Every volume, we’re trying to push our boundaries to open up more spaces for diverse artistic mediums, to not only stretch the creative limits of our staff, but also creators in the Asian community to share their stories, ideas, and art. Marking two years of LooseLeaf, we’ve decided to expand the print magazine to include a digital platform for media forms, while the print undergoes a major experimentation as we dip our toes into the world of risograph, a stencil duplicator printing process invented by a Japanese company in 1986.

As we wander in excitement and anxiety in this unfamiliar world, we’re delighted to work with Pintdot Press, a small risograph studio located in Oakville, for LooseLeaf’s first risograph volume. Mirae, Project 40’s Community Director, had the chance to talk with Olivia, the founder of Pindot, to get a peek into how her interest began and how that led to her exciting project.

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Mirae: First off, tell us a little bit about yourself – How do you define yourself? What is your main creative medium? 

Olivia: I value independence. My main creative medium is in the visual arts, but I also enjoy writing.

Olivia Ongai‘s illustration; Beena Mistry‘s “Empty Pasture in the Afternoon”; Maria Nguyen‘s horror magazines (via @pindotpress)

How did you discover risograph? Where did your interest begin?

While visiting Taiwan, I saw books featuring really beautiful zines printed in riso. I was then motivated to start researching and learning more about this particular printing technology.

What is the story behind how Pindot Press came about?

Pindot initially came about to make riso printing available to the Trafalgar campus at Sheridan College, where I was studying Illustration; hence, the Oakville location. My first clients were my very supportive and patient classmates.

What’s the biggest challenge in running this company? Are there any obstacles as a small studio located outside of Downtown Area?

There are many challenges to running Pindot, but I would say the greatest one at the moment would be balancing this endeavour with my demanding full-time job on top of everything else. Not being in Toronto hasn’t been that much of an issue, surprisingly.

What are your thoughts on the current zine culture?

My experience of zine culture is limited to local events like Canzine, TCAF, TOABF, etc. so I can’t comment generally about zine culture. What I do love about zines are that they are a window into someone else’s view of the world. I also appreciate the thought and care that each zine maker puts into their book; all the images and words arranged on every printed page are meaningful.

Wavering Lines’ Soft Launch by Lis Xu, Jean deMers, Anna Kwan; Chu Nap (Fangrrlz)’s zine; Jeremy A Leung‘s Slackjaw (via @pindotpress)

Any advice for people interested in trying out riso printing?

I have some resources and tutorials on the Pindot Press website but other studios around the world also have some great tips and technical advice, as well as really impressive galleries for inspiration.

What are you working on right now?

Following my above response, I’ve been wanting to make it easy for zine makers around the world to share their zines with one another and so I recently created thezineclub.com. It is an online marketplace where zine makers can open a storefront and put up their zines for sale. Unlike other online marketplaces, it’s for zines only. Please check it out!

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Learn more about Pindot Press at pindotpress.com, where you can find tutorials to help you ease your way into riso printing, and follow @pindotpress for updates on her latest projects!