go hand in hand so much is kind of weird becasue we’re really different bands and theres kind of no comparison. Especially now with our new stuff, it’s going to be really funny if people try to compare them, becasue they’re so different and it would make no sense. I loved being part of a band that’s so different from my music. I loved playing in Porches. as it became this really funky, kind of popy-er, bass heavy music, and continuing to write my own music which is really not like that, yet have it still influence that too. But they’re definitely not similar so it can be daunting to be lumped in. You write a lot about your friends and showing admiration towards other people around you. Why do you think that come out so much in your songwriting? I don’t know. I think partly, that’s just what I write about becasue I like hang out with my friends and I love my family and boyfriend. I’m really grateful to have friends that are really supportive or who are musicians. I can’t really think of a specific example where I talk about someone I know in a song, but I know I’ll definitely get inspire by hanging out with one person, and then I’ll put their name in my song. I’ll be like “Oh, I’ve been hanging out with Allyssa (Yohana). I’m going to write a line about how I’m going to go meet Allyssa.” Or being on tour with Gabby (Smith), I wrote a lot of songs and stuff in my notebook about it. So I think it just kind of turns out that way. But I also think it’s really fun as an audience member — not that I think about


it when I’m writing it, but just inline with what we’re talking about — I think it’s really fun to figure out who’s friends with each other. I love that people can tell that I’m obsessed with Krill! Like, I love that someone who’s paying attention can be like “Wow, Greta like loooves Krill.” and be able to see that I’m inspired by them and referencing them and like covering their songs. Then they can go to a Krill show and hear Jonah (Furman) put the words Frankie Cosmos in to his song when he plays it. That happened and I was like “Oh my god! That’s so cool!” We’re just by chance making this reference for people to see and think is funny. Also he’s my friend, so it’s just fun. I think it’s cool when you know who’s friends with each other, to be able to tell who’s inspired by each other too. I know with me and Gabby you can tell that both our music changed when we met each other. Since she played in my band, my band changed a lot, and her song writing changed too. So we can both thank each other for that. And it’s nice to publicly thank each other for that too, becasue you want the people listening to your music to listen to your friend’s music if they aren’t already. That’s the goal. How often do you write stuff honestly in your music? Do you ever have a problem with singing about people or events in your life? I write fiction all of the time. But I’ve definitely changed the way that I write about real things, becasue often I want it to be perceived as interchangeable with the fiction. For example; I live a happy life, but a lot of my songs are really sad. People will be like “Oh my god, did you guys break up? This album is so sad.” and I’ll be like “Oh no, its actually about my friend from middle school, but I just changed it and wrote about it for a whole album.” — I’m making this up haha. But you can just take one moment from your life that affected you and you can write about it a million times and put it into different situations and use new characters. I mean, so much of the album that’s coming out next year is not at all about my life now. It’s almost all about the past, and past relationships, and past friendships and stuff. It’s funny becasue it is now seen through the lens of “Oh is it about Aaron?” or whatever. But I definitely hope that people take a lot of what I write with many grains of salt. In every song that there’s reality, there’s also fiction often. Except there’s probably no fiction in Embody, haha. At what point did you decide to start working on your first studio album, and how did you start working with Double Double Whammy? I don’t really remember if I was already recording the album or not when I started talking to Dave (Benton) and Mike (Caridi). I think Double Double Whammy had first kind of approached me just at a show and were like “Oh, we have a record label. We should do something. We love your music.” I think it was because we were in the middle of making the Porches. album, and I just had a lot of fun

“Double Double Whammy just did an amazing job. We just worked together and made this art piece. We were all so excited about it.” in the studio working with Hunter (Davidsohn). I thought it was cool to record that way, and I had never done it, so I was like “Let’s try it!” I think we were just making it, before I met DDW. I’m pretty sure we were just going to record this album really fancily for no reason and just like… have it. Then Double Double Whammy wanted to put it out, so we did, and it was really crazy. It just happened really fast. It was like “Oh we’re going to make album art, and we’ll have our friend make it! Then we’ll do a screen print and Susannah (Cutler) will draw the thing.” So suddenly I had this amazing art piece put out for me, and it was so cool.

What was the recording process for making Zentropy? Man, it’s such a blur. The recording process is so weird. We just recorded our latest album in the same place so I’m going to blur some memories here. But, Hunter (Davidsohn) is just this really cool guy who I think everyone should record with. He has this studio in this really weird town called Johnson City — it takes like 4 hours to get there. He lives in Binghamton. I don’t know, it’s kind just this weird lifestyle. He’s on a really different schedule than us; he stays up really really late and he works really late. We usually don’t get to the studio until noon or one, and we work until four in the morning sometimes. It’s like the


“I just remember, I wrote it in my journal. It was about accepting the process and coming to it with a zen attitude — just letting it be chill and living Hunter’s way.” twilight zone. You just go up there, and you just live in Hunter’s world for a couple of days. It’s really fun and he has all of this old gear and these mics that he’s collected from all of these different places.

of recording with these two other people, which was difficult at first. So I made up the word to mean what it was like for me to accept. It’s kind of hard to explain. It’s really just entropy with a z. It’s not that deep, haha.

I didn’t really know a lot about sound and recording, or how to record a band or whatever, so he and Aaron pioneered the recording process when we did Zentropy. He was like “We gotta get this specific reverb on this specific thing!” Me and Aaron recorded all of the guitar and the drum together, and I redid a lot of the guitar. Hunter literally hadn’t heard my music, so when we got to Binghamton we played him our set which was these ten songs, and he was like “Oh Cool!” and he just got all of these ideas. We recorded it on this huge reel to reel 8 track. You pretty much have to get it within ten takes or you have to move on on the tape because it gets worn, so it was a really weird process. You would think that it was more stressful that you have to get the take so fast, but it’s actually more relaxed because you’re just like “Oh well that one’s like good.” When you’re doing it digitally you can be like “I could just put this one note in the perfect spot.” It’s so much nicer to be like “We did it right, lets just use it.” It was a lot of fun. I kind of just let them lead me. We made up all of the keyboard parts and the bass parts while we were there, becasue we didn’t have a bassist or a keyboardist..

What did working with Double Double Whammy bring to the whole experience of making that album? What changed for you after it was released?

What’s the meaning behind the title Zentropy? I think I made up the word while I was in the studio there. It was kind of about succumbing to letting them control how it was going to sound, becasue I didn’t have the vocabulary or knowledge to control it. I just didn’t know what I wanted the album to sound like. I just remember, I wrote it in my journal. It was about accepting the process and coming to it with a zen attitude — just letting it be chill and living Hunter’s way. For me it was about sharing these really personal songs that I made and sharing the process


It was a really interesting experience! When I met them I was like “Oh, these are just these kids that want to put it out.” and that was what I expected. Then they just did such an amazing job! It was perfect. We got white vinyl, and they hand screen-printed all of this art on it, and they got these really beautiful jackets. It was crazy that we made it on Vinyl, and we’ve even pressed it twice now. We were literally going to do 300 to start, and becasue we did a pre-order, we had to change it to 500 immediately, becasue it sold out. I think what happened was that our friend Dan Goldin from Exploding In Sound did “PR” for the album. I didn’t really even know what that meant so I didn’t know that that was going to be a thing. I mean it’s so stupid, but it’s obviously just becasue Pitchfork posted it, that it spiraled into this. Then it was like “Oh, now I have a booking agent.” All of this stuff just sort of popped up from that. Double Double Whammy just did an amazing job. We just worked together and made this art piece. We were all so excited about it. And it was just this weird one sideded vinyl — like it wasn’t even long enough to be a full length record so it fit on one side, and it was cheaper that way, so we just did it. It was just a really strange process, and I learned a lot from it. That’s been my only experience putting out a record so far, and it was great! I think from there we all actually made money and they were like “Oh we could put out another recored and get a bigger PR campaign. I know they’re definitely doing so much more now, and I’m really glad.

