Andrew Martin Scott

Sep 5th, 2012


Fall means back to school, buckling down and studying up.  We asked some of our favorite creative people about what they’ve learned as students, and what they could teach us now.


U: How did what you studied in school affect where you ended up today and what you’re doing now?

AMS: I went to school for Psychology, so it didn't really affect or have anything to do with what I'm doing today - except for maybe my excellent customer service skills.

U: What do you wish you’d learned in school that you found out later?Was it something that could even be taught?

AMS: I wish that I learned how to be comfortable pursuing an art focused career, but something like that sort of only comes through the experience of living. I think I was really afraid of doing that right after college - I went the normal route at first and tried to get an office job because I thought that that's what was necessary to do to support oneself as an adult…then I freaked out and realized that there was no way I could live with myself spending my days in an office. Shortly after, a year or so later I settled nicely into a design job that was a better fit for me at an alternative weekly paper where I learned everything I know about graphic design. Strangely, I got the design job because I made zines, it really had nothing to do with what I studied in college.

U: What’s in your toolbox?  What are the items you need in your workspace to get things done?

AMS: Well, I'm  not a standard artist per se in that I do one thing like say painting. I'm sort of a jack of all trades - I take photographs, make zines (Sobstory is my ongoing zine), and more recently have started dabbling in sign painting. As far as a toolbox, for photography I use a 1960s era half frame camera the Olympus Pen and Fuji 400 film, for zines I use a laptop, laser printer, and a print gocco; and for sign painting, a saw, power sander, one shot paint, and some brushes.

U: What’s in your pocket? Do you have anything that’s always with you soyou can sketch/take photos/make notes anytime?

AMS: In my pocket is always a pen and a small 2"x3" blank book for jotting down ideas. In addition, I usually always carry a larger journal and a camera in a bag on my back.

U: Who was your most memorable teacher… of all time, not just in a classroom.  What did they teach you?

AMS: I'd say my most influential teachers were skateboarding and punk rock and the subsequent do-it-yourself ethos that accompanied those scenes. The idea of being a participant and not just a spectator in life was drilled into me from those two closely related sub-cultures. The idea that if you need something done make it yourself, don't wait for someone to do it for you. Those scenes introduced me to the notion that anyone can create things and that in a sense ambition is better than skill. That idea still resonates with me today.

U: If you taught a class that you could base on some expertise or obsession you have, what would it be?

AMS: I'd probably teach a class on zine making and zine culture in general. After running a zine shop for almost 10 years I've become pretty well versed in the subject. I actually was a graduate adviser for a student at CCA on just that topic last year.  But besides, that I'd like to teach a class on bicycle touring in northern California or just take people on rides. I'm kind of obsessive about cycling and go off for hours at a time wondering around Marin with some headphones plugged in my ears.



Andrew Martin Scott is a San Francisco based zine-maker and co-founded Needles and Pens, an emporium of zines, books, hand-made goods, and an art gallery in San Francisco’s Mission District, in 2003. Since its inception, Needles and Pens has organized over 75 exhibitions, both locally and internationally.