Who are you? Where are you based?
My name is Drew, and I created and curate the constantly unfolding narrative told by VLASINDA PRODUCTIONS. We live and work in the town of Claremont, CA.
What are zines to you?
Zines are ideally inexpensive ways to tell stories or share creativity with other artists, almost like a secret code or riddle. You only know someone fully when you have read their zine.
What was your first encounter with zines?
I saw my first set of zines in 2012 when I took an extended weekend away from school and work and boarded a bus headed for Oakland. I was going up there to meet some friends I had not seen in a while. Back home, I was working part time and attending a community college. In my spare time (which I had a lot of those days), I concentrated on creating films. I had been working on, what seemed at the time, a large production. It was a long and grueling shoot and almost turned me off completely to the idea of being a filmmaker. So this weekend getaway was a great relief for me at the time. On my first night in Oakland, I crashed at my friend Peter’s house. Peter was the one who introduced me to zines. He had a stack of them on his counter that he had made. To me, this was a new concept; Little books made with printer paper and a photocopier– A way to channel my creativity without a large cast & crew.
Tell me about your zines. What kind of zines do you make?
We make zines that are typically printed in black & white and rely on illustrations to tell their tales. Occasionally we also incorporate poetry or short stories. But no Vlasinda Zine is complete without illustrations.
What inspires you to create zines?
Many things inspire me. Sometimes I will be working hard at my day job, and something will stick out to me. Or I will be exhausted after a long week, and I will put on a movie to laugh at. It is difficult to explain, but when I get a feeling or a thought, sometimes it will manifest in my head as an image. I grab the nearest pen and paper and draw these visions out. Many of them I later incorporate into my work in one way or another.
What’s your favorite thing about zines?
I love that zines are oftentimes not perfect. But still a direct root to their creators. They are an easy medium to express personal thoughts that may not seem to have a place anywhere else.
Do you recall your first zine ever, what was it about and what inspired you to create it?
I actually still have a copy of the first zine I ever created. I recently shared photos of it when Vlasinda did an Instagram Takeover for this year’s Orange County Zine Fest. It was called “The Tangible Calling #1”. A little illustrated storybook that poked at my distaste for clichés in modern media. I began working on it not long after I returned home from my trip to Oakland. My film friends thought I was losing my mind at the time– That I would “waste” my creative energy on making something so minuscule… But still, it released a lot of frustration for me as an artist.
Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
I usually keep a notebook of random thoughts that evolve into ideas. Sometimes the ideas will connect, and I will put them together to see where it goes from there. A lot of times, I will draw little diagrams of a zine’s layout and use it as a guide for fitting pieces together.
What do you hope people get out of your zines?
We hope that people see our zines and are inspired to create works of their own.
Name two of your favorite zinesters.
Two of my favorite zinesters are Daniel Whitfield (@lifeofawhitfield) and, of course, Peter Williams; My friend who introduced me to zines.
Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
I say, if you have an idea, just go for it. You are going to use a lot of paper and ink testing out ideas. But the more you do it, the more precise you will become.
Is there a zine website or resource you would recommend new zinesters to check out?
Honestly, groups like Weirdo Brigade are helpful to zinesters. We love that you are a part of bringing the creative community together to meet and network with one another.
Interview conducted by Solansh M
Photos provided by VLASINDA.