Ray Nadine is an artist, printmaker and zine-publisher based in St. Louis who never stops creating. One of their most recent creations is the official StLSPExpo 2018 artwork, which perfectly encapsulates the You Can Do This, Too! theme. We asked Ray a few questions about their inspiration for this design, their upcoming projects, and what they love about the Expo.
What was your thought process in designing the “pass the stapler” artwork?
When Jared (Rourke of StLSPExpo) approached me with this project, he mentioned the idea of “passing a torch,” and I think it’s pretty clear how that idea is represented in the passing of a stapler. With zine-making, the imagery of a stapler is such an iconic representation of the actual process, and one of the things that I love about zines is the community aspect around it. There have been so many times I’ve sat on the floor with a group of friends stapling zines together over beers and movies. Even in zines that I’ve put together myself, the act of sharing and selling them is an act of community and sharing what you’ve made with the world. With the white circle around the stapler, it’s both a reference to StLSPExpo’s logo, and the idea that giving to your community is an ongoing thing that brings us together.
How can makers “pass the stapler” to others to build community and promote inclusivity?
Honestly it can be as simple as sharing the work of marginalized creators, or letting less heard voices take the stage. In another way, I think it’s important to remain critical of yourself and your ideals and to step back and ask yourself “is the way I project myself welcoming to others? What can I do better?”
Do you have any current or upcoming projects you’d like to promote or discuss?
Right now I’m working on a comic with Paul Tobin called Messenger! It’s gonna be published online through Webtoons, and it’s free to read. I’m super stoked about it. Soon I’ll be working on bringing back my webcomic, Dollhouse, after being on a long hiatus with it. I’m also doing a comic for an anthology edited by Mark Bouchard and Megan Rae called Everything Is Going Wrong, a collection of stories about punk culture and mental illness. And I’m co-editing a zine with Rho Sovia called What A Woman, a collection of fanworks by 36 artists celebrating our love for the video game Yakuza. I don’t know how to live a life that isn’t constantly busy, haha.
What are you most looking forward to at STLSPExpo 2018?
Just being there and peddling my wares and existing in the beautiful downtown library and enjoying the day with my friends and peers! I love this expo a lot and always look forward to it every year. The love put into this show is very evident and it definitely fills my heart, haha. Sorry, I get extremely sappy about STLSPExpo.
No reason to be sorry, Ray. We get a little sappy, too. See you at the 2018 Expo!