I talked with them for awhile at IPRC that evening, but then I also hung out with them a little bit the following two days. We hung out on Monday evening for dinner and then some Ground Kontrol fun with my partners Matt and Marco, and then Tuesday, midday, for some walking around PNCA and getting lunch with just Matt. Then they flew back to NYC. Meeting and spending time talking with them was very inspiring! They are both incredibly nice and creatively driven people, which I really respect. They had traveled to Portland for 3 days to visit Portland and, more specifically, the IPRC. While they had flown from NYC, where Asao is learning about his departed father’s life and artwork (which is on display as part of the Gutai: Splendid Playground exhibit at the Guggenhetim Museum), they are from Japan. As I (very unfortunately) know almost nothing of Japanese language, I found myself relying on their English knowledge and a little help from my google translate app to cover the gaps. I learned that they were interested in visiting the IPRC because they have a similar project going in their town of Hamamatsu in Shizuoka, Japan. AND, SERIOUSLY, THEIR PROJECT IS AMAZING.
I am totally using the word amazing on purpose here, because their project is called Zing! Zing! is a combination of the words “zine” and “ing,” which fits well because it involved opening a space for people to create zines for a month for each volume of Zing! From what I understood and the wonderful pictures Canaco showed me on her iPad, each volume of Zing! was the result of a month-long community event in a temporary space. It seems that they rented a space in their town for a month, set up all kinds of materials and a copy machine, then held parties and workshops to encourage people to come in and participate! Check out their blog to read about the launching of Zing!, to see photos of their really wonderful set up, to see their really awesome templates, learn about Zing! events, and more! They were really into sharing their work, they gave Matt, Marco and I some copies of Zing! zines, as well as some beautiful posters they designed, a cd of Asao’s music (Tategu Telepathy, music from a exhibition of tategu, a style of doors or openings), and a couple of Canaco’s prints of her illustrations. I gave them each a copy of The 3 of Us (because it was one of my zines that I had on hand), some IPRC paraphernalia (like the latest catalog and buttons and such), Matt gave them a copy of Garage Raja, and Marco give them a cd from his old band. I also felt very flattered as Asao and Canaco seemed to have printed out the Zine Machine template in anticipation of their visit and liked it.
Above, you can see the shared treasures! In the second photo, I am holding volume 2 of Zing!, which is very image heavy and another zine called Sunday Street. In the third photo, I am holding a zine by Canaco that is ALL illustrations of ice cream sundaes (!) and the Tategu Telepathy cd (which I haven’t listened to yet, somehow). The fourth photo is a spread of zines and illustrations from Asao and Canaco. From what I understood, Asao works in design and Canaco does work illustrating fliers, posters, and other cool things for community organizations. Asao and Canaco weren’t just being so generous sharing with us, I watched them approach other creative people around IPRC in the same vein as well as my friend Kinoko, who we happened to run into when we were at PNCA, she actually knows some Japanese language because she had lived there. I really admired their spirit of sharing creative work and ideas, they seem to have come prepared to share their work. Not only did they seem to have a lot of Zing! issues with them and other examples of their awesome work, they even had little plastic bags that they would put issues of Zing! and posters/fliers in as they were giving them out.
In this photo, you can see Kinoko excitedly receiving ziney gifts from Asao and Canaco.