You were still releasing stuff on Bandcamp too while you were in the process of making Zentropy, right? Yeah! I mean, we made Zentropy in a week total. We went up for maybe two days at a time, and i think we went up three times over the course of a couple of months. It wasn’t like penetrating my everyday life, and the rest of the time I was in school. So I was some how in school — I don’t even know how anybody goes to college full time ever, even when they’re not making an album — and I made Zentropy on the weekends for three months or something. Then Hunter mixed it, and I think I went back up when he mixed it. At the same time, whenever I wasn’t doing my homework, I was making songs on GarageBand at home… Yeah, I don’t know how I did that… I mean school’s really inspiring and I think it made me write a lot, cause you don’t want to do your homework so you just write a song about your homework or something. I think I did put out three or four Bandcamp things while I was doing Zentropy. Incase you haven’t noticed I have a terrible memory — but I think I have a memory of Dave

and Mike saying to me “After we put out Zentropy, maybe don’t put out a Bandcamp release for a couple of months, just so that the PR can really focus on Zentropy.” Then I think I waited like four months to put out another thing. I was also really busy becasue the PR thing led to all of these interviews and shit that I had to do, and I was in school still. Then I was playing shows all of a sudden, we got David Maine to play the bass, and I was booking tours. It was a lot. It was kind of a blur. Suddenly there were a lot more responsibilities once people were listening to Zentropy. But I do remember trying to purposely hold off on the Bandcamp releases, which is what I’m doing now too. I have demos, but I just can’t put them out because you have to “hype up” your studio albums or whatever, now that you want people to buy them — I don’t know. I’m not trying to diss the system but it is a weird system for me to be part of, becasue I never saw myself as someone who would be like “I’m going to be a Musician!” That’s a really new thing for me. As you were talking about before; planning your life around trying to make your art be the thing you do (for a living) is really weird.

“I also definitely think when you’re an easy target, as you said, it’s more fun to succeed. When you do play the show and they’re so mean to you for being underage or they treat you really weirdly becasue you’re a girl, it’s really fun to play the show and then have everyone be really into it and have all of these people show up to see you.”


“I was in Porches. for about three years. I think it had a really positive affect on my music life, because it helped me get over stage fright in a way where I wasn’t having to play my own songs.” How have you dealt with people not taking you seriously on the basis of your age or your gender or whatever else? You seem to be really resilient for someone who could be an easy target for trolls and haters. Thank you! I am an easy target for trolls and haters, haha! I think I’m resilient because I just don’t care. As you know, I’ve been making music for so long without it being heard at all, so, in the words of my dear friend Gabby, “If you have haters, it’s becasue people are listening, and thats a really good thing.” Honestly, I was excited to find out that people I didn’t know were listening to my music — nonetheless people who don’t know anyone I know, and don’t have any reason to like it. It’s amazing! I do think sexism and agism are real in my case. I’m really happy to be 21 now. It sucks that it’s such a terrible world to be in when you’re not 21. Playing shows and touring is so hellish and people treat you so badly when you’re not 21. They’re like so mad at you for being not-21 and they’re like “How dare you try and play a show here!” They’re so mean, it’s crazy. Then like, all of your friends can’t come, and everyone who’s any age that would like your music can’t come. So that was weird when I was 19 and doing my first tours with Porches. and Frankie. I also definitely

think when you’re an easy target, as you said, it’s more fun to succeed. When you do play the show and they’re so mean to you for being underage or they treat you really weirdly becasue you’re a girl, it’s really fun to play the show and then have everyone be really into it and have all of these people show up to see you. Then at the end the venue is like ”Wow! Thank you so much for making us so much money!” and you’re just like “Told you! Fuck you!” I definitely think it’s really hard to be a girl in music. Almost all women, I think, face that. People treat you really weirdly when you’re a girl and you walk into the room. I find myself purposely trying to carry the heaviest looking equipment. The hardest thing to carry, I think, is the drum gear becasue it’s like really pointy, you have to hold it at a weird angle, and you can really only hold three of four pieces of it at a time without hurting yourself. If you walk in holding four pieces of drum gear, it doesn’t look really heavy, so instead of actually being helpful with the hardest things to carry, I would be like “No no no, I’m going to carry the bass amp in.” because I really want to look strong so that when people see me walk in they know that I’m not just daintily helping carry the little things. It’s weird how much you have to assert that you’re important, when you walk into a space, especially not in New York. You have to be


like “I’m playing. I’m the person that you have to settle with at the end of the night. I’m the name on the contract. If you have a question about sound, you ask me.” You really have to work harder to assert that when you’re a young woman. But then there are other times when you have to try not to take stuff too personally. I’ve had funny moments when I’m really mad becasue “Some guy asked me if this is my first tour!” and then I realize “Well… It kind of makes sense. Probably, becasue I look like I’m 12, it seems like it’s my first tour. It has nothing to do with my skills or the fact that I’m female.” There are times where I have to hold back my immediate response which is like “That’s sexism!!!” — it’s not sometimes. Sometimes it is. The other thing about being a girl that’s really crazy is how much more is expected of you visually. You and I were talking about branding earlier, and how it’s so stupid and so complex. I just think that there are obviously way more beauty standards that women are expected to uphold. People get really mad if you don’t play into them or whatever. I think you’re just scrutinized a lot more. I try not to think about it. This is really stupid, but sometimes I’ll be going to an interview or playing a show, and if I’m freaking out about “What should I wear?” I’ll literally just wear whatever I wore the day before, when I wasn’t thinking about it so hard. I think thats a really good trick. I’ve also learned the clothes that I feel the most comfortable performing in. When I had longer hair, I liked having my hair in two braids becasue it doesn’t get in the way of my guitar or carrying my equipment. If I did have my hair down, when it was long, It would get stuck in guitar straps, and amps, and moving equipment was horrible. It’s funny because theres definitely ancient scrutiny about women wearing pants, and having utilitarian hairstyles, haha. But it’s stuff that you just have to figure out. You just have to be like “Okay, this is what I’m most comfortable in. I’m not here to viewed as a beautiful lady, I’m here to play my songs.” What was it like playing in Porches. as well as Frankie Cosmos? Well, I was in Porches. for about three years. I think it had a really positive affect on my music life, because it helped me get over stage fright in a way where I wasn’t having to play my own songs. It was a really nice way to ease into performing for a lot of people. I loved playing in Porches. Plus it was just nice booking my first tour and being able to use friends who I had met through that band and Aaron’s contacts to book a tour for my own band. I think in a lot of ways it was just helpful to me for learning about the music industry. I think I joined in may of 2012. I actually joined Porches. when I was still in high school — or, I guess my first show with them was the summer after my senior year of high school. They had been a band for a while, but their drummer and bassist weren’t into playing anymore. Actually, the first time I remember playing in Porches. was

when I was 17 — I remember the first show was when me and Aaron were on our way up to Purchase, becasue they were going to play, and Aaron called the drummer and the drummer was like “I’m not coming.” So Aaron was like “Damn. The whole band is going, but we don’t have a drummer.” Then I was like “I could play the drums, probably!” to which Aaron was like “No no no no… I’ll play the drums, and you sing the whole set!” Then I was like “Uhhh. I don’t know the words.” So we wrote all of the words on these big pieces of paper, and I sang the whole Porches. set with Aaron, Kevin (Farrant), James Ryan, and Seiya (Jewell) as the backing band. It was really weird and everyone was really mad becasue they all wanted to see Aaron perform, obviously. I think there was a little bit of time where it was really hard for them to orchestrate the five person band, becasue the bassist lived really far away and the drummer just wasn’t showing up. Me and Aaron played some solo Porches. shows together. Me, Aaron, and Seiya played a show together once, where I like played a drum. I was apart of it for a really long time, basically from the beginning of dating Aaron. I sang on stage with them a bunch, when I was 17. Townie Blunt Guts was the song that I would come up and sing. That was way before Frankie Cosmos was a band, so that was really scary and informative. That was when I realized “Oh, I like performing.” And it was when I developed the stage name Frankie Cosmos becasue Aaron would be like “Frankie Cosmos, come to the stage.”” I remember the first time I saw you and Porches. play shows within the first week that I moved to New York, and it was a totally eye opening experience. Seeing both bands perform a pretty small events to incredibly enthusiastic and devoted fans made me realize that it’s much more important how much people care about the thing you’re doing than how many people care about the thing you’re doing. Do you ever think about that sort of thing, even as you’re gaining popularity? I think it’s more important for me to have one person who loves your music, and cares about it, and has it change their life, or is just really moved by a song, than have many people who are flippantly listening to it. Honestly, it could just be one person. That, I think, is my goal; to have one person that will listen to it, and care about it. I think as a kid, when you love a song it’s just the best feeling. It can change your life, or even just be come a really big part of you. I think that’s way more special than having a million people hear it on the radio. I think it’s something I have to keep in mind. How did you start working with Bayonet Records? Katie (Garcia) messaged me on Bandcamp, I think. At the time she was managing Captured Tracks. My brother worked at their record store, so I was like “Oh! You might know my brother.” We just started talking, and she was


“ It’s such a good feeling when someone you look up to also likes your music. With the Girlpool tour (this summer) it was the same thing. It was just so much love, and so cool to feel like that.” like, “Yeah, I’d love to meet up with you.” She was basically really really into Frankie Cosmos. Then we had dinner, and she told me that her and Dustin (Payseur) were going to get married and start a record label, and I was like “Wow, that’s really beautiful!” They were just really really loving. I think I met them a little over a year ago, and we were just talking since we met, and then it just happened. I’m excited to see what they do. It’s really new, and I trust them to do a good job. What are some things you’re looking forward to this upcoming year? I’m really really excited to tour with this album. I just can’t wait to get it out. It’s almost done. I’m so excited to be done with it, and put it out, and tour with it, and I hope we get to go to new places — hopefully more places outside of America. It’s really nice to have a band that’s excited to play with me, and I’m really excited to play with them. I hope to upkeep that relationship, and have it be a really great touring environment. And I hope to tour with Girlpool again, becasue that was so great! The main thing I definitely want to keep trying to do is tours that are with friends.


