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Portland Zine Symposium / Exhibitor Interviews  / PZS Exhibitor: Art Activist Nia

PZS Exhibitor: Art Activist Nia

We’ll be posting short interviews each day with the many exhibitors tabling at the 2016 Zine Symposium. Come meet all of these amazing zinesters, Saturday July 9th at Ambridge Event Center here in Portland, OR. Remember, there is only 1 day of tabling at this year’s Symposium. On Sunday July 10th, you’ll find us hosting a Skillshare day at the Independent Publishing Resource Center. Keep checking in with the site for additional exhibitor interviews, workshop and panel schedules, and fun events leading up to the Symposium.


>Where do you live?

The part of Ohlone land known as Oakland, California

> If this is your first time tabling at Portland Zine Symposium, what excites you most about Portland and its zine community?

This is my third year doing Portland Zine Symposium. My favorite things about the city are the food (especially the Lebanese restaurants) and the queer POC zinesters I know there, like Anna Vo, Jess Mease, and Joamette Gil.

> Share with us an image of you creating and/or your creative space. What is your zine-making process?

My last zine was made during a low-key manic episode. I got obsessed with the idea and could not rest until I had executed it to a level I was satisfied with. I got in trouble for working on it at my job (at a copy shop) during business hours so I started coming in early and staying late to work on it. I worked on it consistently for about 10 days and hardly slept during that time, but I’m very happy with the result, and people seem to like it.

> How do you keep inspired?

Some of my zines (When The White Man Gives You Money: Words of Wisdom for Queer Artists of Color and Constantly Coming Out: An Interview with Juba Kalamka), as well as my book (Queer & Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of Our Lives) and my podcast (We Want the Airwaves), are interview-based. Because a lot of what I do is editing and curating the work of other marginalized artists, what keeps me motivated is the importance what they have to say and of getting their words to an audience that will appreciate and understand them.

> If you could give your 16th year old teen self a zine, which one would it be?

Quantify by Lauren Jade Martin. This zine was really important for me in terms of understanding my identity as a queer mixed-race person and feeling less alone.

> What are you working on for this year’s Portland Zine Symposium? Share with us some photos of your new work!

My newest zine is called Bollywood Bromance. It’s a zine of things I yell at the screen while watching Bollywood movies alone in my house. It talks about queerness and feminism in contemporary Bollywood films, especially the intimate male friendships in movies like Gunday and Student of the Year. It also touches on colorism and sexism in the industry, but–since my last zine (ArtLife 2: Don’t Quit Your Day Job) was all about chronic pain, unemployment, and depression–I tried to make this one less heavy and more fun. I think I succeeded.

the cover of Bollywood Bromance

the cover of Bollywood Bromance


me with my first book, Queer & Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of Our Lives

comedian Hari Kondabolu holding a zine I made of my interview with him

comedian Hari Kondabolu holding a zine I made of my interview with him