A Modern Woman on the Move

in hot pursuit of the great green light…

Interview with Jason Fischer…

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Here is the second interview I am posting… This is the interview Jason Fischer did with me over the phone, which I then transcribed for the 10th Annual Portland Zine Symposium’s Special Edition Program.
Blue: Who are you?
Jason Fischer: Jason “JFISH” Fischer… I am a cartoonist, comic artist, illustrator, general artist, gallery co-owner.
B: Where are you from?
JF: I am originally from a suburb of Los Angeles called Agoura Hills, which is, fittingly, in LA County, but it’s far enough that it still take 3 hours to get to downtown L.A.
B: When was your first year at the PZS?
JF: It was actually last year. Last year, 2009, was my first time going. I remember last year it being insanely hot, too. I remember getting there by bike and I remember being covered in sweat… Yeah, yeah, it was pretty bad–like it is now! B: Yeah, it’s really hot, but–
JF: That was my first time meeting you, too.
B: Oh yeah!
B: What made you want to attend the PZS?
JF: Well, I, before… Let me think. Before 2008, I began to exhibit at conventions with the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco, which used to be around April, but now is around October. I had moved to Portland in 2008 and with my move I also was planning to attend more conventions, at least I knew that there was some in Portland. I didn’t know, upon my moving to Portland, about the zine symposium, but I found out… about… I’m trying to remember specifically, let me think.. Oh! You know, maybe it did have something to do with the IPRC because I am pretty sure my friend Anne introduced me to the IPRC, which got Greg and I to go, and I do believe that we found out about the symposium there. And then I think also found out about Stumptown Underground and then I found out more online. Um, yeah. Which, that was around the same time, right? Last year’s symposium was, yeah?
B: Yeah, we started Stumptown Underground right after the Portland Zine Symposium.
JF: That’s right.
B: What is your favorite thing about PZS 2009?
JF: I’ve always had experience with APE and what I like about APE, knowing also what a convention like San Diego Comic Con is like I liked being a conventioner at APE because it’s a lot smaller and I have a lot more independent artists and comics artists and cartoonists and storytellers around with me. And so, moving to Portland, which I experienced this with Stumptown Comics Fest and Portland Zine Symposium, I just liked being around people with my own, uh, you know, uh, people with my own–what do you call it? I am looking for a particular phrase, but, basically just, you know, like my colleagues. I liked being around..
B: Your comrades or…?
JF: Yeah, just, like, people with similar ideas for interesting work who are working hard to put work out there for people to enjoy or people who work hard to get people together (to put things together or showcase or publish) I like being around. It’s not as if I can’t enjoy myself at a bigger convention. But obviously, with a bigger convention, when you’re either starting out or just, your know, underground or just independent, you work is more focused towards being a smaller demographic of interests that might even be a little more out there than the mainstream.
B: So, overall, do you feel more comfortable at the symposium?
JF: Yeah, I definitely feel more comfortable and I have a more relaxed time.
B: Is that because you’re around people who share your values?
JF: Yes, I think so. That’s what I meant too about people with like-minded ideas. People who are creating literature because they… have no other choice because they like to do it so much. And, you know, they are very involved with their community and getting it out. I guess I am also getting into why I like Portland so much, too. It’s for the same reasons why I like the symposium, it’s just having a lot of people around me who are into enriching their surroundings with their work, uh, kind of at all… At any cost really. Not a lot of people seem to be too concerned about making money or how, you know, their work is marketable or whatever. No one cares about that kind of stuff! It’s just, they’re just getting their thoughts on the paper, their thoughts and visions. They just want to share it with everyone else and I think that’s great.
B: How has PZS influenced or encouraged you?
JF: Well, I… Unfortunately, I haven’t quite shown the inspiration yet, but it’s definitely inspired me to want to create more zines and minicomics. Actually the funny thing it that I have more.. Uh, when I was first making work and trying to go to conventions and stuff, I was making more minicomics and such, but, uh, lately, I’ve been working so much on my comic project for future publications. But the symposium inspired me to make more autobiographical work, it’s made me want to produce more smaller run, special, you know, kind of like limited edition printings of hand made–well, actually, I did take some of the inspiration into account. I did make a book after the last zine symposium of a bunch of monsters from my webcomic and I hand painted the covers. I probably made about, like, 30. A convention like the symposium inspires me towards those kinds of projects. It also inspires me to, uh–around the same time… I think by that point I had already joined the Pony Club Gallery, but going to a convention like the symposium also helps to revitalize my desire to keep up. Having a place where work can be done and work can be distributed by local artists, such as the Pony Club Gallery artists, so that convention helps inspire me in that way, too.
B: What is your favorite zine that you discovered at the PZS?
JF: I remember I got, I remember I was sitting behind the Crazy Cat Lady Cookbook author, so that was fun. And then, with conventions, one of my problems is that I just stay at the table. So I sometimes don’t get around to see everybody’s work. But I am trying to overcome that anxiety and hopefully also have someone to help me watch the table a little bit, which Greg will be with me this year, so maybe I’ll be able to get around a little bit more.
B: Well, at the zine symposium, a lot of people trade. So a lot of times, even if you don’t leave your table, people are coming to you, asking for trades.
JF: I think I do remember trading a couple… Oh! You know what? I do have an answer to the last question, to back track. Actually, we were sitting next to the two Portland guys that work together and they create zines together… On guy is named… James Yeary  and the other guy is names Nate Orton. So, I was sitting next to them at last year’s zine symposium… I am trying to remember the name of it… “My Day Walking from Mt. Tabor to the Zoo,” a collaboration of Nate Orton and James Yeary. I gave Nate’s wife a copy of “Fine Literature 1” to trade. Because of that trade, we got both of them in Fine Literature 2, which we’ll have this year at the zine symposium. Nate is the artist and James is the writer.
B: Have you made any lasting friendships due to the Portland Zine Symposium?
JF: Yeah! Well, I met you and I got to meet Sean Christensen a little more… I got to know Dave Youngblood from Pony Club Gallery a little better. I got to meet another contributor from Fine Literature, Matthew Murray.
B: In what ways has the Portland Zine Symposium helped you most?
JF: I’m glad that it’s there for me to have a table there. I like tabling at conventions so much and, at the moment, it’s not the easiest to table at all the independently interested conventions that are still not, you know.. Like, conventions that are similar to APE, where they’re pretty big, pretty well known, but they’re not really full of major publisher work or anything like that. You know, full of superhero work , they’re still pretty independent. Before 2008, I had only gone to APE. With moving to Portland, I’m really glad to have conventions like the zine symposium because it helps me to feel more confident and experience in tabling and meeting people. It might not seem like it, but you know, often, it’s kind of like, breaking away from any hermit-ish kind of insecurity. It’s helping me to just kind of step away from my work and myself as an artist that works and just meet people and talk about my work in a relaxed manner. Meet more people who are creating to remind me that there’s lots of people out there making work, too. That’s why I really like the symposium and other  independent conventions.
Many thanks to Jason Fischer for being willing to be interviewed! I was lucky to interview quite a few talented people about PZS, zines and DIY culture for PZS and there are quite a few cool activities, comics, stories, etc. I highly encourage you all to pick one up for $2 (cheap price for a half page zine anthology and it totals at 52 pages) at IPRC or Powell’s (and those $2 go to support PZS). Or you can order one by emailing pdxzines at gmail dizzy-dot cee oh em. I am guessing that, if you’re outside Portland, add in shipping and handling to the $2 price.
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Written by lovemotionstory

September 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm

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