Are there any projects you’d like to embark on, that you just don’t have the time or resources to do right now? I guess I have a lot of projects that I want to do, but I probably won’t ever do them. I think I’ve accepted that. I definitely want to do the comic blog thing at some point. I had this idea where I’d interview musicians about — it’s kind of what you do, so I don’t really need to do it, haha — but to do real interviews where you actually get to know what they feel about their own songs. I don’t know. My really good friend lives in Olympia and I really want to go visit her and write some songs out there and try and play a show with Calvin Johnson. I’m going to email him, haha. I’ve decided it. That’s my goal — I’m going to try to go to Olympia and play a show and see K records. I want to make another album with my band, before this album comes out! That’s what I want to do! That’s my real actual project for the winter!



Patrick Kyle embodies many of the characteristics that have separated the Toronto comics scene from most others around

the world. The care and attention that Patrick takes to the visual aspects of his work extend into the way he chooses to present and distribute it. Since graduating for Ontario College of Art and Design in 2009 Patrick has put out a massive body of work through his collective with Ginette Lapalme and Chris Kuzma, Wowee Zonk, the prolific Toronto based publisher, Koyama Press, and several self published projects. in addition to his vibrant and esoteric comic and illustrative work, Patrick is also in part responsible for curating the superb small press room at each year’s Toronto Comic Art’s Festival.

Through his many ventures Patrick has gained an intimate knowledge of the economics and idiosyncrasies of zine mak-

ing, and has developed a really wonderful attitude towards a format that many people turn their backs on becasue of it’s lack of profitability. What’s important to Patrick is producing great content and creating platforms with which he can expose new audiences to his and his peers work, which he has successfully done with pretty much everything he as taken on. Today Patrick anticipates next year’s release of his new book with Koyama Press, Don’t Come In Here, and navigates which of the many projects he wants to embark on next.

Where are you from, and where do you live currently? I grew up like an hour outside of Toronto in Whitby, Ontario. I moved to Toronto in 2005, I think, to go to OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design) and I’ve been living here ever since. What was your experience like going to OCAD? It was really good! I think a lot of people have issues with art school, but I had a pretty good experience. When I started art school I felt like I was pretty sheltered, in terms of knowing anything about art or comics or illustration, so it was pretty eye opening. And I also met a lot of really good people, like I met Ginette Lapalme and Chris Kuzma as well as Jesjit Gill. Just a lot of people who’ve helped out my career and who inspire me. Was that the first art community you were a part of, or was there also one back in Whitby? Yeah definitely not. No one I went to high school with was a creative person. I was in a band with some dudes in high school, but no one was really interested on visual art at all. It was a drag. Has illustration always been your main focus? No, I went actually went to OCAD with the intent of just drawing comics and I chose the illustration program becasue the preview on the website seemed like what I wanted to do — just based on the picture and the description of the program. I guess it just seemed like the thing I should take if I wanted to pursue drawing com-

ics. I didn’t really know what illustration was until I was in the program, and that was pretty interesting to find out. It’s become my career, but I still do comics as well, of course. How did you first get interested in comics when you were younger? I enjoyed drawing a lot. I enjoyed cartoons on TV and I liked the story telling in them a lot. I just naturally gravitated towards it. The comic I use to read the most as a kid was The Beano, which was this comic from England. My grandmother lived in Northern Ireland, where all of my family is from, and she would send it to me every week. She would send the Irish newspaper over to my parents so that they could read it, and then she would send my sister a teen magazine, and then she would send me The Beano. She sent it every week from 1992 until maybe like the year 2000 or something. I don’t know, it was for a really long time, so I have stacks and stacks of them at my parents house. There were some really good comics in there, looking back on it. For a while I was like “Oh that’s just juvenile stuff that I shouldn’t think about.” But then now looking at them, I realized “Some of these are really funny…” Some of them are stinkers, but theres a lot in them that are well drawn. Were you aware of any of the contemporary comics or authors that were making work while you were in school, before you came to OCAD? No. I got into that because of school, I think — going to


The Beguiling and looking through weird stuff. It was exciting! I think around 2007 was the the first time Ginette and I tabled at the Toronto Comic Art Festival (TCAF) while we were in our second or third year at OCAD, and we tabled as the OCAD student table. Picturebox and Buenaventura Press were there, and they were in the hight of their publishing career. There was just lots of interesting stuff at the time.

us $200, and it was only becasue our friend was on the granting committee that gave us the money. So they gave us $200 to put this thing together, and we made 200 copies of the first one. Then it just kind of snowballed from there. What direction did it take after you started doing more volumes and you started working with more artists?

When did you start making work as Wowee Zonk with Ginette Lapalme and Chris Kuzma?

The first one just had myself, Chris, and Ginette. The second one had like 9 people, and it was a newsprint edition that we got printed somewhere in north Toronto. That one was pretty crazy becasue it was about 2,000 copies which was such a big step. But the price was pretty reasonable so we just went for it. Then after that one, we did the third volume with Koyama Press, and that was kind of a different format. Every contributor did 4 pages of content, and it was pretty much all different people from who we had previously had. Then the fourth one was along the same lines, and was with all new people. That one was a Koyama press book as well. But that was the last one we did, and that was in 2011 or 2012. We haven’t thought about it much since then, haha.

That was a project that I think Chris Kuzma and I talked about doing a lot. Chris and I use to just hang out a lot and talk about the state of comics and illustration. Just blabbing. We wanted to make something that was like Kramers Ergot, but that had our work in it or the work of Canadian people. We felt like there was a couple of people, namely Ginette (Lapalme), Andrei Georgescu, and a few others in our program making cool stuff, so we just wanted to do something like that. I think the first issue was in 2007 or 2008 maybe, and we got a small grant from the school to do it. They gave

“In 2009 we did all of this stuff at once. We graduated from OCAD, had our grad show, had a separate art show and a book launch for Wowee Zonk 2, and then we also curated this small press room at TCAF, all with in a weeks time.”


“There’s something so intimate and lovely about making art with friends. I’m always honored when one of them wants to work with me.” How did your relationship with Koyama press first start? In 2009 we did all of this stuff at once. We graduated from OCAD, had our grad show, had a separate art show and a book launch for Wowee Zonk 2, and then we also curated this small press room at TCAF, all with in a weeks time. It was a crazy week for us. Annie (Koyama) came to the art show and launch, and I didn’t know her at the time. I was like “Who is this lady?” and then she bough this stack the comics, and was just handing them out to people. I think she may have bought a piece of art from Ginette or something too. She was just starting the press at the time. I think she was just looking for people who were active and interested and self-motivated in the field. Then she expressed interest in us, and the first little volume we did with her was called Pobody’s Nerfect which was a small collection of art work from Ginette, Chris, and I. What was propelling you, as these college students, to do all of these things at once? Was it easy to manage everything, becasue it was all relatively cheap? Or were other people giving you all of these opportunities? It was a number of things. It was mostly a desire to do a lot. For our thesis projects the three of us had made so many pieces. We were just really enthusiastic. We all


were just creating a lot of work, and we were doing a lot of work inside and outside of school. We had like a pile of work, and we were also compiling the work for Wowee Zonk 2, so we wanted to do a launch. There was a really affordable space that a friend of a friend was running so we rented it out for a night. It was just an evening, so the artwork came down the next day. it was all just really affordable at the time. It was pretty easy. Toronto has really developed a strong comics community over the past few years. How has living there affected your ability to do things? I think the community aspect of it is great. Like, I wouldn’t have been able to get a risograph machine if I wasn’t able to buy it with two other people. Having the riso has been a huge part of my career. It’s just made self publishing so affordable and easy and convenient. It’s amazing! Just knowing people who know how to work the machines is amazing. Being surrounded by other people who are working all of the time — I feel like I almost exclusively hang out with cartoonists and all we talk about is “Oh what are you working on?” There’s always this desire to go home and start working on stuff again. It’s a really cool thing. Also being able to meet Annie and working with Annie, through living here, has had a huge impact on my career as well.

