Ayano Takeuchi is creator of Audrey & Audrey, I really really like you and I don’t know what to do with my life, three dreamy zines which capture that elusive spirit of childhood innocence, loss and longing. ANDY HUANG chatted with Ayano about her inspirations, favourite fantasy series growing up, and why sequels are hard to make.
Tell us about yourself…
I’m a graphic designer by day, artist and zinester by night (and weekends). If you see a table at your next zine fair with three zines, it’s probably me behind the stall because that’s how many I’ve made so far. I’m a relative newcomer to the zine scene; I started around 2010 with my first work Audrey & Audrey and it’s taken me to many places, including an exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, as well as meeting heaps of lovely people.
How did you first come across zines?
It was about a year before my first zine. My friend Frankie took me to Sticky Institute in Degraves Street, Melbourne. I was really attracted to the individual thoughts in them and was inspired to make my own.
Tell us a bit about your zines…
Audrey & Audrey is about a girl who goes on a metaphysical trip when she loses a doll on a train. I really really like you is about the communication between girlfriend and boyfriend. I don’t know what I want to do with my life is about a chicken-person who doesn’t know what to do with its life. I get ideas from my own experiences mixed with a bit of artistic license.
I really enjoyed I don’t know what I want to do with my life – my sister got it last year at the MCA Zine Fair. The little chicken-person is super cute! Have you thought about turning that into a series?
Thanks, I’m really pleased with how that one has turned out. No plans for a series though. It’s tricky to make a sequel that is better than the first. Plus it’s hard to extend an idea that has already been expressed.If I were to make a series, it would have to be conceived as a complete story, which was broken up rather than sequels and prequels as an afterthought. Maybe I’d do a fantasy series because epic quests have always been my cup of tea.
What was the last zine you bought?
The last zine I read was Suburbophobia. Chris, the author, conveys his quirky and humorous insights of the everyday in a comic-strip format. It always makes me chuckle.
There’s a fairytale-like quality to your illustrations, which are very beautiful but sometimes a bit dark. What were some of your favourite stories growing up?
I was definitely a fantasy kid and liked the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, etc., and would imagine alternative endings. I also read a mountain of manga so you’ll definitely see that influence in my drawings. Stories that have darkness intrigue me, but there has to be subtlety and character there.
My favourite book growing up was Harry Potter (up until the third book). Now that I think about all the stories I’ve read though, The NeverEnding Story is on the top of my list.
What place inspires you most?
I like art galleries with pre-1900 European paintings and drawings in it, so the National Gallery of Victoria is a frequent haunt of mine. Most of the time though, drawing happens at home.
And what’s your workspace like?
My workspace has been politely described as minimalist and it is rather bare. It’s basically one desk, with an old-ish Apple Mac on it. It has a keyboard drawer that houses a drawing tablet and one drawer. A small IKEA shelving unit sits on its left to store extra art materials, paper and some books. I throw away most of my old drawings and don’t have any displayed because maintaining a clear workspace is important for me.
Which zines are you into at the moment?
I like YOU and am always curious about the next edition. For those of you who don’t know, YOU is an anonymous letter which could come in a paper bag or wrapped around a twig. Maybe I like it because letter writing is considered an obsolete, time-consuming act, so it makes it all the more magical when you do receive one. Works by Fulsome Prism are also on my bookshelf (or zineshelf). Thomas, who’s behind it, is a brilliant wordsmith who can turn observations of banal occasions into moments of hilarity. It takes someone with sharp wit to write about everydayness in a way that makes people want to read it.
Yeah, YOU is pretty rad! Anyway, what are you up to now?
At the moment there are no zines in the pipeline. I am working on art projects, but have a rule about not discussing them because the ones that have been spoken about prior to completion have been abandoned. My friends think it’s a jinx but there’s a more logical explanation. Without sounding too much like a tormented artist, I think I only express something as art when it’s the only outlet. If it can be resolved internally or released in some other way why does it need to be in an art form? It’s a lot of work to draw your ideas.
Who: Ayano Takeuchi
What: Audrey & Audrey, I really really like you, I don’t know what I want to do to with my life
Where: mail order at maildept.stickyinstitute.com