Found Me: Through the Eyes of Houstonians
Photo: Brian Ellison
Two Houstonians — one a prominent rapper and DJ and the other a journalist — set out to create a zine that is the embodiment of the city and its inhabitants. The resulting publication, Found Me, has encapsulated just that.
Anthony Obi — known to many as Fat Tony — and Matthew Ramirez achieved the dream with the help of a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation‘s Idea Fund through local arts institution DiverseWorks. The publication, which is based in photo collages, interviews, personal essays, poetry and short stories, presents a unique perspective of Houston through the eyes of those who have lived and grown up here.
The zine includes insightful interviews with influential locals such as New York Times-bestselling author Shea Serrano, WWE Hall of Fame wrestler and mayoral hopeful Booker T, artist and musician Robert Hodge, and chef Chris Williams of Lucille’s. Other contributions include a commissioned work by Victor “KOOL A.D.” Vasquez and photo collages by Jean-Sebastien Boncy, all beautifully orchestrated by art director Stephen Wilson.
“Matthew and I created this project as our proposal for The Idea Fund grant in late 2015,” Obi states. “He’s a full-time journalist and I’ve been a part-time journalist in the past. We’ve both dreamed of creating a magazine before. Something similar to magazines we grew up admiring like the Beastie Boys’ Grand Royal or Ego Trip or SPIN — in their ’80s and ’90s heyday. A magazine where journalists can write the way we talk and speak to people that look and feel like us: Blacks, POCs, artists, designers and stylists, freaks, weirdos, and more. Even professional wrestlers.”
“The idea was to focus on artists, writers, creatives, or anyone doing something worthwhile — preferably amateurs or non-career artists and under-known people in the community, while simultaneously highlighting bigger names that we think are doing great work in putting Houston on,” Ramirez says. “The second aspect of this was we wanted to focus solely on people of color — Houston is the most diverse city in the country and the zine had to reflect this. We wanted people to feel comfortable expressing themselves which is why there were basically no guidelines for the people we tapped to be a part of it. We wanted it to be loose, fun, and especially moving.”
“Every contributor and every person featured in Found Me is passionate about what they do whether it’s their career, a hobby, or a spontaneous project,” Obi says. “They’re people that care about what they do for more reasons than notoriety. Just like us. Some of the folks featured in Issue One are famous, such as Booker T, KOOL A.D., Chargaux, or Shea Serrano.”
“But for as many famous names we have even more people featured who are yet to be discovered, if ever,” Obi continues. “Getting their story out there is what’s important to us no matter how many Instagram followers they have. We are committed to that mission throughout everything Found Me produces today and tomorrow.”
“Found Me” is available for $18 on a limited run at Wired Up - modern conveniences (2608 Dunlavy).