Thursday, August 11, 2011

Portland Zine Symposium 2011

The family Style & Tugboat press respectively

A Julia sun burst

Mega Bros Chris, Jason, & Tim Root!

I am currently in a post Portland Zine symposium mope. But This mope is different then the usual post PSZ mope. Regularly this event ends and I realize I have suddenly found myself alone and in what seems like immobile silence after spending nearly 3 days (including the Friday prior) going totally insane with friends both from & out of town, putting myself out there for people to judge, purchase, or pass all in the storm of a buzzing convention hall filled with the most stinky beings imaginable. So there is a crash. A lonesome crash, where you don't know what to do. You cant remember how to be alone or without crowd noise & you are not sure if you can or want to be. Its like a break up in a relationship. This time Is different. This time I broke up with PSZ. I found myself on the last day showing up uncharacteristically late and not enthusiastic. I was not excited to see anyone, and the previous day of selling only 2 books before the symposium began that was followed by no sales and no one even looking at my books let alone even engaging me aside from return venders that are friends, left me with little to look forward too. I had just made a new book I had hoped I would sell out of the extremely limited print run i made. It was full color so it needed to make its expenses back. Normally this would be a sure thing, I only made 20 copies which is a normal amount for me to run through at a convention. I also had a bunch of comics I made including "Dream Grant" which is only a few months old and not in a ton of Portland hands. But sure enough no one even batted an eye at any of it aside from the 5 or so out of town venders I only tend to see at these events. By the afternoon on Sunday this had taken its toll & I suddenly was wondering why I was even there. The people walking around purchasing things were only picking up the material that is the typical or even stereotypical fair that one would joke about all zinesters being made of. I suddenly realized, I am not a zinester. Zinesters came up asking for trades & I only did it a couple of times to find myself with material I would never pay attention to. This material seemed to only require a high school level of skill (which is not to say my writing skills are great) & was totally self absorbed. On top of that the "art work " inside was merely a bunch of cut out illustration from various sources used WITHOUT permission, which for me is totally a really offensive punch in the face. I was so mad, and I realized I had just been sitting there surrounded by this, and a bunch of bad vibes coming from my piers loosing money & wasting time that i could be spending making something that is actually rad, and have a rad time! The final blow was when one of my piers was gone from the table & a customer came to buy one of their books & i couldn't find a visible price anywhere (on top of the fact that on day one they said they'd rather not make a table price list to keep things organized). I sold the book for 2 dollars short on accident only to get scolded. I packed up tossed 2 dollars of my own in compensation & walked out of the loading dock after securing some luck & self esteem with the Sparkplug comics table who sells a lot of my books. I was bummed, and now broke from no sales & lots of PSZ partying. I don't want to do this again. This is not my crowd & I am not a salesmen. My self esteem was crushed, feeling like I make garbage that is invisible yet deterrent. My relationship with PSZ & Zines is done. BUT...................... Below is a Monster drawing I started just before leaving, that made me feel a little better!

Then I drew this one as soon as I was settled elsewhere!!! & then I made 2 more monsters!!! It felt good!!! Fuck IT! YEAH!!!

By 2 nights later I had watched BMX Bandits & started the image below for a super rad fantasy themed art show in San Fran that is coming up! IT FEELS GOOD!!!! FANTASY IS GOOD!!! Drawing is good!!!

Stay rad!!! Don't get lost in culture and don't let it bring you down!


Graham said...

Dude, I am so sorry to read this! We need to hang out! Things are crazy here right now, but we should totally get together some weekend in the next couple of weeks and get you re-energized! And I will definitely buy one of the new comics. Your stories and use of color usually blow out the back of my head (in a good way), and I could use that right now.

Blue said...

Hey buddy, you're one of my favorite people, so I am bummed you didn't have a good time. If there is anything you think the organizers could have done better, be sure to let us know. Beyond that, know I would miss your awesome face if it wasn't there.

katie ash said...

Yo Sean! Sorry you didn't have a good time at the symposium. Zinesters are strange folk. I very much enjoyed seeing you there - sorry if I didn't have too much time to spend. I know the zine symposium isn't always the best place to sell stuff. If there's anything we can do better next year, please let us know.


suzette. said...

OH MAN this explains why, when I tried to find you to get you to explain dubstep to me, you were nowhere to be found. Bummer rats, man.
In other news I hope some of the people upstairs give me their sandwiches.

Sean Christensen Awesome But True said...

Graham, that would be rad! I was just thinking of you last night (no, not that way) and how we need to hang out and get rad again! Im swamped at the moment too, but soon my friend:)

Suzette, oh man I forgot I was supposed to give you a verbal on the ins & out of dubstep. My research is still lacking any real explanation for its perpose or function. It seems to be a music form pretending to be everything but winds up leaving everyone with nothing. Good luck on the sandwiches, I know some good sandwitches who can cast a good sandwich spell if you are ever in need!

Stay rad!

Sean Christensen Awesome But True said...

Suzette, I almost forgot, its not Dubstep you should be concerned with but Brostep wich you should down right fear

Kelly Froh said...

Hi Sean - Max and I were pretty shocked at the lack of engagement from the attendees, the lack of sales and the substandard quality of trades. I never want to discourage someone from making a zine, but somewhere along the line these kids were told that zines are sloppy, unedited nightmares where you just write in banal fashion. I do realize I am more a mini-comic artist than a zinester, but I still want to have one foot in that world, even if that means that disappointment might happen, I have hope that it will get better, or that really awesome zine was out there and I just missed it!