(Above: One of Eugene artist Lilly Solano’s comics creations, in which she muses about her future)

By Randi Bjornstad

The third annual Euzine Comics & Zine Fest is almost here — it runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Lane Events Center on Saturday, Nov. 10 — and this year, Lilly Solano will be one of the artists with work on display.

“I am excited to be accepted,” Solano said, “and I’ve been working really hard to create things to sell there. I will have postcards and stickers, and I’ve been working on more comics asnd a zine.”

According to the festival’s website, euzinefest.com, well over 100 comics and zine artists will participate this year.

For those who aren’t really sure what “zine” means, here’s how the Euzine Comics & Zine Fest organizers describe it:

  • ​Zines are self-published materials that are often handmade then photocopied. These days, you can see a full spectrum of high- and low-brow printing methods, mediums, and formats utilized in the presentation of Zines. Anyone with something to share can make a Zine. Zine Fests attract many artists, photographers, writers, and visual storytellers. Zines can be many things: instructional, graphic, personal, a comic or story, a compilation of common or uncommon things. There are endless possibilities!

Lilly Solano, in a selfie with her cat that she titles, “Kisses Before Work;” Solano’s work can be seen at instagram.com/iabwm

Solano, who graduated with an art degree from the University of Oregon in 2017 and whose day job is grocery checking at Market of Choice, has known since she was a young child that she wanted to be an artist.

“We had a family friend who liked to do realistic portraits,” she recalled. “I thought that was just amazing, that someone could take a piece of paper and turn it into something.”

After graduating from high school in Grants Pass, Solano began studying at the University of Oregon, where she majored in digital art with a minor in comic studies.

“I really love the comics format — I especially want to get into that,” she said. “I have a general idea of what I want to convey that way, from my own perspective. Sometimes I can’t fully describe with just an image or words what I want to say, so I like to combine the two.”

It’s hard to accomplish on top of a demanding day job, Solano admits.

“I have to work full time, so it’s hard to find time for art when I have an inspiration but I’m already exhausted, or when I think of something I really want to do, but I know I have to get up early in the morning and go to work.”

At 22, Solano knows she’s just getting started, but she also feels she has some significant life experience upon which to draw.

She’s of Asian descent, “but I was adopted when I was 2 months old, and I don’t know anything about my birth mother — I grew up completely in this culture,” she said. “But people still want to single me out and assume that I am from somewhere else.”

Many times when she encounters someone at the grocery store or elsewhere, “People will ask me, ‘Where are you from?’ ” she said. “Out of the blue, ‘Where are you from?’ and when I say Grants Pass, that’s not enough.”

Many times, they follow up with comments such as, “Oh, I’ve lived in Japan,” or “Oh, my son just married a girl who’s Filipino, and he’s very happy.”

“I have some feelings toward that — sometimes it’s a little upsetting,” Solano admitted. But she also knows it gives her a different dimension that she can explore through her art.

She’s got a couple of ideas for zines she wants to do, one related to the “otherness” of her experience in the larger culture and another related to her work experience in retail.

She plans to have at least one zine completed and available, along with a variety of her other work, at her table at the Euzine Comics & Zine Fest.

And for those who aren’t sure what a Zine Fest is, here’s how the Euzine Comics & Zine Fest organizers describe it:

  • A Zine Fest is a place to meet and share with other artists, zinesters, and fans of graphic works. The common format has individuals selling or trading their works at tables. Trading often happens at the end of the event and is initiated on a one-on-one basis (you don’t have to trade if you don’t want to —​ BUT it is really awesome!). If you come with a buddy, you can switch off at your table to walk around and enjoy the festivities. Zine Fests also hold events in conjunction with the tabling expo to provide variety, entertainment, and education. We seek to add these elements and many more perks to our EUZINE Fest.

Third annual Euzine Comics & Zine Fest

When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov 6

Where: Lane Events Center (aka fairgrounds), 796 W. 13th Ave., Eugene

Admission: Free

Information: euzinefest.com

More examples of Lilly Solano’s work, from her site at instagram.com/iabwm: