Interview with Our Queer Art
May 19, 2017 Jamey Hampton 0 Comments
I recently did an interview about my zine-making and artistic process with an awesome website called Our Queer Art that does profiles of queer artists! Here is the full text of the interview.
What is your name?
If a group, who is in the group and what are their roles?
I publish under the name Fire Ecology Publishing and I like to collaborate with and publish my friends but it’s mainly just me!
Where are you from?
What kind of work do you create?
What do you define yourself as (visual artist, poet, theatre maker, etc)? Or do you not? Why/Why not?
I’m a poet and a wild animal
How long have you been practicing?
I’ve been writing poetry and helping with producing other friends zines for many years but I’ve been making my own zines from scratch for about 6 months and it feels amazing.
What interests you about your medium or why do you use this medium?
I love everything about zines. I love the way they make you work with your hands, with glue and staples. I’m a programmer for my day job and I like writing code but it all only exists on the screen. There’s something so visceral about making something and being able to hold it and hand it to somebody else. It’s very cathartic to take your feelings and create something real and tangible. I love how lo-fi zine are and how accessible they are. Anyone can make a zine, no previous experience required! I love going to kinkos and making copies. Kinkos is a place for the community to make copies of whatever they’re working on and I love the people I run into there. I love the zine community. There’s something so punk about the low barrier to entry. I love other people that love zines and I love trading zines because we all want to read each other’s work and understand each other a little bit better. I feel such a connection with other people through their zines.
When were you first exposed to your art form?
When I was in college, I did a lot of urban exploration and ran a blog for my urbex photography. I discovered Infiltration, which was a Canadian urbex zine from the mid 90s and was able to order the complete set of back issues and tore through them. Not long after that, I met some other urbexers in my city who made zines and started helping them out with their production! We used to have zine-sponsored open mic nights and that was the first time I read my poetry publicly. It was good times.
What kind of work do you want to create, or what work are you inspired by that you would like to strive for/emulate?
I want to create work that is honest. I read a lot of zines and I think a lot of them are very honest. That’s something I really like about zines, but actually I think it’s more a reflection on zine makers than the medium itself. Reading a zine that’s really honest says something to my soul and it makes me want to be honest too.
Every artist loses inspiration, or has “writer’s block.” What do you do to push through it?
There are times in my life when I have a lot of inspiration and make a lot of art and there are other times when I don’t have a lot of inspiration and don’t make very much art. That’s okay! I remind myself that my self worth isn’t tied to how much art I’m making. Practicing good self care means being okay with the times when I don’t have time to make zines or don’t feel like making zines and getting back to it when I feel ready.
What is special about your work? What do you have to say that others don’t?
I think everyone has something different to say and that’s pretty special.
What limitations do you find with your medium?
Zines can be a pretty restricted medium in some ways because of quality/resolution. I usually can’t afford to make color zines and you lose a lot of quality and detail when you make lots of copies, so I have to make something that I think will still look the way I want after I make black and white copies of it. But I kind of like restricted mediums (like Twitter poetry – 140 characters or less!) because they make you think differently and creatively!
What do you want to tell artists who are just beginning their journeys?
You’re allowed to be completely selfish about your art. Make art because you love it, because it’s fun, because it makes you happy. The worth of your art should be based completely on how happy it makes you, not on what it looks like or what it means to other people. If you don’t love it, if you’re not having fun, if it’s not making you happy, you’re allowed to do something else.
You are not allowed to use your medium anymore, what medium do you choose to begin and why?
I would surreptitiously grow moss on other people’s wooden fences in patterns that make art.
Are you currently working on a project you’d like to plug?
I am doing a zine fair in Buffalo at the beginning of June and I’m very excited about it! I don’t expect people reading this on the internet to be close enough to me to come to my zine fair, but I would encourage everyone to check out this list to see if there is another zine fair near you and check it out if you can and support your local zine makers!
Where can we find your work?
I have a website where I post everything I’m working on! I also do a lot of activism and public speaking about my experience as a trans person in tech. My website is at www.jameybash.com and a list of the zines I’m currently selling is at www.jameybash.com/available-zines/! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to order them (: