San Antonio’s CHIFLADAzine – a digital zine showcasing the artwork, poetry, prose, photography, and films of Latinxs – is only about a year old, but thanks to Tumblr it’s already got a growing fan base on both sides of the border. A safe space for works by people of color, the zine has everything from explorations of bi-cultural identity to photo essays, to dope playlists, and more. We caught up with Editor-in-Chief Claudia Delfina to learn more about the project, how it got started, and where it’s going.
Why did you start this project? And why the Latinx focus?
CHIFLADAzine was created because we saw a lack of Latin@ representation in online publications. We wanted something that could be accessible, artsy, and inspiring for Latin@s everywhere. There are lots of publications I admire and read, but in these publications I found that there were few Latin@ contributors and staff members. I wanted to create an outlet for Latin@ writers and artists to express themselves in various ways.
Do you think that people express themselves differently on URL than IRL?
I think the internet gives people a stronger sense of confidence. They can be bolder and braver because they can share their thoughts without a real life audience in front of them. Although, I know some internet artists who post thoughts they would comfortably share out loud. It depends on the person, but overall I think the internet gives people a sense of self-assurance.
Is it a coincidence that your staff ended up all-female? Is there a cyber-feminism connection?
Our female staff kind of happened by chance. All of the most talented writers and artists I knew through Tumblr or in real life are women and we reached out to them about joining our staff and they were glad to. I think our Latina contributors are important because often times, our stories are overlooked or untold. Latinas are oversexualized in the media so it’s important to recognize that so many Latinas are smart, talented, and creative. In the past few years, there have been several feminist women and genderqueer people who have successful projects online. A lot of these feminist artists and writers have been able to connect through their publications or Tumblrs and I think it is beautiful. I would love to meet all the contributors and readers of CHIFLADAzine one day.
What do you think about other girls that share their feminism online, like Petra Collins, Avida Bystrom?
The internet has opened up a door to girls everywhere who like to create. They can share their art and thoughts through several platforms to whomever they want. It’s a great and sometimes dangerous thing. Women don’t have to wait for white male validation or recognition; they can instantly share their work. But on the downside, they are at the risk of being ridiculed or plagiarized.
Do you think it’s easier to be a Latina on the internet in 2015 than it was before?
I recently saw a post on Tumblr that had screenshots of what appears on Google images if you search for Latina women and the first several images were all sexualized photos of women. The stereotypes of the “Spicy Angry Latina” and the “Promiscuous Latina” are still around, especially on the internet. But I think with the larger visibility of all types of Latin@s on the internet will help abolish harmful stereotypes.
How did you guys meet?
Laura and I met through Tumblr in 2012. We followed each other and realized we both lived in the same city so we met IRL. We worked on a short film about a girl gang called “Nyx Chix” before creating CHIFLADAzine.
Who do you admire and why?
I admire so many artists and writers of color like Fabiola Ching, Arabelle Sicardi, Crystal Galindo, Lora Mathis, and Apryl Fuentes. I’m inspired by their passion and how they actively tries to be radical through their work.