Joel Fremming is an artist from San Francisco Bay, that believes in strong lines. He has made over 250 zines in the last 7 years while he has been living in Taiwan.
We asked Joel a few questions about his work...
How come you moved to Taiwan and became an artist here?
I studied arts and education during my time in university and came to Taiwan for vacation ten years ago. During my vacation I rode bicycles with the fixed gear community, went skateboarding around the streets and did a lot of painting. I met a community of foreigners that taught English during the day and would pursue their creative activities while
they weren’t in the classroom. Since I was already studying to be an elementary school teacher I thought this would be perfect for me.
Do you think living in Taiwan has influenced your work at all?
Taiwan has had a lot of influence in my work. Taipei is the first city I’ve ever lived in and since it’s surrounded by mountains and jungles I often experience the unnatural world of the city and the natural world of the jungle in the same day.
What do dinosaurs mean to you?
I often say that I’m a lonely dinosaur along with the slogan that “Dinosaurs are Real.” Dinosaurs died millions of years ago and people have never seen a real dinosaur. Seeing a dinosaur might help people believe in dinosaurs. I want to remind people that they are able to create their own realities.
You have made over 250 zines, how do you find inspiration for the content and is there a running theme?
My zines are like little pieces of me. I use only references from my life and my influences. I don’t do research. Everything in my books come from me. I have the original series with themes and stories. I also have my drawing series which are simply drawings. The drawing series came about do to the language barrier I experience living in Taiwan. With them I can share my books with anyone regardless of their native tongue.
You also design costumes, can you describe them a little to us and how do your costumes and drawings work together?
My costumes allow me to become something outside of myself. I can become a monster, an animal or anything I want. I started making costumes for Halloween about five years ago . Since then I’ve made costumes for performances in festivals and parades. I enjoy being something that I’m not. Being able to express characteristics that I wouldn’t naturally. I’ve made people laugh and smile. I’ve made children scream and cry. I also enjoy covering my identity. I feel safe being different while in costume.