What role has TCAF played in the Toronto comics community developing? TCAF is amazing! The staff of The Beguiling and Chris Butcher and his team who set up the show are just really ambitious and really dedicated to comics. They’ve done us such a huge favor by allowing us to curate this small press area. We’ve been doing it for like seven years now, which is amazing becasue the spot is apart of the show, and they could definitely make money from the table fees with in the space they’re giving us, yet every year they choose to let us curate the space and offer the tables free

of charge to the exhibitors that we’re inviting. It’s been great. A lot of people, maybe from the states or outside of Toronto or elsewhere, are making a lot of cool stuff, and it wouldn’t be finically viable for them to travel, have somewhere to stay, and then pay their table fees, so they probably wouldn’t be able to make any money at the show. It’s been really great for that reason. It’s really exciting to see the show grow in such an insane way. From 2007 until now, it’s crazy that it’s grown so much, with so much diverse materials and so many people being involved in comics in different ways. It’s really interesting.

“It’s kind of cathartic. I really like playing the drums and I wish I could do it more.”


“I’m happy I was able to give my friends, and people who’s work is really strong, a platform to sell their work.” When did you first meet Michael Deforge, and how did you start collaborating together?

How have you been able to put out music together and play live shows with your busy work schedules?

I knew Michael just through the scene I guess. We were just both into the same things, like noise music and punk music and art shows. I use to see him around at launches for things. We knew each other through working with Koyama Press as well. Then we started hanging out more once we were in a band together. We were in a band with Zach Worton and Krystle Tabujara for a while. It was like a garage rock band and at a certain point Michael and I were like “We’re not really into garage rock. Why are we in this band?“ so we formed our current band Creep Highway, which is a noise-punk band.

It’s just for fun. I don’t think either of us think much about the band outside of when we’re actually practicing. We just recorded a new thing two weeks ago (Surf’s Up) and we’re waiting for the master tracks to comeback. Yeah we don’t really think about it too much. It’s kind of cathartic. I really like playing the drums and I wish I could do it more. We don’t even practice that much, maybe once a month. We just go for two hours, and maybe Michael has written, so I’ll put some drums to it and we’ll just turn it into a song. It’s a pretty casual band, but it’s also just a lot of fun. It’s exciting to go and play a show.

We did a book with Perish Publishing a few years ago, and how that happened was I sent Michael a bunch of drawings and he composed them into an image. Then we kind of worked that way for a while. If there was a gig poster or something when our band was playing a show or if we were doing a book launch, I would just send Michael a pile of drawings and he would make the poster for it. It’s kind of a funny way of collaborating. I have absolutely no say in the final product, haha. It’s just like “Here you go buddy… Take care of this.”

How do you approach doing editorial illustrations and comics for other websites versus your own zines and comics? The lead up to doing editorial stuff is studying illustration at school, finding out what that was, and realizing there could be a career in drawing rather than just only drawing comics — there was other money to be had, haha. And I’ve managed to turn that into my career. My day job is doing that kind of stuff. It’s been funny and strange how that happened. I never really saw myself doing that and for the most part I don’t often think of myself as an illustra-


tor. But it’s a pretty different approach than what I do in my comics. My comics work, I feel like, is really loose and idiosyncratic which is maybe difficult for people to understand. But when I’m doing illustration stuff I have to sort of get out of the bubble and refocus and think “Okay, now I have to make an image that communicates an idea in a really coherent way.” I’d love to have the two cross over more, and I feel like my older illustration stuff was harder for people to place in a commercial zone, so I’ve kind of rebranded myself a bit in the last year. I do a lot of digital stuff now, and I think it’s easier for people to stomach. It’s going pretty well. But it’s definitely different and I definitely have to flip a switch when a job come in and I have to be like “Alright, stop working on this personal work and get into the mindset of reading an article and pinpointing visual cues in it and visual pieces of information that I can turn into a piece of art work.”

just giving them away. Even just using cheaper materials. For the first four issues of my most recent comic series, New Comics, I was trying to make a really polished volume each time. That was fun and everything, but once I got to the fifth one I thought “I just want to make something dirty!” or make something with a really rough aesthetic that is really imperfect that I could just give to people or throw away or sell for a couple of dollars. So I’ve only been printing on newsprint lately. The art supply store near by has 500 sheets of newsprint for $10 and it goes through the risograph pretty well. It makes really funny looking zines that fade, and the paper starts yellowing in two months. The riso actually doesn’t take the paper too well — sometimes the pages are are crooked or like have a wrinkle in them or something — but I think it just adds to the zine a lot. It makes it funny. It’s like a semi-destroyed object when you’re buying it.

Who have been some of your favorite clients to work for?

Was zine making ever a method for getting your work in front of people? Obviously with the internet, it’s a lot easier now to share your work and get as many people to look at it. But did it make it feel more personal when you did it with zines?

Recently Lucky Peach has been fun. I did a piece for them a couple of months ago. It was a really short deadline and they were just like “Do whatever you want!” and that’s always great. I love when art directors are pretty chill with that, and I think most people that hire me know that I’m pretty idiosyncratic in my illustration work, so they mostly just give me free rein to do whatever I want. I just did an illustration about Tamagotchis which was kind of funny. That was a pretty cool thing to do. How has making zines affected you, or your ability to get other work? Has it ever been a format for making money in the long run for you? I don’t think so. I do have a small income from producing zines and selling zines, but I don’t know if its a really sustainable method. You can have your work printed by somebody, you can go to Kinkos and get your work printed, or you can go to Jesjit at Colour Code or something and get them all made, and that can be pretty expensive. Then you could only sell your zine for a certain amount of money becasue at a certain point people are going to be like “No, I’m not going to pay $15 for this piece of paper.” So I think the most sustainable way to do everything is to do it yourself, and that’s what I’m doing. But it takes a lot of time. The hours you put in folding and stapling and cutting as well as the labor is a lot. To make 200 copies of a book it might take like a couple of days, and then you make $5 per copy. I mean you’re still making some money after your material costs, but I’m not sure if it’s really a great way to make money. But it’s certainly very fun. I like making objects and I like the satisfaction of having a big stack of this thing that I made that’s paper ephemera. I’m becoming a little more apathetic towards making money from that kind of stuff, and I feel cool about just handing out zines to people and

Yeah, it was a way to monazite the traction that I was picking up on the internet, I guess. Having an object that someone could order in the mail was a cool thing. I did a couple of small zine fairs in Toronto, but I think most of my sales are through the internet. Yeah, it’s certainly a great way to get your work out there and to have an object to give to people. How has the writing within your comics changed over time? All of my comics were just drawing based for a while. They were about doing crazy drawings, and that was it for the bulk of my early career. It was like my juvenile period where everything was just about the way things looked. I feel like all of my comics in Black Mass, my first book, were all sort of just about the visual impact of the whole thing and not really about writing at all. Distance Mover, I think, started the same way, and was just about creating a visual thing. I never really thought too much about writing or story telling much, to be honest, until Miachel (Deforge) and Mickey Zacchilli and I were doing this series that we called Blank Comics. Every issue had a theme, so there was Cop Comic, Basket Ball Comic, Pixar’s Cars Comic, Christmas Comic, and so on. We did a bunch of them. The first one I did was kind of shitty, so as I kept going, I was getting into these really shitty topics and building little stories about them. I don’t know, I think that really helped my writing out. Like if you look at those, there’s probably quite a progression of my writing. I’ve been thinking a lot more about writing lately. I’ve been reading a lot more books too, rather than just comics. I’ve been working on stuff where the images are almost sec-


