EASY is a small independent publishing label and platform for experimentation and collaboration that local artists Samantha Rehark and Elijah Funk have been developing since 2011. “We need an intern.” Samantha Rehark and Elijah Funk joked from time to time during our interview at the No Place Studios located amidst an industrial ruin on the Southside of Columbus. “It’s a weird place to be to be… I don’t know if we even have time to make our own stuff,” says Funk of going from creating his own work to helping others. We were discussing the time-consuming labor of love the two artists have created with EASY. EASY started off organizing silent auctions, artist talks, skill-building events and a lot of informal drawing, bonding events in 2011. “We realized we were making a lot of print material through all of It.” said Rehark of EASY’s development from artist events to a zine publishing resource, which used Kickstarter in October 2013 to raise $2500 dollars to print publications by emerging visual artists, musicians and writers. EASY’s campaign is enabling them to publish Aiden Koch, John Malta, Sam Reiser, Nathan Snell, Heather Benjamin, Dan Rosser (Cult Ritual) and more. Both Rehark, and Funk are accomplished artists and zine makers in their own right, so for them to sacrifice their time to help others is pretty noble. Elijah Funk is someone I first became aware of because of his DIY punk label Shaver tapes, and his bands such as Drug Money and Shaver. In addition, Elijah’s artwork was around town at places such as Skylab and Roy G Biv. Later I learned his work has also circulated around the world in places such as the Brooklyn Bookshop, and Beijing, China’s Central Academy for the Fine Arts. Elijah broke down to me the compulsion to create that is currently fueling Easy. “I started making shirts and flyers when I was 12 through punk stuff. I was screen-printing in my mother’s basement every day. It was some weird thing I had to do. I was constantly turning out merchandise and flyers and things.” Eventually, Elijah went to CCAD and continued to be obsessed with making things whether they are books, zines, tapes, sculptures or installations. Samantha’s love of zines blossomed post-grad while living in Albuquerque, NM.“I did this traveling zone project for a while called “Let’s” because I was just going to residencies and travel.” Similar to Elijah, Samantha enjoys working in a variety of mediums that exist in space, are accessible and as she describes, “Trashy but Classy.” Samantha had a show in Chicago last year with fellow CCAD grad Erin McKenna called Double Dip. “We had a hot tub in the middle of it and put wood paneling along all the walls. I made this hot tub music mini-mix to play out of the tub so you could sit in it,” she said. “There was no water in the tub. There were bubbling sounds and dry ice. It was pretty silly. “ Samantha detailed another similar tongue-in-cheek show she was involved in last year at Roy G Biv. “’Let’s’ was a really feminine aesthetic. I had brochures, over-sized brochures, kind of mocking self-help...I had this one, ‘How To Dress for Funerals.’ But it has this sassy tone of voice that would be in a magazine. Like Chuck those Timberlands in a closet.” I asked her what her fascination with this type of kitsch. Her response, “It’s got that initial ‘this is really cheesy’ why revisit it? But it’s so satisfying. Or have this analytical approach to it that is kind of like mocking it, mocking an analytical approach of anything.” If any of this interests you, perhaps you could check out one of EASY’s upcoming events. Friday January 31st, EASY will be hosting a zine swap at Brigade to highlight the table they have at the Short North Boutique located at 940 High Street. Friday February 7th EASY will celebrate its 2nd Birthday with a party at the aforementioned, No Place, located at 1164 S. Front Street. The 2nd anniversary party promises three DJ’s, Glamour Shots, streamers, an extravagant light show and cake. They are asking for a $5 dollar donation to help foot the costs of bringing Easy Zines to the L.A. Zine Fest. Rehark thinks the EASY Zine output is going to be pretty special. “I don’t know how to say this without sounding snobby but----we pick up a lot of zines and books and stuff at shops and zine fests…I feel a lot of it falls into the same aesthetic or similar genre really stands out. We want to makes something that will make you say, ‘That’s Awesome.’ That’s kind of our goal is to kind of still keep the experimentation/ collaboration thing going. Maybe make some really mouthwatering shit, something that you really want to pick up. ”

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