Why make zines? “They’re fun as heck” says Rau

Rosemarie Foad a.k.a. Rau is an illustrator who came along to our creative writing and zine making workshops, and has ended up contributing to our publication and showing as part of the exhibition because we love her work and spirit!

how old are you and how long have you been making illustrations? 

I’m twenty-four years old; and I’ve been illustrating since I was about fifteen or sixteen, but art-ing for most of my life. 

what training have you had or are you self taught? 

I’ve done a foundation diploma in art and design, and a bachelor’s degree in illustration; but I’m still learning! 

which artists/illustrators influence you most? 

The Art Brut movement. I’m enamoured with the naïve visualistic style. These guys have no formal art training, so they’re not hindered by artistic ‘conventions’ or bothered by the ‘right way to do something’. They’re totally free to create art however they want. As Picasso said, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” Ergo, I’m trying to free up my artwork to become more fluid, raw and expressive. 

why do you make art? 

Two reasons. Firstly, there’s the ‘Bread Art’, art that isn’t for me, that brings in the pennies so I can buy tobacco and bread. Second there’s the artwork that I’m just driven to create, where I am art, and art is me. It’s so natural and intuitive that I can’t help but create. It’s a healthy coping mechanism, and a release of pent up thoughts and ideas.  

do you work mostly to commission or just make your own stuff? 

I’m not too sure yet if I want to work in the freelance business. I think that would be too restricting. I’d rather just create to feel good.  

what is your work about? 

Really, I have no idea! It’s a bit of a mess, like me, with no set direction or path. Usually just whatever’s in my head. 


what made you first take your art seriously? 

I think I went through a period of about five minutes at university where I took my art seriously. Mostly I try and keep the art-vibe free and loose.  

why illustration? 

One of my tutors suggested I do it as a degree; so I did a foundation course to try it out and see if it was for me and it seemed to suit. I like the combination of word and picture. I am a writer and storyteller as well, so illustration is the perfect amalgamation of the two.  

which mediums or materials do you like best? 

Anything. Literally. I’m veering towards more organic materials for the Bread Art at the moment, making my own paintbrushes and pigments out of found sticks and chunks of clay or mud. But for illustration I have to say that I am particularly fond of printmaking; I am very tactile so textures and printing appeal to me. I like to make stamps from foam or erasers, and small linocuts and monoprints too. I’d like to be able to work in riso and screenprint more than I have though.   

have you exhibited your work? if so where and with who? 

I’ve had the standard ‘final shows’ during the foundation course and university; but I’ve also had the opportunity to exhibit in the Bishop of Rochester’s garden, which was fun. I’ve also attended Leeds Comics and Arts Festival: Thought Bubble, and had a couple of zines on sale there.  

do you make your work for an audience? 

Mostly I make whatever I want to make. With the Bread Art it’s difficult to wrap my head around making art that isn’t for me. But with a lot of my works my target audience tends to be people already imbedded in some way or another with the art-world; or creative people with mental health problems. 

if so what do you want them to get from it? 

I would like people to draw whatever conclusions they may, and to talk about it. I want people to be connected with my work, not just see it in a gallery and then move on. That’s why I like tactile mediums like print and 3D work as it gives a chance for greater and more immersive interaction.  

why do you make zines? 

They’re fun as heck! I enjoy book-binding in itself. But you can’t beat collecting old postcards, beermats, old tobacco tins, scraps of paper or signage and shoving it all together and drawing all over it. Also, photocopied zines are awesome, there’s something so simplistic and real about running off a few dozen copies of your zine on a beat-up copy machine in the back of a newsagents or library.    

do you collect other peoples art? if so who? 

I would hesitate to say ‘collect’ but I certainly hoard a whole load of visual paraphernalia. I can’t walk into a store or museum without rummaging in their free leaflet collection and picking out all the cool-looking ones. I tend to pick up lots of random shit like train stubs and bits of old posters that have fallen off a lamppost too; anything visually interesting. With regards to particular artists, I’ve got a whole world of books and the internet for that. 

describe your studio practice, rituals, routines etc. 

I’m afraid I haven’t got much of a set studio practice as mental health tends to intervene at sporadic intervals. I begin the day by rolling a cigarette and making a coffee and going to sit in the backyard to suss out the day; once I’ve worked out where my mood is, I try to get inspired. I can’t really focus for very long so I have to use the ‘pomodoro’ technique otherwise I’d never get anything done. There’s not much routine, if any. I’m consistently inconsistent.  

is art important? if so why?

Very much so, I wouldn’t exist without it. Art is everywhere, in everyone and everything. I believe it’s as important for your emotional and mental wellbeing to be creative as it is to get regular exercise.  


To see more work go to Rosemarie’s website: http://rauillustration.co.uk/

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