Who are you? Where are you based?
My name is Annie Flores, and I’m a zine artist and performer based in Austin, Texas.
What are zines to you?
I was so struck by the very concept of zines when I discovered them. I thought it was some of the most inspiring, wonderful, authentic and incredibly human stuff I’d ever seen. I immediately wanted to be involved but put it off for years. Zines provide a platform for marginalized voices, of course – which is really beautiful (and important!) to me. But I also recognized a really unique community of writers and artists sharing their thoughts and experiences without any rules or filter whatsoever. That’s what I like. No rules when it comes to zines.
What was your first encounter with zines?
I earned my college education abroad. I used to go into London regularly and go into SoHo, explore the place. I developed a routine of visiting the famous Gosh! Comics store and they had a little section of indie-printed comics there. Getting really into those small presses and the world of DIY publishing lead into my discovery of zines.
Tell me about your zines. What kind of zines do you make?
I like to think of my zines as somewhat abstract, but always emotional, deeply personal. That’s important to me. I like them to be interpretive, but also highly visual. But I also like to experiment. It’s deeply therapeutic, actually! I enjoy exploring all the different ways I can visually represent what I’m feeling. Or sometimes I ignore all that entirely and write a bunch of mismatched nonsense. All in all, I ultimately make zines for myself. It’s a lot of self indulgence on my part.
What inspires you to create zines?
Connecting with other people is so important to me. It used to be something I denied myself, and now I use zines to share parts of my innermost self with others. I’ve been so inspired, so deeply moved by others’ artwork, that I can only hope I do the same for someone else. Even if it’s just a little laugh!
What’s your favorite thing about zines?
The creativity. It’s so incredible how inventive people are. Also the variety! They’re beautiful things, each and every one of them. It’s a great thing to me how when you hold a zine in your hands, you’re holding hours and hours of someone’s life. Their passion, their labor, their love, their smarts – no matter what the subject is. I don’t know. Gives me shivers.
Do you recall your first zine ever, what was it about and what inspired you to create it?
I made my first zine at a “Make Your Own Zine!” table at a zine fest here in Austin. It was called WHAT HAVE I DONE? and it was crammed with all these morbid, grief-themed images of car wrecks and a house on fire. On every couple pages I wrote a few words about how I felt dead since someone had left me, and on the last page I admitted that although they had left, and my heart was broken, everything was actually the same as when we were together. With or without them, my heart was broken. I was struggling with a toxic relationship then.
Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
It’s a little different every time, actually! Sometimes I’ll collage a mini zine page by page and then find words for each based on what I see, or what the images make me feel. Other times I’ll have a little story mapped out ahead of time, or I’ll just draw it out. I like to experiment, for sure. I sit on my knees at the coffee table, watching old DVDs of my favorite shows from middle school. That’s my comfort space.
What do you hope people get out of your zines?
From the more personal of my zines, comfort. If people could reflect on themselves and look inward, that’d be cool. To be moved at all, or just like what they see. If they learn something about themselves, or other people, maybe? Or not. That’s a hard one! Haha!
Name two of your favorite zinesters.
Ohhhhmygod don’t do this to me haha. There are so many wonderful artists out there. But honestly Jackson Stoner (@stonerzines) is so incredible. They’ve been supportive of my zines from very early on, before they even met me! Jackson is so involved and passionate and talented – it’s wild. I’ve been very lucky to work with someone like them.
Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
Literally just do it. Anything that comes from you, that is authentically you, that you work hard on (or maybe not!) is wonderful. It doesn’t have to be pretty or deep or even have any kind of point at all. Making something and sharing it is an experience I feel everybody should have. And if you have that itch then don’t hold back. Go for it.
Is there a zine website or resource you would recommend new zinesters to check out?
Broken Pencil Magazine, of course, is fantastic. They’re a great resource for connecting with DIY creatives in general and are super up to date with the community. Also, I’d say connect with every Zine Fest social media account that you can. Through them you can discover artists from all over the world, and even get involved in virtual workshops. Invade Facebook and hook up with every Zine Distro that you can, too. It’s definitely worth the time.
Annie’s Instagram: @permanentintern
Interview conducted by Solansh M.
Pictures provided by Annie F.