Interview with a Zinester: Taryn Hipp

Superstar zinester and author Taryn Hipp gives us her thoughts on feminism, perzines, and teapots:

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Illustration by Clara Bee

1. Kindly give us a short description of yourself and the work you do. 

My name is Taryn Hipp & I’ve been making zines for more than half my life. Currently, I write the perzine Lady Teeth. Each issues focuses on my experiences living with depression, getting & staying sober, recovery, falling in love. It took me a long time to reach the point where even when things feel like they are at their bleakest, I can appreciate the small amount of beauty hidden deep inside the pit of life (that sounds way more dramatic than it really is). Last year I put out my first book, a memoir novella titled Heavy Hangs the Head. It was published by Sweet Candy Press in Olympia Washington.

2. How did you get introduced to zines? Were you influenced by anyone? 
A girl I met down the shore handed me a copy of Cometbus & said “you should read this”. I carried that single issue of Cometbus with me to school every day. Soon after I started making my own zine & trading with girls I met in the AOL Riot Grrrl chat room. I was super influenced by Aaron’s work & by riot grrrl as a whole. 
 
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3. What does it mean to do “feminist zine-making”? Does feminism appear in your work (explicitly or implicitly)?
I like to think that by making zines it is a feminist act in itself. To put your words down on paper & share them with the world is a rather radical concept. I’m still trying to explain it to my mother. Feminism appears in my work in subtle & not-so-subtle ways. I identify as a feminist before anything else & it sort of bums me out to see my peers either reject the idea entirely or, just like riot grrrl, make it some exclusive club that you need a membership to join.
4. What is your favorite zine or piece of mail art? Do you like any specific style/part of a zine?
I have a few favorites, probably Truckface, You Don’t Get There From Here & Doris. I like zines that are honest, at times painfully or brutally so. I’m drawn to perzines more than anything else. I enjoy zines I can relate to, zines that I can read & walk away from feeling like the person who wrote it “gets me”, even if our only connection is through my eyes as the reader. Cometbus is still a favorite but I think that’s more of a sentimental type of connection at this point.
 
5. If you could sum up your zinester life in a kitchen appliance, what appliance would it be?
Is a teapot a kitchen appliance? A teapot can sit on your stove unused for extended periods of time but when you’re ready for a cup of tea & you fill it with water, turn on the burner eventually it will boil & make noise. That’s me. I’m just waiting to make noise.
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