Interview With Zine Maker - Suzy González

Angi Brzycki, Senior Librarian, Digitization & Special Collections,
Suzy González and her zine, Xicana Vegan
Suzy González and her zine, Xicana Vegan

Suzy González is an artist, zinester, curator, and educator based in San Antonio, TX. She has exhibited, attended residencies, and curated exhibits across the country. She is half of the collective Dos Mestizx, who recently curated XicanX: New Visions in New York and Texas and has a large-scale public artwork at the San Antonio International Airport. She co-publishes zines under Yes, Ma’am Press and co-organizes the San Anto Zine Fest. She is a 2018 alum of the NALAC Leadership Institute, and a 2019 alum of the Intercultural Leadership Institute and NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program. Suzy holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA from Texas State University.

How did you get interested in zines?

As an undergrad student at Texas State, my friend Elle and I were having a lot of discussions on feminism. Elle studied science and I studied art, and yet we had this other interest and found ourselves taking women's studies classes. So we decided to start a feminist zine in 2011 called Yes, Ma'am, and now we're about to release Issue 15: Self-Care. This year will be our ten year anniversary! Under the umbrella of Yes, Ma'am Press, we also self-publish the Microzine of Microaggressions and I make Xicana Vegan zine, among others.

What are your zines about?

The ongoing zines that I personally publish are Xicana Vegan and Xicana Feminism. I have also made zines called Vegan-Feminist Perspectives, Art, Activism, and Community, and a comic called My Spelled Out Strong Opinions about the difficulties of being a woman of color in an MFA program. Xicana Vegan zine contains recipes and thoughts for and by animal-loving and plant-eating Xicanx folks and works to embrace culture while practicing non-violence. Xicana Feminism is based on the concept of Xicanx identity and how it overlaps with feminism. These are both contributor based, and I include my own contributions as well (recipes, artwork, poems). Yes, Ma'am zine has always had the mission of inclusive feminism that is positive for womxn and non-binary folks. So the way contributors wish to express themselves is very open, but in the past few years, we've been theming the issues. So we have the Vegan Issue, Body Issue, Dream Issue, Queer AF Issue, Election Issue, and Self-Care Issue (Issues 10-15).

What are some of your favorite zines and zine makers?

The first zine I ever got really excited about was Evolution of a Race Riot by Mimi Thi Nguyen, where I saw a variety of people of color unapologetically discussing experiences dealing with racial identity. My favorite kind of zines are still the politicized and identity-oriented ones. Shout out to those who continue this legacy like Muchacha Fanzine, St. Sucia, La Liga Zine, NWA Zine, Koreangry, Raspa Magazine, Red Rising, Lawrence Lindell, La Horchata Zine, Zines with Sol, Se'mana Thompson, Cósmica, and so many more! These are a few that I've had the pleasure of collaborating or working with in one way or another.

Your zines are in our library collection for patrons to borrow. What do you think about that?

That's awesome! I super appreciate anyone who supports the zine community. When our work is collected it is validated as art, as literature. Of course, we don't require institutional validation to feel good about what we're doing, but it doesn't hurt! I hope that as libraries gain zines in their collections, that the folks that go to borrow/study/enjoy them become inspired to make zines of their own.

What do you think are the future of zines?

With the way our country is changing, I think zines can be a super informative outlet in which to spread vital information such as knowing our rights, mutual aid info., knowledge shares, and so much more. People are also having a lot of feelings about the state of the world and the state of our individual selves, and zines are a great way to express that. There's definitely a therapeutic element to making them. I guess I see the future of zines as a continuation of the good things that are already happening, and with collections and archives documenting this progress along the way.

Why are zines important?

Zines are such an accessible and empowering art form. Materials are affordable, they are easily distributed, all ages can participate, and to self-publish, you don't need anyone's permission or validity but your own! They run on passion and self-motivation to express themselves in a world where we are not always given the chance to. Further, zine communities tend to be incredibly supportive and we have seen in their growth that they are becoming more inclusive as well. I co-organize the San Anto Zine Fest with a group of amazing Latina creatives, and SAZF, among all of the world's zine fests, is a wonderful place for folks to relate to one another and find community-based on the topics that they write or make art about. Zines are a creative outlet that brings people together, and we need more of that.

Book cover for Xicana Vegan: Issue 1
Xicana Vegan: Issue 1
Gonzalez, Suzy