For this edition of AmaZine Day (Saturday, May 18th), we’ve lined up a two-part reading featuring some rad creators that have tabled at AmaZine Day and are active members of the Portland zine community! Amazine Day is a quarterly zine fest organized by PZS and happens at the IPRC. This AmaZine Day, readings are themed around Labor, in honor of May Day! Here is an interview that PZS Organizer Blue did with Aron Nels Steinke, who will be part of the first lineup of readers at AmaZine Day….
Blue: What are your current projects?
Aron: Mr. Wolf and The Zoo Box.
Blue: When and why did you start making zines?
Aron: In 2006, because I wanted people to read my work and I figured nobody else was going to want to publish me.
Blue: Can you tell us more about your zines?
Aron: I consider myself more of a mini-comics maker, in terms of self-published material. My mini-comic Mr. Wolf is about teaching first and second grade. I anthropomorphize myself and my students so that I can slightly fictionalize events and keep my students’ identities protected.
Blue: What’s your favorite part about making zines?
Aron: The immediacy. I really like being able to put out my work right away, when I’m ready, and when the book is ready.
Blue: What is your biggest challenge in making zines?
Aron: Printing the damn things. It’s a pain in the ass. I really don’t enjoy photocopying. I’ll make a batch of 80 or so, and then when I’m out, I realize I have to spend a day to make more! I feel like I’m blaspheming to those in the zine community when I say I hate the production of making zines. The production is not why I make them. It’s the product, empowerment, and the community.
Blue: Have you made friends through zines?
Aron: Certainly. Most of my friends are zine or comics makers.
Blue: Have you ever had an awkward or difficult social situation arise from something you’ve made that you want to share?
Aron: Not really. Because I teach elementary school I have made my comics tame enough that I shouldn’t ever get fired from a job for them. My first comics shocked my parents in terms of crude language. That was annoying to have to deal with.
Blue: What is your favorite Portland Zine Symposium memory?
Aron: When my wife and I were just dating, she had bought some artichoke hearts at the farmers market and let me use them to prop up my books. It felt right, using produce to help sell zines.
Blue: How did you hear about the Portland Zine Symposium?
Aron: My friend and writer Martha Grover was doing the zine symposium and suggested I check it out. This was 2006.
Blue: What is your favorite part of AmaZine Day?
Aron: Well, it’s relatively new, but what I like about it is that you don’t have to wait a whole year to get together and see what other people have done.
Blue: What’s been you’re favorite PZS-related event?
Aron: I’m not too social, so I usually just do the main event. Having dinner with my friends afterward is my favorite.
Blue: Where are you from originally?
Aron: Camas/Vancouver Washington
Blue: What is your favorite zine?
Aron: Too many. Somnambulist. I really liked Journal Song when Steve was making it.
Blue: What’s the first zine you ever read?
Aron: An early issue of Tom Lechner’s Consumption. My brother got it from him when they went to PNCA together. I was very confused by this book. I didn’t know how awesome it was until many years later.
Blue: Who has been the most influential zinester in your life?
Aron: Clutch McBastard and Martha Grover
Blue: What has been the reader response to one of your zines that had the most impact on you as the creator?
Aron: When I published my first mini-comic, Big Plans #1, I would just hand it to people and anticipate when they would react or laugh. That was thrilling.
Thanks so much to Aron Nels Steinke for being interviewed! Come see Aron read from his comics about teaching and working in education, listen to our other readers, and enjoy the two free workshops atAmaZine Day at IPRC! Check out the AmaZine Day page on our website for more info… http://www.portlandzinesymposium.org/amazine-day/