ondary now, or maybe there’s more of a balance between the writing and the images. Yeah I think it’s good. I think it’s helping me become more accessible to more people. Do you worry about the accessibility of your work now that you have a publisher backing you? Yeah definitely! I’m terrified about that. My first book was self-published so there wasn’t really much of a risk there — I mean there was risk personally, but I wasn’t accountable to anyone but myself. But with Distance Mover, I worry all the time about that book. Before the book was even published I was like “Why am I even doing this? This is stupid, no one is going to want to read this thing.” But, I don’t know, the book worked out luckily, I think becasue it’s a pretty cool book. I think I do want to be more accessible. The book I’m working on now is a little easier to stomach. It has panels and more writing and less chaos, weird time travel, and science fiction that is hard to get a grasp on. It’s still strange and I’m not holding anyones hand with it. It’s still going to be a book you’re going to have to put yourself into to get the full experience out of it, which is cool. But I think it’ll be easier for people to get into. What contemporary artists have impacted your art and your writing? In the last year I read like every Blake Butler book. He’s an author from Atlanta, and his writing is pretty intense. Sometimes I feel like his writing is the way I’ve thought about comics, which is that I want to make comics that could only exist as comics. I feel like his writing can only exist as a book. I mean that’s probably true for a lot of writing, I am not the most literary person, but there’s like no way to visualize it and it can’t really exist in any other medium, which I think is kind of cool. That was really exciting for me. I haven’t been looking at too much artwork lately, but I constantly think about Brian Chippendale’s work. It’s always in the back of my mind. Mat Brinkman. That whole scene is something I’ve been revisiting a lot lately. I’ve found myself tightening up a lot, and I wanted to revisit that energy that inspired me when I was first in school. The stuff in the early Kramers Ergot books. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. You were talking a bit about being into punk now and when you were younger. Has the punk ideology informed any of your work? It’s fully an ideology I’ve tried to take on. I’m a commercial artist and I make commercial work, but I’m really stubborn and I like having my own way and doing everything myself. I’m pretty involved in everything that I do, and I like to be in control of it. I think that’s kind of a punk attitude


— making sure everything is going your way, haha. Yeah I don’t know what I could say about punk. When did you get involved with organizing Zine Dream? That was this year actually. Jesjit has done it himself basically, for the last 7 years. This year is the 8th, and he asked myself and Alicia Nauta, a screen printer and artists from Toronto, to be involved in it. It’s going to be really cool I think. We changed the venue. It happened every year at the Tranzac, which is a small space in the Annex, and Jesjit really liked it and the rent was really cheap and everything, but there was room to grow. There was a zine fair at The Great Hall on Queen Street a few years ago. One iteration of Canzine happened there, and I thought it went really well, but for some reason they never had it there again. We looked into that place, and it was pretty reasonable, so that’s where it’s going to happen. I think it’s going to be pretty exciting. We’ve had a really great response from Toronto. There’ve been more applicants than ever before, so I think it’s going to turn out to be a pretty interesting show. What was it like curtailing the NXNE zine fair this year? It was kind of just like a carry over from the TCAF space. I just asked a lot of the same people if they were interested. Some people were, and some people weren’t or they couldn’t do it — it was on a thursday afternoon. I put a bit of an open call out and had a few people responding, but it was mostly just friends of mine and people I had emailed. NXNE took care of most of the rest of it. They booked the space and rented all of the tables. It seems like you’ve been doing a lot of curation along side all of the comics and illustration work you’ve done over the past few years. Is curation and helping other artists reach more people a responsibility you’ve wanted to take on for yourself? Yeah, I think that’s it. It’s just about creating spaces for people, and myself, to sell their work and get their work out to people. Any opportunity I can take to create that sort of environment is cool. NXNE has done zine fairs in the past, and they’ve just really missed the mark. I think last year was like outside on the Ryerson campus in the afternoon, and I don’t think anyone knew that it was even happening. I’m happy that they asked me to do it, and I’m happy I was able to give my friends, and people who’s work is really strong, a platform to sell their work. How many other Comic and Zine fairs have you been apart of? I’ve been scaling back this year. I only did one in New York (MoCCA) , that I saw you at, this year. But last year I did MoCCA in April, I did CAKE in Chicago in June, I did

Small Press Expo, CAB in New York at the end of the year, and then also we (Patrick Kyle, Michael Deforge, and Simon Hanselmann) went on the book tour last year for a month. I think we did the Brooklyn Book Fest as well, maybe. So yeah, I’ve done a lot of these shows. I did the New York Art Book Fair for three years. but I haven’t done that one in a few years. Yeah! It’s just fun. It’s an opportunity to sell work and make money and I like visiting places. I love going to New York, and any chance I get to go to New York I’ll take. It’s kind of like a holiday where you’re making money. Most of the time you’ll just come back with the money you left with. But that’s cool — it’s like you were never even there, haha. But you have the experience of it. What are you currently working on, and what do you have planned for the future?

paints and stuff, and the scanner just doesn’t register them well, so I was like “Alright. I guess I’m not doing this anymore.” Then I started coloring my stuff digitally after that, which has been going pretty well. But yeah, I haven’t been doing any gallery work really. I had a small show last year at Weird Things gallery with my friend Dan. He does a lot of black and white drawings with ink on paper, and I had a pile of that stuff just hanging around — like weird one off drawings for zines or weird one off drawings that I never put in anything. I don’t know if Toronto is a great place for weirdo graphic arts, so it’s kind of a tough sell. I also just kind of felt tired with that scene. Going to art openings and having all of this attention thrown on me, then trying to get people to drop hundreds of dollars on my work, wasn’t really working for me at the time. Yeah, we’ll see what happens in the future.

I’m working on a book right now for Koyama Press that’s coming out in 2016 during the spring. It’s called Don’t Come In Here. It’s kind of like a Haunted House story about a guy in a super natural apartment where anything can kind of happen, and does. I’m suppose to be finishing that by the end of the month (June) but I have like seven days left or something, so I don’t know if that’s going to happen. We’ll see. After that I have to do another zine. I got a grant earlier in the year to do another book length project that I need to start working on, and I’m hoping to have that finished by the end of the year as well. Outside of that, I’m kind of jonzing to make some larger art works again. I haven’t done any fine art type work in a long time, and I’m kind of anxious to maybe try to start doing that again.

Are there any projects that you would like the embark on, that you just don’t have the time or funding for right now?

How do you approach the fine art work you’ve done? What do you make that you feel belongs in that setting rather than in a zine?

Music stuff too! I’ve been doing solo black metal recordings for five or six years. I finally released a tape of a collection of weird stuff I had been recording over the years, just in the studio or in my old apartment. I would record with guitar, and just do over dubs with the drum machine. I’d love to have a band going with some other people, but it’s just hasn’t been working out, I just don’t really have the time.

I don’t know. Recently I haven’t been making that distinction in any of my work. For a while when I was in school and just out of school I was making work that was like “This is the art I make, this is the illustration, and these are my comics.” But it’s all kind of come together a bit. I haven’t made like physical pieces for a while. I had this pretty distinctive approach with handmade paper and acrylic matte medium transfers that I was doing forever — it was a technique I worked out in school. All of my work was like that, but I just got really sick of it and it wasn’t really applicable to commercial art. I think it was hard for people to see it accompanying an article. It looked nice in a gallery but I don’t think anyone was interested in buying them, haha. I just had stacks of these things and I was like “What am I going to do with all of this Junk?” so I just stopped and said “Forget it, I’m not doing these anymore.” Another funny thing that happened was my scanner broke, so I had to buy a new scanner, and it doesn’t scan color at all. I was working with really fluorescent

Yeah, the fine art stuff. I don’t even know how I’m going to approach it. I’d love to do really large work. I’d love to have a space where I could go and just make a huge mess and not have to worry about it. I keep this studio pretty neat, just becasue it can get chaotic when I have stacks of paper piling up. It would be such a set-up tear-down thing if I wanted to start doing larger pieces in here. I have nowhere else to go so I’m probably going to have to do that. Yeah I’d really like to do that. Maybe I don’t have the time right now either becasue I’m pretty invested in doing comics work.




The immense beauty and intricacy of Sab Meynert’s work comes as no surprise after meeting the amazing woman

creating it. Growing up in the suburbs of Toronto as a queer individual of Sri Lankan dissent is an awfully specific situation, but it’s entirely reflected in the uniqueness of her paintings, illustrations, and zines. Sab’s work deals with the emotional content of her personal experience and perspective on a less immediate level within her work. This not only makes the work welcoming and engaging to anyone observing and interacting with it, but also allows it to pull more from the universal characteristics that bind us as people, rather than alienating or ostracizing those who can’t relate to her experience.

Today Sab is an active member of the vibrant zine and comic community within Toronto, and is anticipating the release

of her first published book coming out early next year. She brings a refreshing optimism to the collaborations she does with others and the projects she undertakes on her own. When I met her for the first time at her home in Toronto back in August, she provided a warmth that only comes from artists who genuinely care about what the others around them are doing, and has since been a source of wisdom and inspiration in my own life.

Where are you from and where do you live currently? I live in downtown Toronto, and I’m from the suburbs of Toronto originally. Are you trained at all in your field of art or are you primarily self taught? I’ve been drawing and working on my own form of making for a long time, but I did go to art school. I’ve got a minor in graphic design & and major in illustration.

