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Hidden Gems: Meet Elizabeth Fernandez of Our Eyes Zine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Fernandez.

Hi Elizabeth, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
The idea of starting a zine was something that I had written down in one of my many journals as a teenager, although back then I didn’t really believe that myself as a Salvadorean girl from Glassell Park could even do that. I didn’t even know how to do that! It was an idea that began due to my obsession with Teen Vogue, Nylon Magazine and i-D; but somehow I always felt like I never really saw myself or my friends on those pages. So to counter that, I began to create what I know now as zines in my room by collaging images I’ve cut out of magazines or things I’ve seen on the internet and photos of my friends. I spend hours alone in my room cutting, pasting and making sure the pages looked perfectly “cool”. Back then, I was just creating these things without the knowledge that was I was creating were little lifestyle zines.

Fast forward, I made my way into Architecture school and graduated with a Bachelors in Architecture and began working in the profession. In 2019 when the pandemic hit, I was laid off due to work shortage and as I sat in my apartment swimming in anxiety about what was to come, I remembered something that brought me peace as a teen and set out to curate my first “official zine”. Only this time, I had some tools under my belt, thanks to architecture school, and began laying out my zine in InDesign and using Photoshop for the images and collages.

My desire was to create a zine that was intersectional, inclusive and fun; so I reached out to my friends and asked if they wanted to take part. The first zine volume was titled Home, very fitting due to the circumstances. I always say that my zines are omelets because they include a little bit of everything, and if you’ve gotten your hands on one, you’d understand. The first zine was I’d say a hit and pre-sale sold out really quick! I am currently working on getting volume 2 titled Community going. Although a bit slower this time around as I am back to a full-time job, but in the workings nonetheless.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Definitely not! It took a pandemic, being unemployed and both anxious/ depressed to really find my way back to this joy. My reasoning for not starting was always that I was busy and that I didn’t have time- granted Architecture being a very demanding profession and leaving us all drained at the end of the work week didn’t help. So when I found myself having all the time in the world, I knew I had to start for the sake of my joy and my inner child.

A struggle I faced in the beginning was money to send these zines out to print, I was unemployed with very little money. I called the printers got a quote and figured out different ways to make it work. I could have printed them myself and stapled them, but that wasn’t the vision. I knew what I wanted and wasn’t going to let money get in the way. So I budgeted, sold some clothes on Depop and made it work.

Today my struggles are a bit different, with a full-time job that requires me to be in front of a computer for 7+ hours a day, it’s difficult to continue to push myself after I clock out to continue looking at a screen. It’s finding time to drive and interview someone, scheduling a photoshoot during my 2-day weekend and staying on top of my emails. But I love this zine so I will continue to find moments of free times to create.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Our Eyes Zine?
Our Eyes Zine is a zine by and for QTBIPoC creatives. I believe that our eyes carry magnitudes of stories that should be told, preserved and cherished by talking about them, writing about them and sharing them. The zines are topic based and include all types of creatives from architects to chefs and drag queens. The intention is to create a “cabinet of curiosities” all in a zine that you can pick up and continue finding fun topics, facts, etc.

I’d say that what sets Our Eyes Zine apart from others is that it exists at the intersection of art, activism and storytelling. I want a zine that inspires, ignites and touches the hearts of the readers.

I want this zine to be an “art” zine. I encourage everyone to ask themselves, what is art? And why are we limiting ourselves strictly to brush to canvas type art when art exists in multitudes and infinites. The food our mom makes, the photographs you take, memories you hold and those random thoughts you write down as they forcefully escape through the tip of a pen; are all art! We ourselves are art and anything we create is what I’m interested in adding to my zine.

To the readers please know how much I appreciate everyone that bought a zine, but also that there is more to come! If you’re interested in being a part please reach out, I am always looking for new contributors. The dream is to grow this zine and create a publication that is able to take your ideas and execute them into your own zine, journal, etc. But that comes with time.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
You can slide into my DMs on Instagram at @oureyes.zine or send me an email at oureyeszine@gmail.com.

I’m always excited to meet and connect with new people so let’s connect and be friends!

Pricing:

  • Zine- $25 + shipping (or free pick-up in LA)
  • Bandana- $12 + shipping (or free pick-up in LA)

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Personal Photo- Credit to Daniel Hermosillo (ig: @dvnielhermosillo) Additional Photos- IMG-6967 & IMG-6988 Credit to Ariel Urias (ig: @helloarielchristine) IMG-3059-Original Credit to Dominic Tenette (ig: @dom_joe) Rest of photos were taking by myself and a self timer

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