Interview with a Zinester: Katherine Arnoldi!

Katherine Arnoldi was kind enough to provide us with the material for this next interview – check out their rad artwork and answers below!

Drawing of a long-haired parent holding a baby in swaddling.
Drawing of a long-haired parent holding a baby in swaddling.

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

I created a cartoon zine of the story of my struggle to go to college as a teenage mother and copied and compiled it for many years, handing it, along with FAFSA forms and college applications, out at the Charas Community Center on the Lower East Side, where I had a “Single Mom College Program” in the early 90’s. I had a library of college guides, SAT Prep books and many other resources at Charas. We, Chino and the late Armando and others from Charas, often went to neighborhood street fairs where I also passed out the zine and materials.  I also took the zine, FAFSA forms and applications to GED programs, neighborhood centers and homeless shelters. The Amazing True Story of a Teenage Single Mom was picked up and published by Hyperion in 1998 as a graphic novel. It will soon be re-printed by Greymalkin Press. I also make other zines, Thanks, Mom and one about globalization issues, Clara Comes Down to Earth. I am always drawing.

How did you get introduced to zines? Were you influenced by anyone?

When I started making my zine, I did not know of other work, though I was later inspired by the cartoonists on the Lower East Side where I lived, such as David Sandlin, Seth Tobacman, James Romberger, Margaurite Van Cook, Sabrina Jones (WW3 and Girl Talk) and many others. I was happy to be included in many WW3 issues. Later I learned of China Marten’s The Future Generation, Trina Robbins (Mama Dramas) and Joyce Farmer’s (Tits and Clits) work in California. Trina Robbins included my work in a show and book, Women Cartoonists of the U.S., which traveled throughout Europe and I met other great cartoonists such as Posy Simmonds from London. I also knew of Art Spiegelman’s Maus, though I did not read it until many years after my graphic novel was published.

What does it mean to do “feminist zine-making”? Does feminism appear in your work (explicitly or implicitly)?

The Amazing True Story of a Teenage Single Mom just simply tells one story but it certainly shows that young mothers often have difficulty finding and maintaining equal access to education. For example, in New York City, there are 11,000 new teenage mothers every year, but the LYFE program for child care at New York City high schools cannot serve anywhere close to all who need it.

Finally, who are some of the other zinesters you’re excited to see at this year’s feminist zine fest?

I am hoping to see China Martens with a new issue of Future Generation and Victoria Law with Tenacious: Art and Writing from Women in Prison at the Feminist Zinefest this year.


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