Interview with a Zinester: Caroline Tompkins!

This lovely interview is with the zinester behind Girl Pains, Caroline Tompkins! Take a gander.

Blond long-haired Caroline with eyes closed stands in front of yellow wall.
Blond long-haired Caroline with eyes closed stands in front of yellow wall.

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

Born in Cincinnati, OH during the early nineties, I recently received a BFA with Honors in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York. My mediums of choice are photographs, Shrinky Dinks, zines, soft sculpture, hard sculpture, dancing and kissing.  My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Al Jazeera America, BBC, and Dazed among others. I currently live in Brooklyn working as an Assistant Photo Editor at Bloomberg Businessweek and Studio Technician at the School of Visual Arts. I try to care as much as I can.

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

I grew up in the punk community in Cincinnati which put an importance on zines that I think is really productive. People were sharing their skills / opinions / self-help treatments / feelings / art all through this outlet and that’s always
been super exciting to me. I’ve always been attracted to the “anyone can do it” approach to making zines.

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

Well, I’m a feminist, so I think that’s going to show through in whatever I am making. Making a zine about X-Files may not scream a certain feminist agenda, but when you think about a character like Dana Scully and her relationship to feminism, the connection becomes clear. I like to think my work normalizes feminism in a way that separating it as such is not necessary.

What is your favorite zine or piece of mail art? Do you like any specific style/part of a zine?

It’s so difficult to pick a favorite zine. I really like the work of Caroline Paquita, Andrea Kalfas, Jensine Eckwall, Daniel Zender, Kaye Blegvad, Lizzy Stewart, Got a Girl Crush, Raleigh Briggs, Women Artists, Liz Prince, Ramsey Beyer, and so so so many others I’m sure I’m forgetting. I really like zines that are aesthetically considered and have precious elements.

If you could sum up your zinester life in a kitchen appliance, what appliance would it be?

Let’s be real, I’m an ice cream maker through and through.

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

Gosh so many! I’m stoked on Hazel Newlevant. Her and I went to school together! Always siked to see her doing cool things.

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