Q+A with Beard & Braid

Beard and Braid is comic artist Toby Morris and photographer Sonya Nagels. Toby will be selling his comics, and Sonya will be releasing her new zine ‘Flowers My Sons Have Brought Me’. Together they sell their artwork, comics, jewellery and photos at the web shop Beard and Braid, but they’ll be at Auckland Zinefest in person!

Beard & Braid

AZF: What is Beard and Braid and how does it relate to zines?

T: Beard and Braid is my partner Sonya and I making work – sometimes it’s comics, sometimes jewellery, sometimes zines, sometimes art prints. All sorts really, but I think Zinefest is exciting for us because even the non-zine things we do all still come from a very DIY place. 

AZF: Sonya- can you describe the first photo you ever took that made you realise it was your thing?

S: I think it was in my 6th form photography class. It actually may have been a photo I took in a graveyard (which is compulsory subject matter for photography students.) I’d always thought I’d be a painter, but then when I started taking photos, suddenly it all just made sense. I loved the darkroom. I still miss the chemicals.

AZF: Toby- who is the coolest band or musician you’ve done a gig poster for? 

T: Man, that’s tough. I try to only really do posters for bands I love, it’s hard to do them otherwise! And the artwork in inspired by the music, so they can be really different. Doing posters for Liam Finn always ends up being fun, and then I always enjoy doing Beastwars artwork too. 

AZF: Do you guys have very different politics?

S: Toby is the political one. One of the first things he made me do when we first got together is vote. But we are pretty much on the same page. 

AZF: Toby, if you were to make a piece of jewellery what would it look like, and Sonya, if you authored a comic what would it be about?

T: Ha – yeah would be fun to make jewellery, Sonya and I have discussed it a bit. I’d either go super clean and minimal or go full crazy. Actually, I want to bring back the style of the chain between the nose piercing and the ear. 

S: I have written comics! But they are normally funny ones just for Toby. I make comics with my son Max sometimes. We wrote one called Onion Head recently. It was about skateboarding and Dad and the ending was “I like popsicles.”

AZF: Are you bringing your kids to Zinefest and will they sit quietly at the table with you? (There are lots of weird and wonderful rooms in the Pitt Street  church to explore!)

S: No we are not bringing our kids as they would not sit quietly for anywhere for long! Their favorite games are running races, car races, bike races, tiger races and yelling. Max is just getting into Spiderman and Batman (when he gets mad he yells SPIDERWEBS and points his fist at me). Iggy really likes Totoro, or Toto, as he calls him. 

Q+A with Kalee Jackson

What are your zines about? Are there any common themes throughout your issues?

I tend to make zines about whatever I’m interested in the time, so they all inevitably turn out as fanzines of some description. Pastie Politics is about Burlesque and Feminism in New Zealand, which is uh, kind of a specific topic. In this zine I’m interested in how performers’ practice sits with their political beliefs and within current social environments. I like seeing how performers use the contradictions and tensions between being a feminist and a burlesque performer to explore and play out ideas. There are a whole bunch of contributors involved in each issue, so it became a lot bigger than I was originally planning, but essentially it was a zine I made because I wanted to read it. About ten years ago I started doing a lot of work about fan art and this has become a recurring theme. Especially when it’s at it’s most breathless, earnest, and hilarious. At the moment I’m working on putting together a book on my fan art swap project www.loveyourwork.org


How did you get into zine-making?

Technically I made my first book when I was in primary school – it was in the shape of a dinosaur, and being a pint-sized narcissist I cast myself in the story as a time-travelling action hero/scientist. I got into making fanzines when I was a teenager and embarrassingly used to distribute them among the neighbourhood kids. I went to design school in Wellington and eventually became a book designer, which means I spend a lot of time designing books, but not so much creating content. Since going independent four years ago I’ve become inspired to create more personal projects, some of the prints etc I’ll bring along to the Zinefest, though one of the Zinefests a couple of years ago actually inspired me to get back into zine making. I like that zines are a less-precious approach to publishing, they are kind of a testing ground for ideas for me and enjoyable failures. At the moment I’m inspired by our scary red-headed 9 year old neighbour who sends us hate mail.

What makes your zines unique?

It’s all pretty much pop-weirdness and comedy.

What do you want readers to feel or think about while reading your zines?

Good vibes.

What are you most looking forward to at Auckland Zinefest? 

Getting myself a sweet stack of indie publishing to add to the collection. Checking out the zines & feminism talks. Beers!




Q+A with Inky Palms

Inky Palms is a gallery in La Gonda Arcade, Karangahape Road, run by friends and zine-hounds Dirk, Chippy, and Oli


AZF: Hey there, I keep writing your name as ‘Inky Pals’ bc I am quite tired! Tell us about your friendship?
D: Haha, we are though!! Chris and I have been collaborating for years on all sorts of projects and although Oli has been overseas quite a bit recently we still manage to collaborate long-distance. Inky Palms is just a cool place for all of our ideas to collide!
C: Dirk and I basically started hanging out together a couple years ago when we met each other through swapping zines. We both had been printing our zines on risographs and it was kind of mind blowing that somebody else was using a riso in Auckland at that time. Oli, who runs Inky with us, owned the risograph so we’d hang out a lot in his living room drawing, drinking beer and printing and the over time Inky Palms just kind of naturally emerged.

AZF: What do you like the most about your location on K Road?
D: La Gonda is rad, it’s like St. Kevin’s baby brother or something, everything looks like it hasn’t been re-vamped since the 80s which is cool. Being on K road is hella important to what we do as well. We have so many friends in this area and having Inky on K road means they can pop by whenever they feel like it.
C: So many of our friends live and work around this area so that’s a real important part of being on K Road, it’s super easy for people to drop by to hang out or do some printing or whatever.

AZF: You guys have really distinctive illustration styles- if you could pick one super giant multinational to design a brand for who would it be and what would you make it?
D: Oooooh, I think I’d be keen to design a logo for someone with ‘world wide’ at the end of their name. I’m really into brand integration and have been saying ‘synergy’ a lot recently and it has significantly contributed to my overall success.
C: I would make a sub-brand for McDonalds called “Hot & Crsipy” and they only serves goddamn chips mate. Wavy chips, thin chips, thick cut chips, wedges and they have every sauce in the world. That sounds tasty af.

AZF: Whose zines will you be bringing to Auckland Zinefest?
D: SO MANY! Um… ‘X Zine’ curated by Cait Johnston, ‘Call Me’ curated by Alex Schipper, probably something from George Rump… I have some prints too!
C: I’m working on a poetry zine with my pal Mike Shattky so I’ll be coming through with that. I’m also making a zine with Dirk and I’ll probs have a solo Chippy zine, it should be super fun.