From writing and illustration to photography and styling, Zoetica Ebb is an artist whose talent has manifested in many forms. This Wednesday, the co-founder of counterculture magazine Coilhouse and woman behind the popular personal blog Biorequiem will make her debut as a spoken word artist at Alchemy, a new “witch house” event promoted by Rich Royal and writer Clint Catalyst (LA Weekly's Dance Club Pick of the Week), where she will read alongside author Jillian Lauren.
We asked Ebb about her forthcoming performance, her personal style writing and the possibility of future book projects.
What prompted your spoken word performance for Wednesday?
Clint Catalyst, who often calls me a “storyteller” and is familiar with parts of my, somewhat colorful, background, invited me to write an autobiographical piece for his upcoming book– the sequel to the anthology, Pills, Thrills, Chills & Heartache. Reading at Alchemy– a night dedicated to the witch house genre– made sense because said piece deals with a particularly spooky period of my life.
Can you talk a bit about the piece your reading?
Without divulging too much, it's a vignette that touches on parts of my history with mysticism and fetishism, from growing up in 1980s Moscow to early adulthood in 2000s Los Angeles. I wrote it as a tribute to a very special ghost.
Working as a multi-disciplinary artist, do you have periods where you focus on one medium? Are there times when you only want to work on photography or illustrating?
Want? Constantly. Actually do? Not so much. For instance, I'm absolutely dying to dive into a painting project that's been buzzing about my skull for months now, but I haven't been able to carve out the time for it yet. I would love to dedicate more hours to all my fields, but the time-bender I'm working on is still in Beta, that cheeky hull. Nonetheless, in addition to freelance photography and writing, I'm collaborating with Toronto-based design house, Plastik Wrap, on some limited edition pieces, traveling to Europe in the spring, and Issue 07 of Coilhouse is already underway. Aaa.
Do you have specific rituals that you follow when you work, i.e. listening to certain music or working at specific times of day? Do these change when you're going from working on a visual art project to a writing project?
The only real prerequisites are already part of my daily ritual. To work, I insist on inspiration and optimum performance, which means meditation, a good breakfast, exercise and lots of research. Sometimes solitude, depending on the project, and often a movie while drawing. The sporadic dog scratch. The occasional tub of caffeinated dark chocolate absinthe.
Your readers have asked in the past about the possibility of a book release. At this point in time, do you see yourself publishing a book of your work or do you have any plans to do so?
Indeed! Designer Courtney Riot and I are working on a coffee table style book as we speak. It's something we're doing in between other projects so there is no scheduled release date yet, but it's been a long time coming and I'm highly excited about it.
Additionally, the experience of sitting down to write the piece I'll be reading at Alchemy was surprisingly fulfilling, and has reminded me to finally begin another book project I've only moderately considered over the years. Whether time will comply on that front is yet to be seen.
P.S. Comics. I might like drawing those, too.
Your “Style Dispatch” posts seem to really hit a chord with readers. When did you start documenting your personal style and why do you think it has resonated with readers?
Professionally, I began documenting my personal style in 2006, with the original incarnation of my style column on SuicideGirls.com, “What's Zo Wearing?”. The very first instances of style documentation, however, occurred in 1996. I was already obsessed with taking my camera everywhere, though back then, of course, it was a little automatic film camera. I had very little idea of how to use it, but this didn't stop me from compulsively documenting everything and asking my friends to take pictures of my outfits. Then LiveJournal and a digital camera came along, and it was ON.
To me, great personal style begins with a strong sense of identity. Self-awareness and understanding are, in my opinion, crucial aspects of human development, the foundation stones of living well. I believe my style writing resonates with readers because I encourage them to actively seek out their true selves and pursue life without being slaves to brands, conventions, or anything else, for that matter. Also, people generally seem to enjoy pictures of cute, adventurous outfits.
In your work on the whole, you seem to have found a nice balance between print and online media. How do you see the two working with each other in the future?
The digitizing of magazines and other print media has been an exciting process to watch. Enhancing print with features like augmented reality could be the key to re-igniting interest in this medium. I'm especially looking forward to interactive art books and comics, as well as, hopefully, an actually revolutionized education system.
Do you have a preference for working in print or web media?
I'm a print devotee – Coilhouse Magazine and my substantial book collection are testaments to this. I was raised in part by writers, in part by their wall-to-wall collection of books, so print has always been magic. In the so-called digital age it has become even more invaluable. I adore fancy paper, embossing, textures, and seeing [along with smelling] my words, illustrations and photos freshly printed – nothing quite like it! However, the web is teeming with innumerable possibilities and has helped cultivate such fantastic opportunities and connections – for me and for just about everyone I know – that I adore and revere it. Each medium has its benefits and limitations, there is no way I could choose one or the other.