"What Are You Doing To Participate": Nina Hartmann

December 07, 2012


December 7th 2012 marks the opening of "What Are You Doing To Participate" group zine / art show In Los Angeles, CA. The show is curated and organized by Sam James Velde, Rich Jacobs and Adam Rossiter and features zines and prints spanning music, skateboarding and art culture from the 1980's til present. The show takes place at The Dilettante and will go til Jan. 7th 2013. Some of the featured contributors are:


Chrissy Piper, Tod Swank, Garry Davis, Andy Jenkins, Jocko Weyland, Mike Gitter, Mel Kadel, Jay Howell, Nina Hartmann, Travis Millard, Dirk Knibbe, Cali Dewitt / Jay Clark (FaNKULT), Thomas Stavnes (REMIO), Pez & many many more!


In anticipation of this event we are spotlighting some of the artists involved to delve more into what motivates them to participate, and today, we asked a few questions to Nina Hartmnan.



NAME: Nina Hartmann

ZINE NAME (S): Unreality, Dragstrip, Death Mirror



What experience / feeling initially inspired you to make your 1st zine? How old were you?


It was when i was 17, I really liked this guy's photos, and wanted to collaborate somehow. Asking him to do a zine with me was the the only way i really knew how. He sent me some Walgreens prints in the mail, and i taped them on some paper and made the zine on the photocopier at my dad's office.


Why do you continue to make zines, esp. in the light of Tumblr, Blogs, etc.?


Man, i think that the internet is what keeps me so invested in publications. Looking at something on a screen is not a personal experience at all for me. Being able to look at a zine or book is so different than any other dynamic in art. It's not a piece on a white wall that you have to stand a foot away from to look at, its an object you can touch. When you're looking through an artists book you have a physical and personal experience with it, it's a physical narrative created by the artist. There's no way that feeling can ever compare with looking at someone's blog.


What zines / artists inspired you in the beginning? Whatzines/artists inspire you currently?


I always say this, but Jimmy Limit's zines were a huge inspiration for me. They were thick black and white zines that were super distorted and used a lot of typeface collages, one also came with a giant poster that just says "NOTHING", that still hangs in my room. I love Fluxus books and other interactive artist books, anything that takes control within the narrative of the zine and is capable of manipulating the viewer. In terms of Death Mirror, i've always been inspired in showcasing artist publications like Avalanche Magazine, Schmuck Mag, 0 to 9, and things like that. Publications are still an extremely useful tool to get the word out about whats important to you.


Why are you participating in "What Are You Doing To Participate?"zine / art show?


I'm so excited about the recent appreciation of artists books and zines in more traditional spaces that i've experienced. I recently got to show one of my zines in a museum in Beijing. I think that people are starting to realize how powerful the accessibility of low cost publications is. It's such an appealing medium to work in for any artist. I would put my work in any show that Sam Velde and his crew put together honestly! He's so motivated and is doing great things.


What are you trying to convey, express, share in your zines?


I try to summarize ideas i've been thinking about in a way, its kind of a portable vessel to communicate all of the shit i have lying around my studio or whatever. A medium in which to convene whatever concepts i have been working on until that moment. But with some zines like the one "unreality" i made for this show, i want to be a single idea and experience. It's a non-editioned zine, only one in existence, that consists of page after page of undecipherable distortions screenprinted on paper. I really liked the idea of someone just looking through it for as long as it takes to flip through the pages and be like "what the fuck?" because there's almost no variation or resolution. So making a zine can really act as either, a nice way to show someone a bunch of your work, or function as a single object or art piece.