This weeks interview comes from Lori Turner from The Runt Collective. The Runt (zine) is an independent regular publication of art and literature…. Enjoy Folks!
Enquiries and submissions can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
What are Zines to you?
For me, Zines have always meant autonomy and freedom, a feasible way of getting your passions, opinions and politics out there, and regale people with your misadventures. It’s an alternative medium that’s actually accessible for a lot of people marginalised or frankly bored with conventional media.
What’s your first memory of Zines?
My first memories stem from English Punk fanzines from the late 70’s like Sniffin’ Glue and Kill Your Pet Puppy, really vulgar and crude tearaway art and writing. It looked great to me. That’s when I realised there was this whole other culture carried by a punk ethos and I hadn’t even scratched the surface of it.
What was your first publication? Please describe.
The Runt would be my first publication as I haven’t done any solo zines yet, just some illustration and posters for a few collectives and groups both here and abroad. If anyone is reading this and is up for it, I would love to collaborate with other zinesters!
Why did you start making zines/self-publishing?
What else would you be doing? If, like me, you’re unemployed and pretty pissed off with yourself and your situation, it’s vital to have a creative outlet. Self-publishing is the way to go. I gotta get my stuff out there! We all do. There isn’t much money going around for arty farty types in this city, but there’s a tonne of creativity.
What/Who are your influences?
My influences vary and change. Currently, I am really into 70’s sci-fi illustration and comics, psychedelic, underground magazines from back in the day like Oz and International Times and more well-known publications like 2000 AD and Heavy Metal, things I probably wouldn’t have considered ‘art’ a few years ago. I love the covers of old sci-fi/science fantasy books, and the cover art of a lot of prog-rock albums like that of Yes – the art of people like Roger Dean, Rodney Matthews and Ian Miller are just amazing. Miller did a lot of work for White Dwarf – Games Workshop’s magazine. I never would have thought I’d be writing about it about a year ago.
What is your favourite material/method for making zines?
Well, the next issue of The Runt is going to involve me trying my hand at editing, so I guess I can experiment with the method. At the moment we’re pretty traditional with how we put together our zine, photocopies and staplers, etc. If money wasn’t an issue I’d say we’d have a lot more colour and texture in our work and I’d say there’d be more scope for other senses to be stimulated, like a free cd with every zine to listen to whilst reading certain narratives. That could be great actually. I’d like to see more collages, montages and photography, and an interactive element in zine nights. Up close and personal spoken word is a very important part of The Runt.
Do you have a favourite zine?
I don’t think so. I like when I can trade my work for someone else’s labour of love. People’s zines can be very dark and personal so I really enjoy getting zines my friends have made. Aesthetically, I am still drawn to the gritty, raw look of punk zines, and I still try and buy/trade for them whenever I can. I like the fact that zines can be about anything, from bodily fluids to knitting. I tend to want to read the feminist zines or the zines that are full of recipes, although I have yet to make my own elderflower wine!
What’s the best/worst things about making a zine?
Well, let’s start with the worst things. The Runt is a collective of people who all got together after doing the same undergraduate degree. We all had a passion for literature, poetry, writing and storytelling, but other than that we don’t really have much in common. In this sense, it’s always difficult to reach a consensus, you have to make sure there isn’t a democratic deficit in a minutiae of decisions; everyone gets a say within reason. I think we’d all produce very different zines if we went solo.
Trying to find a venue is hard too. Most of us don’t drink, and a major issue has been the use of pubs for Zine launches, because there is an onus on folk to buy drink, and that is something a lot of us feel uncomfortable about. Thankfully there’s a lot of non-profit centres for workshops and events cropping up in the wake of the closure of the Exchange, and it’s the perfect compromise for all of us and then if it’s a BYOB venue, that’s great too. We have yet to find a suitable venue for the next launch so scoping out venues is definitely the worst thing at the moment.
The best thing is that you’ve created something. Every day we are smacked full force with consumption culture, but when you create something yourself, it’s pretty liberating because I personally feel it’s you giving the finger to that draining and disempowering aspect of our culture. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve created something good though!
How do you distribute your publications?
Well, I’m the ‘Artist in Residence’ which is really a cop out, because it’s another way of saying that I amn’t currently in charge of distribution or publicity. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t be as good at flaunting our wares as some of the other folks in The Runt, such as the Social Media Manager and Event Manager. I don’t know if they know that they’re stuck with those titles, but they are. They’re the best guys for the job.
Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to start a zine?
Well, I didn’t know my arse from my elbow when I started, I’m not sure any of us did, although some of the lads were definitely exposed to zine culture in their band/touring days. We are really in the very early stages ourselves. We haven’t really networked or made many connections in the Zine world, but hopefully Dublin Zine Fair will rectify that.
I say, do it! Contact the people who make the zines you like. Ask them questions. Chart what they did. Copy and paste, rip it up, scribble, doodle, experiment!! Trade, become a PR guru, collaborate. It won’t make you rich but it might keep you sane.