Meet this Zinester: Uno Foto Art

Meet Uno Foto Art, the cool Artist & zinester with one of the cutest dog’s ever! So stick around get inspired and then make zines!

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Who are you & where are you based?
I’m Lisa, but I go by the moniker Uno Foto Art…based out of San Diego, CA, by way of El Paso, TX. Nice to meet you.

What are zines to you?
For me, zines are about release—releasing thoughts and opinions into the ether for my own well-being. I make them for myself and hope that someone else can enjoy them, learn a thing or two, be inspired, laugh or all of the above.

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What was your first encounter with zines?
My first encounter with zines was actually at college in one of my Women’s Studies classes. My professor, Dr. J, had every student make a couple of pages of blackout poetry and collages describing ourselves and then combined the pages to make a class zine. That idea stuck with me for a couple years and inspired me to create my comp zine, “From Hell to Highwater”, which ran for eleven issues.

Do you think that bringing zines into a classroom setting is a good idea? if so, why?
Of course I think using zines in the classroom is a great idea! It encourages communication between students as far as sharing ideas for topics, collaborating on assembling and building confidence to speak their opinions. Which are all important and necessary traits to have as an adult.

When I first began to research zines, one of the things I gathered was that people really liked them because there’s a feeling of great freedom when creating them. It’s not straight or strict. You can do absolutely anything you want with it. There isn’t a list of rules you have to follow when creating a zine. If zines were brought into a classroom setting, would you begin to feel like now there are rules you have to follow? In other words, do you think a classroom setting would take away the charm of zines or would it change zines at all and how you feel about them?
When bringing zines into the classroom, I’d emphasize the fact that the student has full control of their creativity, which means NO RULES. Topics could be a possible touchy situation, depending on the type of classroom setting we’re talking about and the age of the students. In that situation, it may be better to use an overall generic topic and have each student branch off of that. If anything, that could add even more charm to zine-making because the result will be a variety of ideas/opinions on one topic.

Tell me about your zines. What kind of zines do you make?
No two zines of mine are alike and when I look back at my collection of zines, it almost acts like a timeline of my life. For the most part, I try to write in generalities, which I think makes them relatable to others. I’ve covered a wide range of topics from pet peeves, broken hearts, and dog personalities to “Seinfeld” and the band 311; it just depends on whatever is going on in my life. My life inspires my art.

What’s your favorite thing about zines?
My favorite thing about zines is the fact that they’re tangible! I like being able to hold something and re-read it without my eyes blurring like they do when I’m reading from my laptop. My second favorite thing: control. I love having full control of the process from start to finish.

Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
My zine process is fairly half old/new school. I almost always make a tangible zine prototype to figure out the layout and page numbers, which is usually made with scrap pieces of paper and masking tape because it’s quick and easy. Sometimes my zines are a mixture of computer font and my actual handwriting and sketches, so I’m usually scanning in artwork and then everything gets reassembled in Photoshop. Might sound like a lot of steps, but making the prototype actually saves me a lot of time!

Do you recall your first zine ever, what was it about and what inspired you to create it?
Technically, the first zine I had a part in making was the one in my Women’s Studies class, but I had no part in assembling it. “From Hell to Highwater” was my first self-published zine, which kinda followed the footsteps of my Women’s Studies class zine. For the first issue, I put out a call for submissions for only women artists and got a great variety of photography, poetry and art. That first issue was magical. I was surprised at the amount of people that responded, because I was definitely not as involved in the “zine scene” then as I am now.

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Do you have “From Hell to Highwater”, up for sale?
Yup–you order through my online store (unofotoart.storenvy.com) or message me to pay another way. I’ve also donated many issues to various zine libraries, so keep your eyes peeled.

What do you hope people get out of your zines?
I hope people get the joke.

Name two of your favorite zinesters.
I like too many different zinesters for too many different reasons…but I will tell you what my two most recent favorite zine acquisitions are. One of them is Yumi Sakugawa’s collab zine with Chad Shomura called “The Corner of Heart-To-Hearts”, about stranger intimacy. The second is issue nine of “Radical Pet”, written by Margarat Nee (one half of Grrrl Zines A-Go-Go); it’s about reconciling the death of her senior pup.

Is there a zine website or resource you would recommend new zinesters to check out?
The book, “Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine? The Art of Making Zines and Minicomics” was my bible when I started making zines. Not only do I love how the entire book is illustrated, but I love how simple it made it seem making zines was– and is! There’s also lots of helpful tips to jump start a budding zinesters creativity.

Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
If a new zinester feels overwhelmed by the idea of starting from ground zero, I tend to suggest starting off with something small, like a one-page minizine, and to make it about a topic they’re really into at the moment. Even I still get overwhelmed with the idea of starting a new zine because the design elements are limitless. As with anything else in life… one step at a time.

Uno Foto Art’s Links

Interview conducted by Solansh Moya
Pictures provided by Uno Foto Art

2 thoughts on “Meet this Zinester: Uno Foto Art

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