What was your experience like at OCAD? What parts of your education inform the work you’re making now? Overall I have …feelings… about it. The peers and friends I made there whom I’m still in contact with are the biggest reward from attending. I’d say I learned how to be resilient, to develop a thicker skin, and how to learn to trust your peers’ opinions of your work as much as the authority figures, haha. How did Sever Press first start? I met eli howey in 2012 and we started it together as a

“We saw a lot work coming out in the scene that was from a place of privilege and not very reflective of our social spheres, so we aimed to provide and use a platform to give our community some sort of foot in.”


means to publish our work and the work of other marginalized young students/artists in the area in our friend-group. We saw a lot work coming out in the scene that was from a place of privilege and not very reflective of our social spheres, so we aimed to provide and use a platform to give our community some sort of foot in. We also just wanted to see work we liked yo be out in the world. I think one of the things that really stands out with the approach to publishing you took with Sever press was the effort to give things “indie” prices! What is it like making work for an audience that might not be able to spend a lot on art? How do you go about making things affordable, without compromising the work or the artistry? This is such a tricky thing because we all are relatively struggling in this economy, but no one wants to devalue practice or an industry by pricing things low. Commodifying things gets sticky because you’ve got to consider who you’re selling to, but also what you need to do. When we started, we had no real idea of the scene because it was a resurgence and everything felt new, plus we were students with student budgets. As our practices developed and our time became more limited, as well as our life-

styles transitioning out of student living, we priced things to reflect that. But we still try to keep things as accessible as possible. I think the scene is different now where the newer audience understands it’s not all arbitrary. None of us are corporate, we’re doing this on our home floors Most of your work is relatively abstract, or has few actual depictions of people or places. Yet you’re very expressive about your political and social opinions. Do your ethics inform the content of your work, or the way you approach doing it? A lot of my opinions and ethics are completely intrinsic & internal. I had to unlearn a bunch of things growing up in a suburb and I had to find ways to sublimate how I felt a lot of the time just so I could have the privilege of feeling comfortable in places that, in terms of demographics or general politics or whatever, were just uncomfortable to be in from the get-go. I think that way of sublimating is still used for me because I’m actually not a very confrontational or politically opinionated person! I’ve just had to become this way in order to create some sort of comfort zone wherever I go, to let people know what’s up because i’m tired of being vigilant even in what should be low-key, non-stressful (aka non-oppressive) environments (like

“With my work, I’m actually concerned with the way that being politicized & marginalized informs more emotional, visceral, and spiritual settings for a person.”


comics!) It’s a way of safeguarding myself against things that might make me uncomfortable. But with my work, I’m actually concerned with the way that being politicized & marginalized informs more emotional, visceral, and spiritual settings for a person. Of course I can’t peel apart the different things that make me, and being a politicized and racialized person in an industry that is not extremely diverse will be taken into consideration no matter what, whether through projection or reflection. So yeah, sublimating heavy topics relating to that helps me deal and also hopefully communicates to my audience who share my struggles and experiences within margins. It’s not my job to become a “political” artist though, just because the industry needs someone to learn from or make a monolith of, and I avoid being tokenized for this as much as I can. Liiiiike, google. What led to you doing more fine art work? When I graduated from school in 2013 I panicked about money and started doing 6” x 9” original art commissions in full colour for $30. This kind of exploded and I ended up doing 41 in one month, and through that I developed a portfolio super quick, which led to me meeting other artists and eventually a gallery. The gallery had a group show and after selling out I became represented. So I became steeped in the fine art world briefly from there. What was your experience like working in the gallery world? It is definitely a different world from zines and comics, and from illustration or anything I encountered in school speculation. It resembles celebrity projection more than anything and I think artists are often made monolithic in a way, even if they’re in current practice. This may not be the case for everyone, but just in my experience at an upper-scale gallery. I found it clashed with my socioeconomic situation so I left after a few instances where this showed. What got you back into making your own zines? I felt really lost after I left the gallery, because it was a dramatic severing and it had changed my life already. I didn’t draw for around 3-4 months afterwards, but during this time I was talking to people in the comics and zine scene again and it all seemed so familiar, safe, and comfortable compared to what had transpired over the 7 months of representation. So I finally decided to just go back to where I felt the most comfortable which was in zines and drawing black & white on paper again. Did your experience with fine art affect how you approach making zine or your current illustration work at all? I think despite my experience with commercialization, I

still really love fine art the most. I love all its nuances especially when used abstractedly to mobilize other thoughts or situations or identities, etc. I am in love with art and all its manifestations and working in that way definitely gave me a new outlook on what to do with the comics and zine medium, thinking about it as being precious because you made it. Artists are coddled in a way that comic artists aren’t. I got used to it. And with the illustration work, I don’t do much freelance at all, but when I do I feel spoiled because directors seem to really accommodate for that ‘artistic’ way of thinking vs ‘design’ and they give me all the freedom. I feel like I can’t turn off the artsy way of thinking now. How do you choose which projects to make elaborately with nice materials, and which ones to make more cost effectively with simple materials? Normally I think of how the project needs to be outfitted with what’s appropriate for it — it’s always conceptual but also I acknowledge that I have an audience who will be paying for work and I think about whether that project needs to be embellished in certain ways for it to exist, and then deduce its cost effectiveness. None of the work I make is purely for decoration and I feel that there’s a lot of work that needs to reach a certain audience. But often that audience doesn’t have any access so I try to keep my prices accessible when I believe that the work needs to reach a certain type of audience. Even if I believe that they might be able to pay for something off the get-go I might just price it for someone like me. Sometimes I’ll make work that’s completely self-serving and in that case i might go completely wild with elaborate outfits. But in that case usually i don’t have any intention of it actually selling. I think theres also A lot of complexity when it comes to deducing value and putting a price on according to value. For instance, I made my 15 page zine with risographed silk screen covers because I believed that it helped bridge a gap between what I saw was something cost-effective but also cheap. I wanted the price point to reflect that, but not completely, since if I had actually priced it the way silkscreen work is supposed to be priced, those books wouldn’t have been affordable at all! I think it’s important to not only acknowledge what you want to do and price it effectively for yourself, but also find a balance with the audience that you’re offering it up to and the economic status they might be in. Not everyone has to pay for your decisions just because you made very expensive ones. It’s important to make work for your context, not just ambitions. Hopefully the context will change over time, and level out with the more ambitious projects so they become sustainable. What do you think is unique about the Toronto comic and zine community? There seems to be a really strong community here, of


“It’s important to make work for your context, not just ambitions. Hopefully the context will change over time, and level out with the more ambitious projects so they become sustainable.”

young, ‘woke’ people. All of us are pretty similar in personality and it’s not really celebritized the way it probably seems. It’s nice that way. A lot of us still like to just hang out and draw over a drink of some sort, even after being published countless times or something. It’s a lowkey scene here and everyone is quite connected to each other. Do you feel like you or your work have ever been tokenized based on your gender and ethnicity? This is a fear of mine and it’s always in the back of my head, because I am a qpoc I have to think about it intrin-


sically. 98% of the field is not any of those, and it can be upsetting sometimes when I am approached because my work fits an “exotic” look. This happens less in the comics and zine scene and was more in the fine art realm. But I trust that as the world is getting better with the socialization of marginal identities, people are also becoming more aware and sensitive with how to see themselves and others, and how to use themselves as platforms rather than patrons. I think the power of publishing becoming a youthful medium now is helping move that forward outside of the exploitative boxes we’re used to seeing ourselves in.

What contemporary artists have had a big impact on you and your work? I really pull inspiration from everywhere, mostly architecture and science. But if I had to pinpoint it, I’d say my former partner and collaborator, eli howey, who I started Sever Press with, and my friend Nep Sidhu. e showed me that my work had merit and was the first person to mass produce it in any way, as a printmaker. He would also bind all these interesting sketchbooks for me and make me experiment with different techniques, so I owe a lot of my development to him. Especially with really finessing the work so that it could be relatable to an audience. The way I was drawing before we met was so esoteric & cathartic that even I don’t understand it, but e showed me how to bridge the gaps I had in my own understanding and it

really fleshed me out. Nep had a huge impact on me, because encountering his work was the first time I saw work so abstracted and yet so conceptually heavy. It felt experiential. The way he talked about his work and the narrative around every piece really shook me. I even cried! I’m also heavily influenced by the way musicians compose and stuff, maybe because i’m synaesthetic, or because I played classical piano for 12 years, but I dunno. Something about contemporary music also shakes me up. Who’ve been some of your favorite clients to do illustrations for? My experience doing the original art commissions was actually the most fun, because I’d get image requests from both friends and strangers. The way people used

“As a queer person of colour I want to contribute to a landscape that is quite singular and non-representational, and bring up the dialogue on how work is informed by these things even if it’s not political work.”


