Needless to say that this year has been challenging for most, but through it all many are finding ways to exert their creativity in new and exciting ways. Lip Manegio, founder of the Ginger Bug Press spoke to Hassle on starting a publishing press during a global pandemic and hopes for the future.
BOSTON HASSLE: What was the inspiration behind Ginger Bug Press?
LIP MANEGIO: I started Ginger Bug because, as a self-taught book & graphic designer, I felt shut out of a lot of traditional publishing spaces.
While as a poet & multimedia artist, I knew how hard getting work out can be. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone by creating my own publishing space and offer help to other artists who wanted to see their work in print.
BH: How does it feel to start a publishing press during a pandemic?
LM: It has its positives and its negatives. On the positive side, I’ve never had so much free time to pour myself into a project like this, which has let me get this off the ground and running much quicker than I would have been able to in the “Before Times.”
On the other hand, there are days where it feels almost futile. I am not a romantic in that I don’t believe zines or poetry or art in general will save the world, and, living through the apocalypse, it can feel like anything that isn’t world-saving level is a waste of time.
All at the same time, though, I do believe in the work that we’re putting out and its ability to impact individual people in positive ways.
I hold that thought of someone holding one of our zines and it bringing them even the smallest amount of joy, which is more than enough justification to keep on going. It also helps that the community has showed up for this baby press so hard, keeping that thought right at the front of my mind.
BH: What is the process for artists to get involved in Ginger Bug Press?
LM: If folks have projects ready to go that will take up 10 – 30 pages, they can feel free to send it over to [email protected], after reading our full guidelines at www.gingerbug.press!
We’re also going to be putting out calls for other publication opportunities for smaller/shorter pieces of work late this year/early next year, so follow us on Instagram (@gingerbug.press) to keep up with that!
BH: How do you hope Ginger Bug press impacts the publishing world and fellow authors and creatives?
LM: This isn’t a goal that I think Ginger Bug could hope to accomplish alone, but I’m hoping that the rising tide of small/independent/DIY publishing I’ve seen cropping up more and more can help to disrupt the larger publishing industry.
I’m hoping that we can create a space for a broader slate of voices than the major publishing houses currently allow for, and that we can grow publishing into a practice that is sustainable both for presses and for artists.
I also want to remind creators that yes, your weird ass art is valid and worthy of recognition. Your book about sea monsters and sex? Your series of photos of half eaten apples? Your collages that are made up solely of vintage soap labels? All of that is just as much “real art” as anything a mainstream publisher deems fit to publish or that is hung in a famous art gallery.
BH: How would you describe Ginger Bug Press in 3 words?
LM: Trying our best.
Ginger Bug Press’ most recent work, PULL by Adrienne Novy (a Jewish and disabled artist), focuses on the poetry of rebirth and being reborn. Pre-orders began to ship this month.
For more information on Ginger Bug Press and all of their work and artists, check out their website.