Image credit: Kayti Peschke & York Zine Fest
by Chin Lin Gan
This interview with Jade Blood – Northern based artist, teacher and founder of York Zine Fest – is part 3 of a 3 part series.
In a system that might not allow sufficient space for artists, do you feel political?
I’ve never felt like I was going against anything, I think I was just very resistant to certain things. For example, the fact that you have to buy everything, when you’re paying so much money to be there, how universities make it so difficult to book spaces… that your tutor might know nothing about making… I just find the whole system of art teaching insane. So that’s why I made friends with all the technicians. And that’s why I was a technician, because they know everything. They’re makers, you know, they’re artists.
I’m not saying that academia is wrongly valued, because it definitely is valuable. But I find the hierarchy – especially the pay between a technician and an academic – absolutely ridiculous. It’s not fair to students, a lot of higher education, and creative learning… I just don’t understand why you can’t go in and just like, make loads of stuff. Why can’t you just go into the print room? It doesn’t need to be this hard for people.
The most resistant thing someone said to me was from a lecturer on my masters. He said something like, but it doesn’t have a feminist aesthetic. And I was like, as in your version of what you want feminism to look like? So it has to be pink, it has to be Riot Grrl? I’m not a teenager anymore. This is my aesthetic. And I will say that it is rooted in feminism.
The concepts you mention – abundance, collective learning – seem so simple and fundamental, though they’re considered ‘radical’.
You’ve just completely summarised what I’ve said – it’s not radical but seen as radical. It’s just so wrong to me. I said to someone last night – I went to see a band, and got a bit drunk– all artists are technicians, technicians of the art world. We’re making, making, making… but not making any more money. And there’s all these organisations that are supposed to be supporting us, but they get all the money. I find it so odd.
What feels most rewarding to you, about the rich and exciting community that you’ve grown and seen grow?
I feel really proud of my team, first. Kayti and I are completely different. She’s good at business, she published her own magazine, she’s just so on it… the complete opposite to me, but we really complement each other. But what I’m most excited about is turning us into a community group. Realising that the whole nature of zines is that anyone can do it, so we should not be the only two people as two white females. Our idea is to open it up so more people have a say, and get a risograph machine to start a small press within The Crescent. That’s our dream, which has taken a long way to get to. It would mean that we might actually be able to pay ourselves.
We’re trying to look after ourselves a bit more, and take ourselves a bit more seriously; have more people to do stuff so it’s not just me and Kayti, because we’ve both got jobs. It would make sense that people got work experience in leading workshops, but in a less formal way. We have a lot of people that struggle with self esteem issues even though they’re just such beautiful people. It would be really nice to be able to give people the space to try out things like that. So yeah, that’s what I’m looking forward to.