Interview with Eloisa Aquino
Fyeahwomenartists: Could you tell me a little more about your artistic background?
Eloisa Aquino: I used to be a journalist for many years. Then, I moved to Canada to study. I was already in my 30’s. Then, three years ago I decided to make something for an Expozine (an exposition of zines in Montreal). That was super fun and really nice. And I had made zines like twenty years ago, but they were basically like fictional and poetry zines, more like literature zines. When I decided to come back to zines I decided to draw. That’s it! So I don’y really have a background in art.
FY: How did you transition from doing poetry zines to more women artists and writers?
EA: Well, there was this big gap in between that I wasn’t actually making any sort of zines since I was working as a journalist for a while. I just got interested in telling stories from a different perspective. I always think you can use storytelling artifice, or other techniques of really good storytelling, to tell other stories. As I go I might try to experiment with this form of nonfiction. I mean, it is nonfiction, but it’s in a format not traditionally used for nonfiction. It’s a little illustrated book. It’s still looks very colorful and fun to look at, but they are adult books. So, I was basically playing with a lot of ideas and formats and drawing those women that I love. I think they look really great and it was interesting to do portraits for the first time and to go through this experience of how do you tell the story of a whole life in eight pages. It has to be really short and concise and how do you go about that?
FY: Did you teach yourself how to screen print initially?
EA: Actually, no, my partner in the B & D Press, Jenny, was my girlfriend. She’s a printer so she actually did that. I was helping her actually. I did the drawings, but she did the screen printing.
FY: So, are you working on any new women to include in the series?
EA: Right now, no. I am probably going to start drawing the new one next year. I only do two or three a year every year. And I just made the two new ones, Jenny Shimizu and Martina Navratilova. Got any suggestions? Maybe I’ll go to your blog.
FY: Are you thinking about any new series other than the women artists and writers?
EA: I’m not sure. There is this series I just started called Mental. It is historical events that were probably mental disease, but were unexplained. There is this one God Is a DJ, Man Is a DJ. It’s about the dance epidemic of 1518. It was like a woman in a village in Strasburg and she couldn’t stop. People started joining her and no one could stop. All of a sudden, after a week, hundreds of people were dancing in the city and some people were dying of exhausting because they just couldn’t stop themselves from dancing. If you look at historical events like that, there is so much layering of what could have happened. Were people hysterical or had some sort of virus going on? And if they were hysterical what was causing that stress? Because it’s such a weird story I want to experiment with this author-historical-narrative in a different format. I think it worked, but not as well as the Butch Dykes series because it is more fluid than that.
FY: If you could hang out with any woman artist or writer who would you choose?
EA: I think it would be really awesome to hang out with Chavela Vargas because she was extremely bold to have the life she had at that time in Mexico in one of the most macho cultures. You know super latino and she was out and dressing like a man and probably a really fun person to hang out with. She was an extremely good singer and just an interesting personality.