Latinx Heritage Month: Harold Claros

Meet Harold Claros, a 25-year-old history major who produces his own zine focused on POC in the Richmond area. Learn what influences his work, how to find his work and more in our exclusive interview.

 

Name: Harold Claros 

Age: 25

Sign: Libra, Venus in Leo. 

Major: History major, with a double minor in American studies and political science 

So, tell me about Harold's House Vol.1: So, Richmond Zine Fest offered a stipend for minority zine makers, and I applied for it and I got the stipend. I've never made a zine before in my entire life and I wanted to really focus on the really cool minority friends that I have here in Richmond. It started off primarily being minority punk rockers, then minority musicians, and then people who are just minorities and it really expanded from here out. I think that from having that stipend I was able to really try to be as artistic as I could in those regards. I borrowed a friend's camera, I used a white bed sheet pinned on my wall in my kitchen, I had a friend use a lamp that I found in the trash behind me -- very DIY. 

Why is doing zines important to you? It's really important for me to show the different intersections within the Latinx community, between black folk, between queer POC, women...we all do face discrimination as a whole but we all face it in a very distinct, different manner. In matters that I don't know of as well. I'll never know what it's like to be discriminated as a black man or as a queer POC or as a woman. It was very interesting to see the different intersections within that suffer. 

Has your heritage influenced your work? Definitely. My family is from Bolivia and has a real strong love and sort of a bias of love for people who are brown. I tend to gravitate more towards them in friendships and relationships and am willing to work with them artistically. This entire zine is being assisted by only POC. I have no one outside this community coming in and putting their finger in this, and I feel that the pride that I have in being a Latino and being a part of the Latinx community has really driven me within this.

How did it feel being a POC that listened to a predominantly white genre of music? See that was the thing, originally I wanted to make this scene just like, Latinx punk rockers and Latinx hardcore kids and from the few that I found, and there are very few here. (I mean) we’re all friends… For me music is life. My fountain of youth is within rock n roll, but to have that representation is definitely important. I remember growing up and liking bands like Nirvana and Metallica which are white dudes. And getting into bands like Suicidal Tendencies which are a hardcore skater Chicano band out of Southside LA in bandanas, and that was really important because that was representations – those dudes look like my tios or cousin’s friends up in Northern Virginia. To be able to see somebody and say “you look just like me” that was really important to me. There’s a few bands doing that now, one of them called Mizery, out of California and they’re all Latinx hardcore. Having that representation is really inspirational and it’s definitely important because you don’t get that a lot.

How can we find your magazine? You can follow me on Instagram @HaroldsHouseRVA and that’s where I put small snipits from the photos that I’ve taken, and small quotes from the interviews I’ve had and a great cover shoot. If you follow me on Instagram, that’s the best way and I’m really trying to reach out to as many other cool POC people here in VCU and to continue for volume two and so on.

What are you looking forward to in Richmond Zine Fest? Now that the minority stipend was given out, there’s probably going to be a lot more POC and it’s going to be so cool! I went there once and it was very predominantly white people, specially white men. So I’m really excited to see the other zines as well, maybe even trade some zines and get a different perspective on people in different art and photographs and I think that zine making is a really personal form of art. You don’t just make a zine for something that you don’t love or are not interested in. It’s this passion that you have towards something.

When is Richmond Zine Fest? Richmond Zine Fest is going to be at the Richmond Public Library on Oct. 1.

Any final statements? Shout out to all my POC punks and Richmond Youth Crew. To Max and Igor Cavalera, Kirk Hammet, Tony Molina. To anyone that’s felt ugly because of the brownness of your skin; you are beautiful and God placed you as the sun, the center of the universe, to be loved and cherished.

In solidarity, Harold.