I’m digitally catching up with my friends and collaborators, Anjelica Colliard and Kelsey Westphal, the founders of the Bay Area zine, Come Find Out. The year 2014 ended in the triumphant release of their 11th zine, Paradise — no small feat considering the artist wrangling, deadline management and the production of this beautiful and entirely self-funded artist publication.
In the New Years’ spirit of reflection and resolution, we will discuss their year in comics and their vision for Come Find Out. Meet the hardest working print and comic book artists in the East Bay.
J. Sayuri: How are you doing? What have you been up to in life and comics?
Kelsey Westphal: I’m swell. Right now it’s vacation and I’m so deeply stoked to be in California that I can’t wipe this silly grin off my face! Life is comics right now — studying ’em, makin’ ’em, writing about ’em. It’s kind of nuts.
Anjelica Colliard: Hello! I am making many things, working at my friend Max Stadnik’s lithography studio and also trying to set up a studio in my garage, working on my Jungle Girls series, and working on zine projects, including Come Find Out, of course.
JS: Anjelica. I hear you were recently at the East Bay Zine Fest. Who did you meet? What was the most exciting thing you saw? What did you learn?
AC: It was sooo awesome! I received such positive feedback about the new CFO issue -#11, Paradise. Traded with a lot of amazing artists and zinsters as well. It was my third year vending at the East Bay Zine Fest and I always really enjoy the event for its supportive and passionate crowd. It is one of the few zine scenes remaining in the Bay that is still mainly about sharing one’s art, not selling the most product.
JS: Kelsey, I hear you are studying comics in France. Making new friends? Making new comics?
KW: New friends yes! New comics yes! Lil’ moody French kids drawing in a paper-mill turned art school. Angouleme is mighty cute but I gotta admit I missed the shit outta Oakland. The best part about the program is the stuff we do outside of class, to be honest. It’s all a bit too theoretical and not as practical as I hoped, but all the collaborations are student-initiated, which kind of keeps it more funky anyway!
The best thing going on right now is that next semester I’m going to start illustrating V Vale’s biography (of Search & Destroy & RE/Search publications)! It’s gonna be really challenging but awesome! So I’m feeling excited! Overwhelmed and intimidated but excited.
JS: Tell me a little bit about the inspiration for your latest zine, Paradise. Why Paradise?
AC: I believe we started thinking about the idea of paradise after the number 11 – eleven, heaven? Something like that. It was going to be either paradise or infinity, and we took a poll between some of our close friends as to which was more inspiring.
KW: It started out as just kind of a rhyming thing with 11…Heaven…Paradise, but the more we started to talk about it the more I started to see references to paradise everywhere–its such a common trait of societies in turmoil to project a perfect place into the future or into the past, but the reasons why and ways how vary so much depending on the culture and individual imagination, it seemed like an ideal theme!
JS: Paradise is your 11th zine. How do you keep going? What keeps you motivated to keep making zines? How have you two developed as collaborators on this huge project?
AC: Haha, I’d say it’s all Kelsey that keeps us going! She is always the one to say it’s time to start the next one and get us on track. But I do feel that we’ve come this far with CFO and have built a pretty strong standing, so why stop now? We have a good system down between us now in terms of managing submissions, sending out deadlines, and putting the issue together.
KW: My deep and undying love for Anjelica and my belief that independent and alternative publications MUST exist in this crazy world so that original and challenging ideas can circulate among people! And making things with other people is the greatest pleasure in life so I can’t see why I would ever stop. Making this zine has been really important in keeping Anjelica and I close even while far away. It’s so awesome because there’s no end in sight to our friendship and that is directly connected and reinforced by Come Find Out! And the better Come Find Out gets, the better our friendship gets. Woooo!
JK: Your work is based deeply in the collaborative artistic spirit. Why have you gravitated towards collaborations?
AC: Collaborations are such an amazing way to think of ideas you would have otherwise never come across. In terms of the zine, it has always been all about sharing between different types of artists and seeing where various art forms intersect or blend together. We never know what we are going to get and that is the most exciting part.
KW: Solitude is for losers! Just kidding, I guess I love collaborating because you create things that would never be possible on your own. The third mind that emerges from different visions colliding is what makes our zines so fun to make—there is not a conventional continuity because our submissions come from all over, but a new kind of horizontal view of ideas is available and I’m into that.
JS: What are your plans for the next zine? Or is it top secret?
AC: IT IS TOP SECRET! You will hear more soon though! Stay tuned for our call for submissions with comefindoutthezine.tumblr.com.
KW: TOP SECRET! Also undecided…but it’s going to be sick.