Long Beach couple and zine-perts Vanessa Rosales and Daniel Garcia want to achieve one thing with their zine publication house, Influentza: influence. Obviously. But by means of infection.
“Want to ‘infect’ people with art,” as Garcia put it.
For the pair, it is not about brainwashing but about a mixture of education, cultural enlightenment, and a better operating world. Making zines led them to their creative outlet. Zines are common plug-ins for artists and writers alike: self-published and created in tiny batches of creativity, they provide possible exposure and publishing power with little risk.
“It was just a way for us to get some work out,” Rosales said. “I was a year into my graphic design program and was itching for something to call my own, without the guidance of a teacher. I wasn’t a trained artist; I was just somewhat creative—that’s how fell into graphic design.”
Designing zines grew to become the exercise that permitted both Gacia and Rosales to grow. On the one hand sits Rosales, defiant and adamant in making her own expressionism grown and, on the other with Garcia, a talented writer who kept most of his thoughts to himself by way of endless journal writing. Zines then morphed into the eccentric glue between Rosales’s imagistic form of expression and Garcia’s love of the pen. Even more, the pair feels that all too often, we are inundated with superficial images that suppress, repress, and oppress rather than create progress (but I digress).
Even more, the pair feels that all too often, we are inundated with superficial images that suppress, repress, and oppress rather than create progress (but I digress).
This is why they have created the ultimate guide to urban cycling.
Click on the guide to go to full screen.
“Daniel is an avid cyclist,” Rosales said. “He commutes from our place in Downtown Long Beach to Lakewood everyday and he got really into learning about bicycling laws. It became a part of our everyday life where he would tell me about it and we would have a dialogue.”
While making zines under Influentza, the duo pondered a question that probably many regular Long Beach bicyclists ask: why not make a zine about cycling? While talk after talk about the cyclozine happened, nothing tangible came to fruition. Until, of course, Rosales hit her final year at the Art Institute of Orange County.
“I had to choose a senior project,” Rosales said, “so I decided to take on this project because it’s such a big part of our life and we noticed the information wasn’t available in the way we’d like to see it.”
Combining the aesthetic of an infographic and a book, Rosales feels she and Garcia have created “a guide I’ve never seen presented in such a way. On one hand, we have a growing population of bicyclists which are vastly ignorant of both laws and common sense because of false safety conceptions (like riding on the sidewalk) that have been drilled into their head from a young age thanks in large part to suburbia and misguided fear. Then, on the other, we have a growing bicycling community who, frankly, oftentimes takes itself way too seriously—I call them “fundacyclists”—and detracts from getting people onto bikes at all. Rosales feels this guide bridges that divide.
“I think there’s a balance of pictures and text, which navigates you through the pages,” Rosales explained. “Biking is important and you should know the rules of the road when getting on a bike. Our guide shows that serious side but also shows off a very fun side which I hope encourage people to get on their bikes and be confident but—most importantly—safe.”
We can definitely cheers (and pedal) to that.