I’ve been really interested in zines lately and the whole process of what goes into creating a zine. So, I was really thrilled when Gabby Gabby wrote to me and told me she’d be interested in doing an interview about her project, “Illuminati Girl Gang,” which is a really awesome zine focusing on female expression in the arts.
How would you best describe your zine?
I would describe my zine as a subjectively curated collection of art that I like. There is never a theme to the issues and I feel like almost anything could be in the zine. I am mainly interested in modes of expression and the relation of the self to the external.
What sparked its creation?
The conception of the Illuminati Girl Gang was more spontaneous than I’d like to admit. I didn’t really have a plan when I decided that I wanted to start [something]. The idea behind it, which is to curate space for the work of female-identified writers and artists, had been something that I was thinking about for a while. Anyone can start a website for free and put whatever they want on that website so I started a website and put what I wanted up on that site and eventually, the IGG morphed from an idea, to a website, to a print publication. Making a website, as opposed to opening a ‘brick-and-mortar’ store is extremely simple and in this way it enables possibilities outside of concrete reality. I feel like it is more productive to create something that is what you want instead of complaining about something that currently exists that ‘lacks’ what you would want. In my case, I read a lot of lit mags online and as a general observation the majority of contributors to the lit mags that I was reading were male. Using statistics from ‘VIDA: Women in Literary Arts,’ for major publications, male contributors outnumbered female contributors consistently at rates of 2:1 or above. From what I have noted, observationally, the same holds true for ‘indie’ publications as well. Currently there exists publications, both known and unknown to me, which aim to specifically showcase female artists in reaction to these statistics. Illuminati girl gang is not new or innovative in that respect. I felt like I wanted to start IGG because the female-centric magazines or collectives that I was aware of seemed lacking in one way or another.
What is your background? Where are you from and how has it influenced you as a zinemaker?
I consider myself both a writer and an artist. To me, those words are interchangeable. I think I consider myself an artist and zinemaking is an extension of my art. I approach the curation process of creating IGG in the same way I would approach writing a book of poems or short stories. For IGG I design the web layout, the print layout, and read and edit submissions for each issue. Sometimes I think about taking on more people as editors but I think that I would never be able to give up full creative control in that way. I currently live in Virginia but I frequently moved from state to state in my childhood. I never felt connected to a certain place or felt quite right calling any city my ‘hometown.’ I think that where I am from has influenced my work in the sense that I have always felt alienated from my external surroundings. At any given location I always feel like I should be somewhere else. My art centers around the self in relation to the external. A lot of my pieces experiment with maximal internal dialogue and internal action and very little external plot/development. I am fascinated by the construction of identities in both relation and in isolation from place.
What types of artists/writers are you looking for when you curate your zine? How can interested artists go about submitting their work?
I curate the zine by both solicitation and open submission. I like the combination of both methods because through solicitation I have more of a control of the aesthetic of the content but through open submission I discover artists that I would not have known about otherwise. My favorite part about curating a zine is actively seeking out and discovering artists that I feel excited about. I personally select every piece that goes into the zine and submissions are done through my email.
What is your advice to young creators/artists who would like to start/write a zine but aren’t sure where to start?
As a general rule, if you want to start something you should just trust in your vision for the project and remain dedicated to it.
Links:IGG home page: illuminatigirlgang.com
IGG blog: blog.illuminatigirlgang.com
IGG store: illuminatigirlgang.storenvy.com Thanks Gabby!
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- The art cake is an art blog where I share my favorite art/design finds. I'm Christi, a girl originally from the south, but now living in the wonderfully quirky and perpetually rain-drenched city of Portland, Oregon with my cat Gizmo. I love discovering new art and sharing it with other people.
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