What goes into making my zine? What? You don’t want to know? Too bad huffers because all that ringing in my ears from tinnitus means I can’t hear you saying:
“No, no, no, I don’t want to hear about this! I don’t want to see it either… ow, too late, now my eyes burn from seeing those photos!”
Buckle in kiddies because it’s time for a lengthy answer to a question you never asked. It’s like watching one of those clinically detached films from the fifties they used to show in a grade school sex-ed lecture:
“Your body is going through changes. Hair is sprouting up everywhere. These changes are bad. Sex is evil. Never speak of it again! If you do have sex, turn out the lights and think good thoughts.” What? Sex is bad? Hey, wait a minute!
Okay, so there won’t be any trauma-inducing films of hair growing here and there and everywhere. What you will see are the numerous pieces of old technology used to make my zine such as inkjet printers, inkjet printers and more inkjet printers. Okay, so there are a lot of other things involved like book binding equipment and letterpress stuff too. What it comes down to is the multitude of gadgets provide a unique vocabulary I can use to express my thoughts and ideas so to speak. Echoing the chaotic way I think, it was only natural a mess of equipment would gravitate into my hive.
You know how some people hoard cats? Not me. Ain’t nothing furry and warm around here so I hoard printing technology instead. The scary part is these things are spread out everywhere around here. There are a pair of hulking 85 pound Epson 4000 wide format printers holding down two different tables, serving as gravity anchors to keep the house from floating away. Then there’s a 70 pound office laser printer tucked under a home-made silkscreen vacuum table. Talk about inconvenient to get paper in and out of. Bend over, bang your head, then swear a lot.
Anyone foolish enough to look really close at the photos might be able to see a hypodermic sitting on a table in one of the picture. No, I’m not looking to be Crack-House number two. [Note: Crack-House Number One, a rental property about half a block down from me got busted earlier this week. A reporter posted details online saying there were indications the occupants were manufacturing meth so my description isn’t quite spot on but I think everyone gets the point.] Back to the topic at hand – that hypodermic is used to transfer ink to cartridges… wait, is it against some anti-tampering code to refill something? Knowing the IP tyrants, it probably is. Sheesh.
[Note, the observant spotted an upside down stencil of Optimus Prime painted on a piece of cardboard in one of the photos. Hey, I can’t help but like Optimus Prime!]
Okay, okay, so I’m not making you laugh. Still, you’re stuck reading this so let’s just make the best of a bad situation shall we? Back on track again, let’s no’t forget there’s a wee bitty dot matrix printer hidden away around here. Got that one from my next door neighbor and believe it or not, I do use it occasionally. Mostly for the unique look. Everything around here has a purpose and does get used at some point or another.
No matter how many inkjets or laser printers there are around here, they all bow to King Ghidora which is the Risograph. That thing is a 250 pound beast from 20,000 fathoms. Is it the biggest machine on the block? Not quite. While the Riso is the King Ghirdora of the household, the garage essentially becomes Monster Island; a place where things grow much, much larger and have teeth. It might very well be Kaiju fight time because the letterpress is the heavyweight champ that tips the scales at over a thousand pounds. Quite the thing to move.
Then there are the machines that remain mostly behind the scenes. They are little gadgets like the electric paper folder or the electric dual-head saddle stapler. Sometimes they need some tender, loving care to coax them into work. Other times, they’re too cranky and I go back to using manual methods like hand folding or using a thrift store just-pound-on-it saddle stapler.
Most of this gear was acquired on the cheap. Things like the wide format Epson 4000s printers were free from Craigslist while on the other end of the spectrum, the C&P letterpress took a huge bite out of my resources. It’s been a slow process acquiring the tools. Mind you, I’m still hunting for a new additions too such as a small offset press (approximately 800 pounds of metal) to add to the hive. The requirement that I find it for free makes that a more challenging, but not impossible acquisition. Patience is required.
The other beast on the list of wants is a problem though because it’s becoming harder to find as the years pass and it’s also the darling of the industry for those who use them. I’m talking about proof presses like a Vandercook or Reprex cylinder press. They’re unbelievably expensive with prices frequently starting at 13 thousand dollar level and go up from there. The price makes a cylinder press pretty much a pipe-dream. Add in the fact they are usually showing up in long distance locations that require trucking it in, adding another thousand or two to the bill makes it like scaling Everest – it’s not something everyone can manage to do.
Sometimes there are things that just doesn’t happen in life and I understand that. Still, as an artist, I think I could make a bit of a splash in the world tinkering with a press that can churn out larger sized posters. Maybe not a Warhol-like splash, but at least it would be something. Blah, blah, blah. I’m always looking for things so it’s a never ending story with that. Like it or not, it’s part of my personality and as such, is also shapes my artistic voice.
Pipe-dreams aside, I think I’ll start calling this place Matchstick City because if I can keep from defaulting on the house payments, I’ll have so much equipment deeply entrenched that they’ll have to dig a big hole and burn the place to the ground to clean it up when I finally do kick the bucket.
Yep, much blabbing about nothing. TL/DR. It was the rhetorical question everyone wanted to wish away into the cornfield.