Friday, May 24, 2013

Chats with zine makers #1: Lucy Meyle

Remember when you nominated several zine makers who would make your lists of 10 beautifully illustrated zines? You said that Lucy Meyle makes zines worthy of your top 10 list, so we had a chat with her to kick off our monthly series of zine maker profiles:

An experiment in dealing equally with both images and text, so neither would be sacrificed (in terms of size and amount) in order for the exegesis to function.
Ya-Wen: So, to get the ball rolling, how do you feel about having been mentioned as the maker of someone's top 10 beautifully illustrated zine? They didn't name a zine - which one do you think they were thinking of?

Lucy: It’s quite exciting for me to be mentioned- though I'm not sure which one in particular they would be talking about. I try to consider my work with a critical eye but I really don't know what other people will think of it once it goes out into the world.

Ya-Wen: Yeah, I've often wondered where my zines go once they are released into the world. It's a cool connection to discover someone having one of your zines, or talking about it and you happen to come across that conversation. I have the pleasure of owning one of your zines, G O O D G R I E F, - the cover is wordless, an undulating series of waves. Inside, words float among these waves and delicate line drawings of curtains and gesturing hands. I think it was the one you were signing and giving out at the Potroast launch. Can you tell us more about the making of this zine?


excerpts from
Lucy: Yeah, I love finding those connections too! It is really great to talk to someone who has read a zine I've made because their interpretations are almost always more interesting than whatever my intentions were. With most of my zines/comics I don't work in a linear way, but rather assemble them after making lots of little gestures towards an idea. That comic in particular came out of experiments in using an ebb and flow rhythm in text/image to set a tone rather than trying to tell a story.

Ya-Wen: The experiment made your zine special to me. From the little zine history that I do know, prioritising tone over story seem a relatively new way of zine-making - I mean, zines have such a strong connection to voice and narration and story - what do you think of this? What led you to carry out these experiments via the zine form?

Lucy: I guess I'm more interested in making things which resonate with me- my favourite films or songs don't excite me solely because of well-crafted storylines or great lyrics. When other artists give me as a reader/listener/viewer the space to think or to respond without being hit over the head with the 'answer', I am almost relieved. I like when something causes an interruption in how I normally process things- a story that is not a story, a song where I can't fully understand the lyrics. I guess I try to approach making comics or zines the same way, and it has never occurred to me that this was out of the ordinary.

Wall installation: an exploration of fragmentary narrative through comics.
AUT St. Pauls Gallery
Lucy: There is this Deleuze (who is sometimes pretty zzzzzzzz, but this time less so) quote which I find reassuring whenever I think my comics/zines are too boring, which kind of sums up this approach far more eloquently:

"So the problem is no longer getting people to express themselves, but providing little gaps of solitude and silence in which they might eventually find something to say […] What a relief to have nothing to say, the right to say nothing, because only then is there a chance of framing the rare, or even rarer, the thing that might be worth saying."

Ya-Wen: Have you read Roland Barthes' The Neutral? It's written tonally too, and mimetically teases out the nuances of silence. And I think that Deleuze quote is very relevant - it certainly describes my desires in this over-saturated environment.

This may be completely irrelevant, but there's this quote by Kenneth Goldsmith (which I always turn to) that seems to offer another kind of validation of the 'gap', or at least, of creating work out of material that has already spoken:

"The world is full of texts, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more. It seems an appropriate response to a new condition in writing today: faced with an unprecedented amount of available text, the problem is not needing to write more of it; instead, we must learn to negotiate the vast quantity that exists."

Ok. So, are you working on something at the moment? Or have plans for something?

Lucy: I haven't, that sounds really interesting though! The Goldsmith quote is so good, I like that idea of 'negotiating' texts.

In the short-term, I have a table at the Sydney Zine Fair so I'm busy trying to reprint previous work as well as putting out two new short comics. One is a follow-up to a short 8-page one which is showing at the Side Way gallery at Artstation at the moment. The second one is an A4 ink comic, called I Am Trying To Concentrate. Long-term, I'm trying to find paid work, on a couple of committees with some cool people, and working towards putting out a long-form comic in September.

Ya-Wen: Oh, I already resonate with that title. The times I have tried to concentrate! Your projects sound exciting - good luck!