In today’s installment of ‘Meet this Zinester’ we get to meet the creators of Bully-Free Zone, Angela Juarez and Martin Pohl. The 26-year-old zinesters work on their zine together from opposite sides of the United States, Angela living in Portland, OR and Martin in Albany, NY. We get to learn about both their zine experience. So stick around, get inspired, and then make zines~
Who is Angela Juarez?
Angela: Ahhhhh I’m still trying to figure that out!
Martin: Angela told me to change all the questions to reflect my name but I would prefer to answer “Who is Angela Juarez” than the question, “Who are you?” Angela Juarez is my friend whom I met sophomore year of college. She is probably my most talented friend. I say “probably” to leave room for interpretation amongst those who might be offended that their name did not follow the phrase most talented. Angela is multifaceted.
When did you learn about zines and what was your reaction to them?
Angela: I actually learned about zines through Martin! I loved everything about them almost immediately, from the DIY format to the variety of zines, all their shapes and sizes. It was overwhelming at first but I knew I wanted to be part of that world in my own way.
Martin: I can’t really remember when I first learned about zines but I probably first really came in contact with them in college through DIY/”punk” gigs. However, in elementary school I made comics with my friend and those were basically zines, we just didn’t have the terminology. I don’t really remember my initial reaction to zines but I assume it was quite positive, as it made publishing seem attainable.
What was your first zine about?
Angela: I think my first zine was a collab zine with Martin. My half was a collection of film photos and when you flipped the zine over the other half was a short story that martin wrote.
Martin: I think my first zine was a collection of comics about sad people eating food.
Tell me a little about your zine ‘Bully-Free Zone’?
Angela: Well it’s a zine that Martin and I co-created as a outlet for our unsolicited opinions and reviews of practically anything lol. We even sometimes include games and fun interactive articles that maybe one day will have some interaction ha ha ha.
Martin: I don’t really know how Bully Free Zone got started. I think Angela asked if I wanted to collaborate on a zine and we just went from there. It’s basically just a hodgepodge of whatever is on Angela and my (Martin’s) mind. There’s no real format, which makes it fun because we can do whatever.
Who is your target audience?
Angela: Definitely not bullies.
Martin: I don’t really know our target audience. We like all our friends to read it but I’m always interested to hear from random people who have read it whom we might not know. I don’t think we’ve gotten any feedback from random people but I would like some, regardless of whether the feedback is positive, negative, or neutral.
What do you hope to accomplish with your zine?
Angela: I hope that our zine makes people laugh and like Martin said, I hope our content will inspire people to throw their own thoughts and ideas into the world via lil booklets~
Martin: I don’t want to speak for Angela but I think both of us just like making stuff and the zine helps us to just be creative. I think it’s important to just keep making stuff and releasing it out into the world. I personally think people get too hung up on making something pristine to the point that they never end up releasing anything because the product is never “ready.” I guess, It would be cool if the zine just inspired some other people to just put stuff out there.
Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
Angela: It’s a lot of printing and cutting and gluing and taping and scanning and texting and emailing and drawing with pens and markers and then throwing it all together in InDesign until we have no more blank pages! and during that Martin and I will upload and update tons of files in a google drive folder we dedicate for each issue.
Martin: Angela and I mostly communicate via the internet and texting and I upload stuff. Thus far, Angela has been responsible for the layout and actual production of the zines themselves, which is why they look nice (however, I should stress that I do not think zines have to look nice. Angela just happens to be very talented so she is able to make zines look aesthetically pleasing. All the zines I do on my own look like amateurish and that’s also fine).
Name two of your favorite zinesters?
Angela: Probably Martin (his solo comic stuff) and our friend John Tappen who has this zine called “General Admission Mutt”
Martin: I really like reading this zine called Blood Video. It’s about the medium of VHS and current VHS culture. I also have some zines from Liz Prince, one of my favorite cartoonists who I find really inspiring. I have gotten stuff signed by her on a couple occasions. Also, I have received really cool zines from my friends Francis (who makes music under the moniker ylayali) and Katie Bennett (who makes music under the project Free Cake for Every Creature, for which Francis also drums). I liked all the zines I got from them a lot and neither of them has made one in a while but I wish they would.
Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
Angela: You can do it! I believe in you!
Martin: My advice is to just make stuff and don’t be worried about how it looks! I think the content is what’s most important but WHAT THE HECK DO I KNOW?!!!
Interview conducted by Solansh Moya
Stay tuned for next week’s ‘Meet this Zinester’ with Richard E Larios, creator of many comic zines.