We had the good fortune of connecting with Norma Vasquez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Norma, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
When I graduated college I realized that I no longer had an outlet to create and express myself. I would sit and talk with my friends about how I want to create work but didn’t like this idea to be “approved” or “good enough” to be able to be featured in a magazine or show. I remember thinking how cool it would be to have our own magazine so my friends and I can just do whatever we wanted. I remember watching The Punk Singer documentary about Bikini Kill, a band that Kathleen Hanna fronted and was blown away. It was my first introduction to Zines because in the film Zines opened up a conversation, outlet, and platform for women. I was so inspired that I decided I wanted to create my own zine. A friend of mine, Lee, and I really put in the work and focus into making a collaborated zine open to all women, mainly our friends at the time. We started making art, poems, playlists, rants for the zine. We would leave the zines everywhere in Tower District and tape some to random poles etc. From there I started a social media account for the Hex Gurls Zine and started opening it up to all women who wanted to submit. We started attending local Zinefests to get to know our art community more. I love being able just to create without anyone telling me whether it was good or not. I think doing this zine has definitely shown me how important is it to keep creating for ourselves as artists because it inspires others to do so. We keep most zines open to all women who wish to submit some work. The Hexgurls Zine is meant to empower, showcase and give voice to our fellow women.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I run a Zine called Hex Gurls Zine that is a platform for women to express themselves. I also have a small business called Soft Magic Crafts where I create digital art, resin art, and jewelry. I am an artist that wants to do everything, too many hobbies with so little time. I feel like my journey is just beginning, I recently decided to pursue my art more fully than I ever have. It was hard making that choice but, I’m excited to start this journey. The lesson I’ve learned is always to stay true to yourself and your vision. Create art that makes you happy.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in Fresno Ca. My favorite place to hang out is in the Tower District. Tower is a small art district that is full of local businesses. My favorite place to get tea and talk with friends is a place called Teazers. I love going to Strummers when I want to see a band or a show. Hi-Top Coffee makes amazing coffee. The Revue is a coffee shop that also will host some art activities. My favorite shop to support the local artists is called Sour Milk Shop, it’s the cutest store. Downtown Fresno also hosts a lot of fun events such as Art Hop and vendor fairs. Tioga Sequoia Brewing downtown also will host really fun events that include a lot of arts, bands, and shows. The quarantine has really made me miss these places and events.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family and friends have definitely been my support system since day one. My friends always show up, encourage and buy my art and it means the world to me so thank you. My mom, Delia is someone who has encouraged me to do anything I have ever wanted to do. She always believed in me and pushed me to become who I am today. I hope I’m making her proud in anything I do. My siblings and nieces/nephew are my rock and they bring so much happiness to my life. My boyfriend Edward is my biggest supporter and constantly encourages me in my work. Thank you.

Website: https://softchicana.carrd.co

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/softchicana/

Other: https://linktr.ee/Softmagiccrafts

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