One of the more welcome moments of the year to date has been the return of longtime Orlando arts zine, Is It Over Yet? The phrase "labor of love" has long been relegated to the realm of cliché, but IIOY? breathes vibrant meaning into the old saw — just as they do the print medium. The core duo of Cody Zeigler and Daniel Harris have resurrected their collaborative visual arts zine for one (last?) yearlong blaze of glory, helping get the word out and eyeballs on new artists in the Orlando area and beyond, creating connections and audience during a time where we're all still somewhat isolated.
COVID-era boredom and Zeigler's return to Orlando were the impetus for the renaissance, and Zeigler and Harris raised the stakes this time around, too, making the zine a regular monthly endeavor. Is It Over Yet? is now released on the 15th of each month through the end of December and that clockwork nature only raises anticipation somehow.
This is a different IIOY? than the one that started back in 2013, a concern that eventually expanded out to the DIY gallery A Space and a host of shows, both of the music and art varieties. Gratifyingly, the core mission remains the same: to create a visual artifact of local creativity and community and get it into people's hands. Equally gratifying is the friendship at the heart of this enterprise — Zeigler and Harris are still enthusiastic collaborators in hunting out new aesthetics and artists after nearly a decade. Everything else, as they say, is just noise.
Each issue of IIOY? is an amazing transaction of trust. Artists entrust Harris and Zeigler with their art, and the duo entrust it to the greater Orlando community in the form of a one-off booklet. The April issue featured 12 artists working in photography, collage, painting, digital art and illustration, all presented in a full-color zine with a transparent plastic outer cover. It's stunning.
The next issue of IIOY? comes out on Saturday, May 15. If you want a copy or want to contribute to future issues, contact email@example.com. The truly enterprising might be able to grab a copy at Stardust Video & Coffee within the first couple days of release. But be warned: Print runs go fast.
Are you surprised by the enthusiasm for the zine, both on the contributors' and readers' sides?
DH: Honestly, no, just because I feel like we have a bunch of friends that make a bunch of art and never get around to showing it to people. And a lot of times what people need is just someone to be like, "Your art is good, let me show it to some people!!" And then they'll be like, "OK." And then as soon as people started seeing what kind of stuff was in the zine, it was just a matter of time till we got rid of all of them.
I like the regularity of it coming out every month. It's like having a subscription to a magazine.
CZ: The consistency is helpful. Both for the contributors and for us to get it done.
DH: And I think for me, trying to make sure I'm consistently doing things and not just wasting my time, it encourages me to have at least one new piece per month to put it in the zine.
While people are still somewhat isolated, the zine fosters connection through sharing art. You can see what someone's been up to creatively, which is a great check-in.
DH: I think that like that month-to-month aspect, especially seeing the same contributors every few weeks, helps you feel like you are going on a journey with them. And once you see them improve, you're personally invested in them.
CZ: (Illustrator) Brandon Geurts made us start printing the zine in color. He was sending us black-and-white art for a while. And when we were like six issues deep, he sent us a color piece. And we both thought, "Yeah, we can't make that black-and-white."
DH: I remember I always used to get on Brandon and be like, "You could do such crazy stuff with color!" Then he finally did, and now he's one of the most colorful painters that I know. And it does make me really excited.
Do you have anything special planned for any future issues?
DH: We have a cover idea that we want to do ...
CZ: Where we put a bunch of stuff and let people make their own cover.
DH: Yeah, we'd enclose little glue sticks and scissors with each copy and have people send us photos of the covers that they made. And then maybe do a cover compilation of other people's covers. We have all these crazy ideas for formatting and content, but the monthly deadline is part of what keeps us reneging on all our grandiose ideas in order to accomplish the primary goal, which is to ensure that there's one out every single month.
CZ: I also really don't mind just putting them out.
DH: It's funny, I haven't gotten to see a lot of my friends in a really long time, and just getting to email back and forth with them and look at their art for hours while laying it out has kind of made me feel a little less lonely. Just being able to tell them, "Oh I really love this piece, let me put it in the zine!" or "What do you think about this, how does this layout look?" and even stuff like getting contributors' mailing addresses and going to mail those out ... I feel like I'm doing something meaningful with another person, even though they're not there.