Illustrator Taylor Wright Rushing was born and raised in Washington State. He moved to Austin for a year and then entered grad school in Madison, Wisconsin. We talked on the phone last week. You can find him at the Short Run Comix & Arts Festival this Saturday at Seattle Center.
Is this your first Short Run or have you been before?
This is my first one.
How did you become a Short Run exhibitor?
I applied originally for the Dash Grant that they offer. They're one of the few organizations that offers a grant for small publishers — whether it's for a zine or a comic book. I just couldn't believe all that they had to offer as such a small organization.
From there, I was offered a table at the festival and I just was so delighted. I'm from Washington originally, so it was totally a treat to have an excuse to come home and do something fun.
Have you done any shows like this before in your neck of the woods?
I've done a few small shows, but nothing of this scale. I'm pretty involved in the small press community here in Wisconsin. But, you know, I went to Evergreen, so coming from Washington, it’s like the zine capital of America. It's kind of a treat be able to come home and do something so huge. I didn't realize that Short Run is as big as it is.
It gets bigger every year. Are you bringing anything new to Short Run this year, any brand new stuff to show off?
I've got a bunch of stuff. I do a lot of independent research around the 78 RPM old country music and blues music scene and I do a lot of small stuff associated with that. I have three new zines that I've come out with this year that are specific to the independent research that I've done regarding different musicians that I love and listen to. I've got some posters and I've got some bandannas that I've made.
Is there anybody at Short Run that you're excited to meet this time?
To be honest with you, I'm so excited to meet everyone. There's just such a slew of totally badass illustrators and makers. The thing that I love so much about the zine and small-press community is that everyone can do it. So no matter who you are, whether you're a professional illustrator or graphic designer or if you're literally someone who just makes in your living room, that's what this community is for. I am just so excited to see the workshops, the performances — this is just a dream scenario for me. And to get to come home and see a lot of artists who I grew up looking at — it's a blast!
I was wondering if you had any advice for people who are going to a show for the first time and maybe have just made their first zine or mini-comic and are looking to show it off.
This is the ultimate question for me, because in my mind this stuff is meant for everyone. There's something so beautiful about the idea that you can make something in your living room and create it on a copy machine and make something that everyone can look at.
I'm so interested in folk culture, and that’s something that the zine community nurtures — everyone going out and doing something and being creative. Especially in this day and age, there's no one way to be good at drawing. You can make the most clunky, weirdest looking characters and they will be lionized as the greatest. That's what I love about this whole scene. That’s what it's all about. There's no one way to be good at anything, and there's a million ways to make beautiful mistakes. That's what this is all about.
Is there anything you want attendees of Short Run to know about you?
This is my first major thing and I am really at the beginning of my career as an illustrator/artist/whatever you want to call me. And it would be a real treat to get to meet some people and interact with people who want to engage in my work. I would be absolutely delighted and I really look forward to that.