“I want to bridge the gap I’m feeling between art and comics.” my potential for all their personal affections was great. I learned about my own capabilities too, and it felt intimate because it was between me and representing one other person or sometimes a couple’s idea for an image. How did you get the opportunity to do a t-shirt design for Shabazz Palaces? Nep runs a clothing line called Paradise Sportif and Ishmael Butler (front man of SP) is one of his clients. So Nep reached out to Ish about collaborating on a t-shirt for them since our work is all paralleled in concept and vibe. I owe it to him, really. It was fun. Are there any clients you’d like to work for in the future? Lots! I want to work with fashion labels the most — textile work and such. I want to do more editorial pieces, and prove that interpretive work can be just as representational, because the audience feeling an idea is just as valid as seeing it laid out. What projects are you currently working on? My main squeeze is a project for an actual publisher that I can’t speak about much yet, and then another larger project even further in the future, as well. So much mystery. I’m also trying to get back into painting, working on a large piece that spans 6ft x 4ft. I also am doing small stuff like zines and ephemera to keep myself accessible


while those mystery projects are happening. Gotta feed the people, ya know? haha. Are there any projects you’d like to embark on, but that you just don’t have the time or money for at the moment? So many. More than I can name. My biggest goals involve uprooting and changing my whole lifestyle, but i’ll keep that to myself for now. What do you hope to accomplish with your work? I want to bridge the gap I’m feeling between art and comics. I want to blur the lines and dismantle the preconceived notions of both because I think both can take really valuable cues from each other as industries and manifestations. I also want to bring up abstract, non-figurative, interpretative work from the wallpaper-like background it seems to dwell in. And as a queer person of colour I want to contribute to a landscape that is quite singular and non-representational, and bring up the dialogue on how work is informed by these things even if it’s not political work. My work will be politicized because my identity is, and I want to talk about that. And maybe dismantle that too. I guess I want to make work that can’t be pinpointed conceptually as any one significant thing, that transcends. I just want to make people feel like they’re in love, too, and make work that energizes us during our struggles.



On the surface, the work that Rob Corradetti produces under his alias Killer Acid is endearingly immature and irreverent.

But below the surface is a huge awareness of the icons and sub-cultural touchstones of the artists upbringing, being reworked into a new visual language that reflects what its like growing up on cartoons, music, and drugs at the end of the 20th century. Killer Acid first started as Rob’s project after going on hiatus with a long term music and art endeavor, Mixel Pixel, and has evolved from psychedelic illustrations to novelty merch and larger scale client work. Although the work he has done through Killer Acid has expanded and grown, Rob is still not afraid to retain the same weirdo sense of humor within his work.

After meeting Rob for the first time, I was actually really puzzled and couldn’t believe he was the person behind his work.

His very quite and pensive personality seems to subvert any expectation one might have about who Killer Acid may be, and it really enhanced my experience consuming his art. Rob is an odd combination of professional and playful, and the attitude he takes towards his work makes it fun and welcoming for any viewer..

Where are you from and where do you live currently? I’m from Philadelphia and I live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY.

ware I studied Creative Writing, Geology, Printmaking, Music, and Painting. I was a very unfocused student, but I learned a whole range of things.

Do you have any formal training in your field of art, or are you primarily self taught?

How did your band Mixel Pixel first start? How did the band change over the course of the years you were active?

I got a degree from the University of Delaware, but I feel like I learned a lot more about art, and the business of art, when I moved to New York City in 1999. At Dela-

Mixel Pixel started as a recording project in college. It was my high school buddy Matt Kaukeinen and I, and some random friends. We played a few basement shows

“I feel like I learned a lot more about art, and the business of art, when I moved to New York City in 1999.”


“Mixel Pixel started as a recording project in college. It was my high school buddy Matt Kaukeinen and I, and some random friends. We played a few basement shows around Delaware, but really started to get more serious when we moved to Brooklyn.”

around Delaware, but really started to get more serious when we moved to Brooklyn. Our first show was at (the now defunct) Brownies. We opened for Atom and His Package, and Tim Heidecker (of Tim and Eric).

One of my favorite aspects of Mixel Pixel is just the sheer amount of music videos you guys produced, and the care and attention you gave all of them! Was it alway a goal to have a visual art element with the band? Mixel Pixel collaborated with animators and video makers


from the beginning. Our first video was for Charlie 5000, a love song about a boy and his robot, which was directed by our friend Ric Rivera. It’s filmed in Newark, Delaware, and I remember staying up for two days and editing it on an Avid tape machine. Later, when we started playing shows, we were incorporating projections and live VJing. Video projectors weighed like 10 pounds back then, and were severely lumen-challenged. Along the way we got to work with a ton of really good animators, like paper rad, Devin Clark (Ugly Americans), and Radical Friend.

You made a Music Video with Dan Meth too, right? How did you meet Dan?

from the gutter had a baby, and that is your brain on New York City.

Dan and I became friends through some mutual pals, and collaborated on a video called Monster Manual. Years later, he moved across the hall from me in Greenpoint, and we had a fun Seinfeld friend/neighbor existence for a while. I would say through watching him work, I learned a lot about how to draw more efficiently, and to not be afraid to incorporate more humor into my work.

When did you start producing work under the name Killer Acid?

How has living in New York impacted your work? I think New York makes you stronger, and teaches you how to hustle, but it can also make you batshit insane if you let it. Total endless fantasy and some disgusting shit

I started Killer Acid in late 2009, after two previous unsuccessful t-shirt brand / print brand / whatever brand iterations. The name Killer Acid, comes from a Mixel Pixel song called At The Arcade. The lyrics are about scoring some killer acid in high school when your parents are away and you’re having a house party in your basement. The name has a few meanings, but it mostly refers to my love of acid, and also of killing.

“The name Killer Acid, comes from a Mixel Pixel song called At The Arcade. The lyrics are about scoring some killer acid in high school when your parents are away and you’re having a house party in your basement.”


“Stephanie Hurtado, AKA Caca Pasa, and I work really well together because we share a similar taste in irony and visual puns.” How would you describe your aesthetic to someone who’s never seen your work? I would describe the aesthetic as “glow-brow.” What’s the process for making one of your pieces? The process is I ramble around and try and forget everything I know. Then once in a while a funny idea pops into my head, either from the past, or from a dream, or from the collective unconscious.

and visual puns. Painting a mural together was a further evolution of various other projects. Sadly that mural is gone now, got painted over. Who have been some of your favorite clients to work for? My favorite clients so far have mostly been musicians like Mac DeMarco, Alvvays, and Man Man.

What was the process of painting the mural you did with Caca-Pasa at The Silent Barn?

How do you approach producing and selling your work as merch online and in person? Was there any sort of learning curve or trial and error when you first started selling stuff over the internet?

Stephanie Hurtado, AKA Caca Pasa, and I work really well together because we share a similar taste in irony

Like I mentioned before, I had a few unsuccessful art as business ventures when I started out. The problem


“I would love to have my own space eventually that is one part retail, one part printshop, with some kind of club house element.” was two-fold. One was artistic vision, or not being wise enough, or different enough. So gaining the artistic ability was part of it. The other, and maybe more important part, was having the patience and confidence to follow through with an idea. What artists from the past have had a big impact on you and your work? What contemporary artists have had a big impact on you and your work? Some artists I love are Picasso, The Hairy Who, Jim Phillips, and Ernie Bushmiller. I owe a lot to David Sandlin,


who taught me the finer details of Screen Printing. I’m currently working with Chris Uphues and Buried Diamond on a show. I love both their work! Are there are projects you would like to embark on that you just don’t have the time or money for at the moment? I would love to have my own space eventually that is one part retail, one part printshop, with some kind of club house element.

