Interview with a Zinester: Katherine Arnoldi

Kindly give us a short description of yourself and the work you do
I was a teenage mom. Another mom, Jackie Ward, helped me to go to college. I wanted to do for others what Jackie had done for me.  I began in the 1980’s to make a graphic novel of my own struggle to go to college and copied it myself and handed it out at GED programs where I go as a volunteer to talk about college. I called it The Amazing True Story of a Teenage Single Mom (like the first issue of The Amazing True Story of Spiderman and other Marvel and DC comics). I ran a “College Mom Program” out of Charas Community Center on the Lower East Side (also as a volunteer) during the 1990’s. Finally, in 1998, The Amazing True Story of a Teenage Single Mom was published by Hyperion.


How did you get introduced to zines? Were you influenced by anyone?
I thought I was making up a new form. Later I learned about Joyce Farmer’s and Trina Robbins’ comics and zines from the 70’s out of California and about China Marten’s radical zines out of Baltimore.

How did you come to collect zines? Why are they important to your collection?
I would love to see a museum that would catalog and save some of the early work by women, many of whom did not have access to traditional publishing so made zines out of necessity.

What does it mean to do “feminist zine-making”? Does feminism appear in your work (explicitly or implicitly)?
I am adamantly pro-choice. However, over 400,000 young teenage women give birth in the United States every year. I am concerned that a large group of our young women are often coerced to leave high school and have to struggle for an equal right to education.

When my book came out I was able to speak out about how teenage mothers are denied equal access to education and how they struggle for equal rights to education.

What is your favorite zine or piece of mail art? Do you like any specific style/part of a zine?
I love the autobiographical work. In some ways, works by China Martens’ (Future Generation) and Ayun Halliday (East Village Inky) were like Facebook before Facebook. Often the zines chronicled the zinesters’ daily lives, which makes for fabulously interesting reading and makes loyal readers wait with anticipation for the next issue.

If you could sum up your zinester life in a kitchen appliance, what appliance would it be?
Is a Blender on Grind too humorless?


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