Name and location..
Brandy Erdmann, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
How long have you been making zines for?
I’ve been making zines and newsletters since I was 16, which means I started almost 17 years ago. I will admit, though, that between the ages of 20 and 25 I was completely absent from the world of zines.
What do you like to create zines about?
I don’t like to stick to any one subject, so I just create whatever is of interest to me at that moment. In high school, I started an anonymous newsletter that published the work of students that felt like they had no voice is our extremely conservative, racist institution. Following high school, I made zines that featured my terrible, angsty poetry. After a five-year hiatus from all things zines, I started Pixelated (a zine of various content). PIxelated was a collaborative zine featuring work revolving around a theme. For the past few years, I’ve focused mainly on list zines and zines about zines (how to present zine workshops, zine resources for the uninitiated, zine librarianship). My most recent creation, The Ideal Has Many Names, is a list of the many names I’ve bestowed upon my pet Himalayan cat.
What is your favourite zine/comic/book?
There are so many wonderful zines out there and I can’t choose one favorite zine. I do have a few favorite zine creator, though.
I love the work of Joe Carlough, Katie Haegele, Julia Eff, and Marc Wagner
In regards to comics, I love Megg, Mogg, and Owl; Questionable Content; the works of Lisa Hanawalt; Sex Criminals; Saga; and may more. I read a lot of comics.
As a librarian, I fit the stereotype that all we do is read all day. In trend with my answers to favorite zines and comics, I also read a lot of books and have many favorites. If I had to name just one favorite book, though, it would have to be Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.
Tell us a bit more about your creative process..
I try to write down zine ideas as they come to me but rarely do these ideas ever make it to print. I have generalized anxiety which manifests itself in a need for conditions to be just perfect before I can do much of anything. I prefer working in a well-organized, quiet space away from my pets and other distractions. I can’t even work to music because I’ll just end up fretting over the playlist rather than working on anything. Supplies need to be within arms reach but not cluttering the space and I prefer working by natural light. When the planets align perfectly, I can create a zine from idea to printed and stapled in a few hours. Interestingly, even though I start with a very neat and clean space, by the end of making a zine, everything isin utter disarray.
What does it feel like to have your zine/s in the London College of Fashion Library’s Special Collections?
It’s quite exciting to have my zine in the collection. When I was first contacted, I was both surprised and flattered to be asked.
What influenced Almost a Week of Beauty?
A couple years ago, I read an article about Korean skincare. I was intrigued by its complexity, seeming almost like a challenge than a practical daily regimen. As for myself, I’m by no mean high maintenance. I mean, I brush my hair maybe twice a week and still have no idea how contouring works. On a sleepless night I found myself shopping on Ebay for nothing in particular and somehow ended up looking through cute skincare products from the Korean brand Tonymoly. I found their fruit and animal-shaped packaging adorable but couldn’t justify spending a lot of money on products I probably wouldn’t use. Instead, I purchased a lot of 50 Korean skincare samples to try. When they arrived, I realized I had no clue what to do with the various ampoules, toners, serums, creams, and masks. Nor could I read Korean. After several hours of research on the products and how they fit into a skincare regimen, I thought it would be a fun challenge to actually take care of my skin for once! And what better way to document the journey than in a tiny zine?
What one piece of advice would you give UAL students about zine making?
Do what feels right. Zines should be exactly what you want them to be.