Photography by Matthew James-Wilson

New York Art Book Fair

Allyssa Yohana @ Paper Jam 4

Ginette Lapalme & Patrick Kyle @ New York Art Book Fair

New York Art Book Fair

Rob Corradetti & Sierra Siemer @ New York Art Book Fair

Hannah Carlen & Katie Garcia @ Brooklyn Flea Record Fair

Reed Kanter & Nick Rattigan @ Brooklyn Flea Record Fair

Florist @ Palisades

Alex G @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg

Girlpool @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg

Hello Shark @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg

The Empty Gestures @ Palisades

Glueboy @ AVIV

Fraternal Twin @ 603^

Real Life Buildings @ 603^

Porches. @ Celebrate Brooklyn

Ronnie Stone & The Lonely Riders @ AVIV

Girlpool @ DBTS

Frankie Cosmos @ DBTS

Bethlehem Steel @ DBTS

Flor Zaballa @ Shea Stadium

Tall Juan @ Shea Stadium

Tall Juan @ Shea Stadium

Downtown Boys @ Silent Barn

Frankie Cosmos @ Shea Stadium

Free Cake For Every Creature @ Palisades

Beverly Tender @ Palisades

No One And The Somebodies @ Palisades

Frankie Cosmos @ Palisades

Adult Mom @ Brooklyn Flea

Adult Mom @ Brooklyn Flea

Porches. @ Brooklyn Flea

Porches. @ Brooklyn Flea

Best Shows By Matthew James-Wilson

July 7th @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg

Girlpool/Alex G/Frankie Cosmos/Hello Shark one of my best friends from high school, piper, came down to new york for this show. i hadn’t seen her in a really long time, and most of our friendship for the past year or so just involved me sending her music that i was finding out about by living in new york. it meant a lot to me that all of this music that was changing my life could mean a lot to someone else back home, and once the opportunity arises to be able to see a lot of that music together all at once, we pounced on it. this show was so wonderfully curated by cleo and harmony of girlpool. and really reflected the bands that they had become friends with after moving from the diy scene in la to philly and new york. i feel like almost every single person i had met through going to shows in new york was there that night, and i couldn’t help be feel overwhelmingly sentimental about my first year living here. this whole show and everyone that played was so important to me, and it was so wonderful to be able to share it with an old friend. :’).

July 18th @ AVIV

Ronnie Stone & The Lonely Riders: The Confession

this night was more of an experience than it was a rock show. it was so fun to see everyone congregate in this giant sweaty concrete box in north brooklyn, dressed in weird 80s-gothic-biker inspired costumes.

July 25th @ Celebrate Brooklyn

Sylvan Esso/Porches.

on the past much like the show at music hall of williamsburg in july, this show brought up a lot of emotions and reflection year for me. it was such a treat getting to see this massive field in prospect park filled with people watch-

ing one of the best porches. sets i had ever witnessed. this show really made me realize how important it is to support the bands that mean a lot to you, as they work to legitimize their own musical careers, and not abandon them for the sake of how many people they’re playing to all of a sudden.

July 28th @ Shea Stadium

An Evening With Titus Andronicus this how was probably the biggest production i’ve ever seen put on at shea stadium. the entire room was teaming with excitement and pride for a band that has really meant for much for the venue and the brooklyn diy scene as a whole. this show was self indulgent in a way that everyone was entirely on board with, and titus’ 2+ hour set satisfied even the loftiest of expectations.

August 1st @ DBTS

Girlpool/Frankie Cosmos/Roz And The Rice Cakes/ Bethlehem Steel (Solo Set)/Adir L.C./Brittany Costa August 4th @ 603^

Fraternal Twin/Blood Orphans/Cat Be Damned/ Real Life Buildings this was probably the best show i had ever seen at 603^ and it was really refreshing to see bunch of intimate acoustic sets while sitting on the floor. fraternal twin’s performance was particularly stunning, and it was incredible getting to see such beautifully strip down versions of songs from his tape that i had been listening to all summer.

August 7th @ The Bowery Ballroom

Ducktails/Itasca/Ronald Paris

August 11th @ Silent Barn

Slice Harvester Book Release Pizza Party With Downtown Boys i decided to go to this show very last miniute with my friend jonathan, and i think if i hadn’t gone i would have regretted it for a very long time. downtown boys was unlike any other band i had ever seen at the silent barn, or even new york for that matter, and they drove home many of the social and political inadequacy going on everyday in this country very bluntly through their music. plus there was hella free pizza, so you really couldn’t go wrong.

August 22nd @ Shea Stadium

Frankie Cosmos/Lionlimb/Whitney September 1st @ Palisades

I Tried To Run Away When I Was 6/Florist/ Free Cake For Every Creature/Beverly Tender September 12th @ AVIV

Current Joys/DEERPEOPLE/Teen Body/Shop Talk/Saints i was really bummed out to find out that nick rattigan, the brilliant songwriter behind several musical projects including current joys and surf curse, was moving back to nevada at the end of the summer. this show was probably the last time i would get the chance to see nick perform for a long time, and it ended up being one of the most memorable sets i had ever seen him play. nick brings so much intensity to his songwriting and performances, and it is was such a pleasure getting to know him over the past year or so. </3

September 13th @ Shea Stadium

Tall Juan (Record Release)/Flor Zaballa/The Jeanies/ Ben Katzman’s Degreaser/Milk Dick September 19th @ Palisades

Frankie Cosmos/No One And The Somebodies/ Thelma/Yours Are The Only Ears September 27th @ Brooklyn Flea

Porches./Nap Eyes/Adult Mom

Shows I Wish I Had Gone To August 21st @ Palisades

Krill/Big Ups/LVL UP/Stove/Palm August 22st @ Silent Barn

All Dogs/The Sidekicks/Fleabite/Florist FORGEARTMAG.COM


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


All Dogs

the first time i ever heard maryn jones’ music was seeing her solo project turned full band, yowler, perform the very first time i ever went to david blaine’s the steakhouse. something about that performance was so bewitching that everyone in the room was really quite and focused solely on her and her band. after that night i listened to the first yowler album, the offer, several times over. this summer i found out that her primary band, all dogs, would be putting out their first proper full length album with the detroit based label, salinas records. after listening to the offer so much last spring, i was really curious to see how maryn’s songwriting translated with the much faster and pop-yer sound of all dogs, and once the album kicking everyday came out at the end of august i was pleasantly surprised. kicking every day is honestly a really fun album to listen to, that does a lot with the pretty standard chord structures and instrumentation that is used on each track. jones’ lyrcics are both introspective and confrontational, which elevates the experience of album the more times you listen to it, as you break it apart piece by piece.

Empress Of

i remember first discovering empress of while scrolling through terrible record’s roster at my tiny intern desk at the bowery presents last fall. after discovering her music at work, i ended up listen to her e.p. systems, pretty much every single day i had that job there. the production through out systems is so warm and enveloping, that the e.p. really feels as though it’s surrounding you as you listen to it. each track is more memorable then the last, and it really made me yearn for more from the artist. this september lorely rodriduez, the woman behind empress of, release her first full length album, me, which essentially takes everything that made systems so hypnotic and infectious and multiplies it. me is as complex emotionally as it is instrumentally, and it shows real progress from the already stunning e.p. she previously released. me is surprisingly really abrasive for how melodic and catchy it is. songs like kitty kat and water water have so much force behind them that’s really unparalled by anything lorely has put out in the past. me employs so much confidence and conviction when discussing themes like sexism and self-worth, and lorely is amazing at creating depth with the topics she writes about on the album, to pair well with the depth of the music itself. me is a feat of a record, and i’m sure I won’t be able to escape it anytime soon.

Free Downloads


dbts has somehow outdone themselves with this follow up to last january’s steakhouse records compilation, dbts bs:1. this second installment is a wonderful little collection of tracks by residents and friends of david blaine’s the steakhouse that includes some lo-fi gems and a few unexpected covers. over all dbts bs:2 is far more melancholy than it’s predecessor, but it’s sure to still put smile on your face.

Portals Music Soundcloud

portals regularly updates their soundcloud with playlists curated by musicians and the site’s staff, as well as a few unreleased tracks and interviews, all of which are free to download! a lot of care and attention goes into putting together these mixes, as well as the cover art used for them, and it’s a great way to keep up with what’s being released within different indie scenes.


Playlists by Lucy Betz

at the very end of this past summer i started writing for what has been my favorite publication for the past three or so years, rookie! since then i’ve been revisiting some of my favorite stuff published on the site from when first i started reading it. through this endless scrolling I was delightfully reminded how much i truly love the work of contributor lucy betz. since joining rookie in the spring of 2014 lucy has made a slew of memorable essays, diy guides, and illustrations. i also distinctly remember seeing lucy do a reading at rookie’s yearbook launch last year, that was just so funny and thoughtfully written. out of all of the work lucy has produced for the the site, lucy’s friday playlists are by far my favorite. i’ve been listening to each of them a lot while editing together this issue, and slumber pary and drift off have been the primary ones on rotation. go check out lucy’s writing, art, and playlists, and we can anticipate lucy’s next contribution for rookie together! rookie’s yearbook four also came out this month, and it somehow exceeds the impeccable standards that they’ve set for themselves with their past books, so go check that out too!