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Portland Zine Symposium / Exhibitor Interviews  / First Time PZS Exhibitor: Francis Kohler of Primitive Primate Press

First Time PZS Exhibitor: Francis Kohler of Primitive Primate Press

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?
I live in the Alamo Square neighborhood, which is located in the Western Addition of San Francisco, CA, USA.

If this is your first time tabling at Portland Zine Symposium, what excites you most about Portland and its zine community?
This will be my first time tabling at PZS. I’ve heard really great things about this event from friends who have tabled there in in previous years. I’m excited about meeting new people who may dig the zines I create.  No offense to the internet, but I really value the vibe that can only be achieved through face-to-face encounters.

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

MonsTeRNERD#2 layoutThis image shows the individual pages (printed out at quarter scale) of the second issue of MonsTeRNERD. Maybe because I also regularly I curate art exhibitions I tend to want the option to actually touch objects and move them around until the “rhythm” of the placement feels right. Though I’ve used computers pretty steadily and extensively since 1986—I assisted and apprenticed under John Sherlock Hersey (considered one of the founders of digital illustration) while going to art school—I still yearn for the hands-on experience and I incorporate it in my creative practice whenever I can. My current zine-making process involves a fair amount of research via reading and viewing. Next is the act of cobbling it all together (my stuff and contributors work), and laying it out. Much of this happens on the computer, but (at the risk of sounding repetitive) I miss the old analog way of things. That’s one of the reasons I’m re-releasing the very first zine I ever made (drawn in 1982, and published for the first time in 1992) the old-fashioned way: using hand drawn masters and reproduced on a photo copier.

How do you keep inspired?
Hm. That’s a tough one to answer because I don’t think I’m very good at “keeping inspired”. But I have to say that going to zine events has often been very inspiring. Even though the multitude of creators at zine fests make wildly differing things, it’s comforting to be amongst “my tribe”. It only takes one engaging encounter with an attendee or fellow tabler to make it all feel worthwhile. I think I have a pretty realistic and clear-headed perception of what I have to offer. I know the stuff I currently produce falls under the category “a niche of a niche”. Consequently I have to accept that I’m not a big crowd pleaser. That’s O.K., because when that rare someone connects with my work (and by extension, me) in a distinct and substantial way, I feel especially validated. My humble efforts were worthwhile after all.

If you could give your 16th year old teen self a zine, which one would it be?
I’d most certainly give my 16-year-old self copies of my current zines (MonsTeRNERD #1 and #2) along with the very insistent mandate that my young self get off his butt and start making stuff pronto, as well as getting that stuff out into the world regardless of how “finished” or competent I may (or may not) think that stuff is. Like a number of people, I’m my own worst critic. And it’s only gotten worse the older I’ve gotten. That self-sabotaging attitude has killed much of my creative output over the years, but my new mantra is Done Is Better Than Perfect.

What are you working on for this year’s Portland Zine Symposium? Share with us some photos of your new work!
As mentioned above, I’ll be resurrecting my first zine (The Serious Family) and re-premiering it. Here are two pages from that.

website: http://www.primitiveprimatepress.com