Our 11th installment of Zinesters in LCF Special Collections features Alyssa Giannini , their zine Problem Skin can be found in our zine collection.
Name and location..
Alyssa Giannini, Olympia, WA.
How long have you been making zines for?
I’ve been making zines for 7 years now.
What do you like to create zines about?
Lots of things! Most of my zines are either perzines (zines that are primarily personal, about my life/feelings), how-to guides informed by personal experience, or collections of art/poems/comics. Aside from making zines to document what art stuff I’m working on, most of my zines come about when I have an idea and ask, “Is there a zine about this?” If the answer is no, or “Kinda,” I make the zine.
What is your favourite zine/comic/book?
It’s impossible to pick one, or even one of each for me. Some of my all-time favorite zines include DoDIY.org’s “Building” zine, Raised by the Internet by Amrit Brar, Show & Tell by Rachel Lee Carmen, and Letters #1 by Anya Liao and Georgia McCandlish (BFF Locusts). Some of my favorite comics include King City by Brandon Graham, Year One by Ramsey Everydaypants, Apocolypse Dad by Taylor Dow. I’m probably leaving something very important out!
Tell us a bit more about your creative process..
Zines usually grow out of my need to express some cohesive thought, and because I’m a multidisciplinary artist, they work really well as a tool to convey an idea expressed in lots of different mediums. Almost all of my zines include text, drawings, photographs, and poetry which work together to illustrate a point. The zines themselves are also an art object for me, which is why all of my zines have color card stock covers and are bound with embroidery floss. Generally I’ll get an idea, brainstorm what things i need to write about or draw, and slowly check things off the list. Sometimes a zine forms around a body of work I already have most of, and I just fill in the blanks. I create all the content by hand and then pull it into an archaic version of Photoshop to do the layout.
What does it feel like to have your zine/s in the London College of Fashion Library’s Special Collections?
It feels awesome! I feel honored because I’m passionate about making zines, and it feels good to have my work appreciated.
What influenced Problem Skin Zine?
I was feeling especially indignant after doing outreach at a tabling an event on behalf of Olympia Zine Fest, where a lady came up to me and politely feigned interest in our zine-making table before discreetly letting me know that she noticed I had acne. She explained that she was a dermatologist, and she gave me her card. This was not the first time a stranger decided to give me skin care advice, but I was infuriated by the oblivious audacity of the gesture, and that was the catalyst for making the zine. I’ve had acne through adolescence, and for literally all of my adult life. I wanted to draw attention to the huge deficit of skin condition acceptance in the body positivity movement, and reclaim my shitty complexion for personal empowerment.
What one piece of advice would you give UAL students about zine making?
Don’t overthink it. The great thing about zines is their accessibility. You can make a zine about anything you want, you can make a little mini zine out of cutting and folding a single piece of paper, if the process of making a lengthy zine intimidates you. And if you’re having difficulty with pagination, you are not alone. It took me 5 years before I had it down!