Issue 12  •  Spring 2013

There Are No Rules: An Interview Between Corinne Loperfido and Cassie J. Sneider

Written by Corinne Loperfido and Cassie J. Sneider
 Active ImageCassie: My name is Cassie J. Sneider and I make zines and puppets and wrote a book called Fine Fine Music.

Corinne: I’m Corinne Loperfido. I make comic drawings, run my own graphic design business, and make costumes. So, Cassie, how did you get into writing and when did you decide that you wanted to turn your stories into comics?
Cassie: My name is Cassie J. Sneider and I make zines and puppets and wrote a book called Fine Fine Music.

Corinne: I’m Corinne Loperfido. I make comic drawings, run my own graphic design business, and make costumes. So, Cassie, how did you get into writing and when did you decide that you wanted to turn your stories into comics?

Cassie: I decided to be a writer when I read a story I wrote about monsters living in my basement to my fifth grade class. My teacher said, “You’re going to be a writer,” and I said, “OK.” I started making comics in 2008 when I was living in Austin, Texas and working at a crappy job with unlimited access to a copy machine. I was mailing a letter to a friend with a Whitesnake 1988 tour shirt I had owned for a long time, and I realized that I had a lot of beautiful memories of wearing that shirt and started illustrating the letter. Then I made copies and left them all over town, and thus, history was born.

Corinne: What happened after you left the copies all over town?

Cassie: I got a ton of letters and emails saying to make more comics. Then I started sending them to other cities and got asked to do readings out of state [which] started this snowball effect of making more comics, getting more letters, and taking more road trips to do more readings. My mind was kind of blown by how small the world is and how many friends it is possible to have.

Corinne: That is so amazing! It’s crazy how something as simple as a letter to your friend completely changed your life. So now that you have a book out, what are your future plans for writing and drawing?

Cassie: Well, drawing is something that I sort of forgot I could do. Through reading other people’s comics and noticing things about the way real artists draw, my own art has changed from the style of a deranged, left-handed thirteen-year-old boy to something that’s a little cleaner. I am genuinely surprised every time a drawing comes out the way I wanted it to, and pat myself on the back whenever I get an eyeball right or make a shadow that looks real. So, I guess in the future, I would like to get better at drawing.

So, Corinne, two years ago, you visited and showed me some stuff you were working on. Before then, it never occurred to me to mix pen-and-ink with markers, so I had sort of this, “WHOA! There are NO RULES!” moment [then]. How did you learn to draw?

Corinne: I have been drawing since I was a kid. I grew up in a really boring place were I was mostly left to my own devices, and I started doodling at a young age. I went to college to study graphic design and part of the curriculum included drawing classes, so I got a lot better at the technical aspects. I got into comics and drawing in a cartoon style from reading the “funnies” in the newspaper and then finding indie comics at the public library in high school. I started collecting photocopies of pages from comics I really liked, and over time, I had the same realization: there are no rules! I remember seeing a Sophie Crumb (R. Crumb’s daughter) comic where she used only a ball-point pen, but it was still really beautiful and I saw that anything is possible when you are drawing comics, as long as it tells a story.

Cassie: So, what are you currently working on?

Corinne: As of recently I have been so swamped with my design work that I don’t really have time to sit down a draw for fun. I am an active party promoter in New Orleans, so I take every opportunity to use my cartoon style when making posters and event flyers. I actually like it just as much as drawing a story because it still gets out into the public and people get to interact with it. I love that my art gets to be hung up on bulletin boards all over town and appreciated by my friends and community!

Cassie: How did you start to make a name for yourself with your design work in such a tough economy? Any tips, tricks, or words of encouragement?

Corinne: I started fresh out of college several years ago by hanging up flyers, starting a page on Yelp, and just putting myself out there by doing jobs for cheap to establish my name. I applied for jobs and found no success, but I refused to give up even when I had no clients and was just doing whatever I could to rustle up work. My advice to people trying to make their own business is to, one, be really good at what you do, and two, be patient and flexible with your life and money while your business grows. I am now at the point where I have hired a programmer to code my sites and almost have too many clients, but I am managing my time to get the job done. Self-employment takes a lot of discipline and personal sacrifice, but if you are talented and down for the hustle, then hell yeah! Make it happen!

What would be your advice for people who are trying to do their own thing in life? What have you learned over the last couple years of traveling with your art?

Cassie: If I have learned one thing from my life, it’s that it’s possible to be the you you always wanted to be when you were fifteen—you just have to stay fearless in the face of total poverty, try not to break any bones, and keep being yourself. The staying fearless thing is probably the hardest, but if you can manage to keep calm when you are panicked and poor long enough to reason a way out of it, an opportunity will come your way.

Case in point: I got asked to do a big reading in San Francisco in March 2010 right after I had just moved back home from a terrible breakup. I was totally broke and had no idea how I was going to get to California to do this reading, but my friend got me a job at a record store and I saved every penny and covered every possible shift until I had enough to get there. That ended up being the reading where I got asked by a publisher for a manuscript. The moral is, “Don’t give up hope, and try not to forget the things that make you happy, like reading the liner notes to a new record or putting mittens on the dog.” Just stay yourself and keep moving and nothing can stop you.

Corinne: I couldn’t agree more. No matter how crazy it seems, if you believe in yourself and your art, then you just have to stay focused and hustle your skills wherever possible to get your stuff out there. Keep learning, keep trying new shit, and remember not to take yourself too seriously. If it isn’t fun, why do it?

Cassie: I think that’s a solid plan. Readers, you can order our series of motivational cassettes soon. (Just kidding.)Well, thanks for talking with me today, Corinne!

Corinne: You too, Cassie! Now send me a story so we can finally collaborate like we’ve always talked about . . .

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