Opening the Home-Brew zine package is like opening party presents. Adam J. Kurtz says he seals his hand-stapled books with lots of fun “surprises and treats,” including balloons and cute buttons that you could either wear or give as a token of friendship to someone who’d appreciate it— or in Kurtz’s own words, “so that the small messages continue on beyond the page.”
Kurtz is a designer and illustrator. The part of him that caught my attention initially are his hand-written text messages, often in various-colored flash cards, and probably useful in times of tests on life. He also does a handful of collages made out of scraps of his daily life.
What made you want to do something for the Positive Inking series?
Positive Inking is an open-ended collaborative project launched by Alyssa Nassner, an old friend and talented illustrator. I wrote an advice column for her Ten Paces & Draw project, and then she had the idea for an ongoing inspirational/motivational blog, and asked me to collaborate. A core group of us contribute original content, and reblog favorites and submissions.
Tell us something about the Home Brew zine. It's all you, right?
HOME-BREW is, like it says in every issue, “from my brain to yours.” It's whatever's been stewing internally, spit out and visualized, in digestible, tangible bites. It's positive and negative, sometimes a bit useless. It's a lot of fun to share personal feelings in a universal way.
Are you a coffee enthusiast?
I think coffee is amazing and universal, it's a treat, a reward, a necessity, a drug, a given, it's so many things at once and I love the ritual and community it fosters, coffee shops, all of it.
What about the Mind Thought Zine?
MIND-THOUGHTS was a collaborative zine featuring work from a network of young queer artists, connected and collected from an online community. It was originally a moody Tumblr blog that didn't really serve any genuine purpose, but before I finally put it to rest I wanted to take the opportunity to recognize the friends, acquaintances, and work I was discovering.
With platforms like Tumblr, do you think print zines are still relevant?
I think it's obvious that Tumblr has allowed more people to connect visually and emotionally, through shared aesthetic values and detached emotions. As far as print zines being “still relevant and worth the price,” that's an interesting question. I think if anything zines are much more popular, and they've been enjoying a massive resurgence in the last couple of years. If anything, it's due to the proliferation and accessibility of online creative output, which has fed a desire for tangible, less fleeting, creative pieces. Many zines aren't too far from Tumblr blogs, certainly not my own HOME-BREW series, the difference is you can hold it in your hand and it doesn't get lost in the archives next week.
Kurtz will also be at the Sculpture Center (Queens) art market the first weekend of August, and at the Pete's Candy Mini Zine Fest in Williamsburg on August 24.