Jess Hogan is founder of Neither/nor Zine Distro, co-founder and organizer of KC Zine Con #7, and an artist working mainly with collage. Their artwork is personal and represents an emotional release, while also creating a sense of community. Hogan’s work is on display at the Shawnee branch until August 21, 2022.
Introduce yourself and describe the work you do.
Hello! I'm Jess (they/them), a biracial (latinx/white) gender-fluid person who loves making, reading, trading and collecting zines. I live in KCK, love gardening, yoga, wildlife and donuts. I run Neither/nor Zine Distro and am a co-founder and organizer of KC Zine Con #7
My artwork is personal and process driven, precious yet digestible. Largely motivated by a need to occupy my hands and mind while being fueled by a desire to release the angst built up from a lifetime of desperately wanting to connect/be understood. The voice that was suppressed throughout my adolescence out of fear of disapproval from peers, grown ups, society, etc. emerges through my collage, first person autobiographical storytelling, and cut and paste layout aesthetic. I see vulnerability as strength and allow my artistic process to hold space for healing my inner child.
How does your work comment on current social or political issues?
I believe that the personal is political and that zines are inherently political because of their accessible/diy ethos. Since you are your own editor and often your own distributor you can avoid the barriers of access and exposure that exist in corporate media/publishing. For me, every zine is an exercise in trusting that my creations are inherently valid. Themes of self care, radical feminism, identity and autonomy naturally emerge from this space and are reflected in the subject matter. Although my zines vary from instructional to personal to visual they are linked by my desire to transmute my thoughts into a tangible artifact, an often anonymous analog folded and stapled time capsule. Each zine, collage and thought download are spells being cast then released into the universe. They are love letters to myself, not produced with gallery walls in mind, but for cafe tables, free boxes, trades, and for anyone who's looking.
What brought you to zines?
I was first exposed to zines by my older sister who would gift them to me and who’s friends made them. Zine distros continued what my sister had started. They furthered my access to zines, DIY culture, and radical politics. When I moved to St. Louis for college and studied abroad in Europe, I would seek out info-shops and cling to zine tables at punk shows to find literature that resonated with me and as a way to meet people. I was so grateful for the folks’ creating zines and the people who distributed them for providing me with a sense of community regardless of where I was in the world. Perzines [personal zines written about one’s own experiences] especially made me feel less alone when I was struggling with depression, and radical anarchist zines helped shape my worldview by introducing me to alternative ways of creating and existing (as an individual and within communities). Soon after, I started making my own zines!
What art do you most identify with?
Zines are my preferred medium because they exist outside systems of approval and give way for an honest form of expression that is easily reproduced and shared.
What is your dream project?
I'd love to help create a people's print center where all of my zine making supplies could live. Printer costs are so unnecessarily high, so I'd love to have a shared space where people could share and access print resources, including a photocopier. If anyone has a working copier and/or space to donate to make this dream come true, email me!!! Neithernorzinedistro@gmail.com
What is your most important artistic tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
The glue stick is my most important tool. I collage and format my zines the old school cut and paste way. So, scissors and glue sticks are a must have!
Please list 5-10 books, movies and/or music that currently inspire you.
Crying at H Mart by Michelle Zauner
The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu
'Maniac' album by Stray Kids
Seeing Red (movie)
Polysecure by Jessica Fern
The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice by T. K.V. Desikachar