Save up those small bills and grab your coolest reusable tote bag: OC Zinefest is coming to town! What started off in 2014 as a temperature check for DIY print culture in Orange County has quickly turned into a staple in the Southern California zine community. Zines are the truest form of everyman literature, ranging from comics to politics to personal narratives. They're self-made publications about anything, made for and by everyone.
Seriously, there is no wrong way to make a zine. Want to make one about your dog? Great! All about glasses? Cool! Social justice? Rad! Nothing but crosswords or Christmas carols? Wonderful! Santa Ana based OC Zinefest will draw 88 local zinesters and DIY printers out of their garages and bedrooms and into the gallery this Sunday from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm as well as countless collectors, traders, and spectators. The collective, headed by Jasmine Gallardo, Aimee Murillo (full disclosure: Murillo is our esteemed Calendar Editor), and Benny Edles, hope to "connect people, artists, writers, activists, poets, cartoonists, comic makers, and small publishers" across OC to share their work and ideas outside of the usual (and sometimes inaccessible) gallery and literary spaces.
"Not everyone can afford fine art materials or knows how to get their poems or articles published," says Murillo, "but everyone can make a zine, so that kind of democratic-ness of it is what makes DIY and zine culture so amazing to us." Weather your intentions are purely artistic, personal, experimental, or political, zines are pretty damn cool and accessible to make as a one time project or a potential hobby. Here are some DIY zine and art ideas that you can make in preparation for (or to trade at) OC Zinefest.
See also: Are Zines Making a Comeback Too?
1. The "mini hot-dog" zine!
Easy to make alone or with friends, the "mini hot-dog" zine is a great foray into the zine world for those who want to get their feet wet or quickly get a message or art concept across. With eight mini pages on one single sided copy, it really gets you the most bang for your buck without having to create a lot of content. Annie Knight of Zineworks Collective believes that "zines can serves as a much needed, open forum for sharing authentic voices, experiences, and perspectives that challenge the mainstream," and with this simple format anyone can share what's on their heart with about an hour prep work at about 10 cents a pop.
2. The "Me and My Friends Got This Together and Now Were a Collective" Zine!
Ahhh the collective zine, its like everything zines were born to be! Getting your friends together and sharing your work with each other before sharing it with others can be a great way to build community while workshopping your own ideas. Local zine collective Po'me was launched earlier this year by Sarah Lorraine Ulysses Tostvet, who loves zine culture because of the uncensored control artists retain through the medium. Po'me combines "multi media art such as poems, photography, cartoons, and collage and curate[s] them together to create a super zine." In what Tostvet refers to as the "collab-mix-up-fix-up style," any one can participate in the process. After all the submissions are collected and resized, the Po'me crew meets up to share supplies and ideas, create back grounds, add details, and eventually hand fold and staple the final product. Just add pizza and you've got yourself a zine party.
See also: Do Zines Belong in Public Libraries?
3. The Political Zine
Zines are a surefire way to get your message across without a publisher or large budget, and in the wake of radical conversations surrounding race and gender, zines have made their way back in the underground and activist scenes in a big way. Have something to say? Want to provide resources for others experiencing something you are passionate about? Put it in a zine! From Seneca Falls to the Black Panthers, self-published small run periodicals have been a way to inform and create community for people resisting oppression in the United States for a while. The personal IS political, y'all.
4. The Small Run Comic Book Zine!
Requiring a bit more forethought and time to create than quick-and-easy zines like the "mini hot dog," the small run comic book zine is perfect for aspiring comic book writers, illustrators, or people with a story to tell. These stories can be authorial or fantasy, or a combination of both like local zinester and math teacher Melina Mena's Sour Milk Sea. Make one or a whole series, alone or with friends!
See also: Meet Stacy Russo: OC's Punk Zine Poet
5. The Poetry Zine
To quote OC punk-zinester-poet Stacy Russo, "You reading this now, did you know you're a poet? Do you ever sing your poems? Did you know the world is a poet?" Anyone can write poetry. You don't need a degree or accreditation, Hell its better if you don't in some ways. If you feel even remotely compelled, put those thoughts to paper, and if you're feeling extra courageous, photo copy them for the world to see. Remember, Ginsberg was once an unknown long-haired vagabond too.
6. Silk Screened Prints!
With its American roots in Great Depression posters, and popularized by Andy Warhol, silk screening is the go to choice for working class artists from punk musicians creating band merch to printmakers mass producing art. Local printmaking duo Adrienne Santellan and Marcos Camacho of Soggy Soxx were inspired by punk, cartoon, feminist, and skate art, and wanted to work together making unique and affordable hand screened prints based on original artwork. "Silk screening makes us look at our work differently," says Camacho, "we've learned how to incorporate negative space and how to design a balanced print." Although the process is intensive, for about $60 and a ton of patience you can be up and running, making one of a kind prints to make the DIY collectors sweat.
7. The "Extremely Personal One of a Kind I'm Working Through Some Stuff" Zine.
These are some of my favorite zines to buy. Usually extremely personal and only run once, these zines are like a published form of a diary. Maybe you're going through a transformation of some sort, and found the best way to get through it was by making art or poetry. Perhaps you want to write short stories with collages to process your life? Anything goes in these zines, just remember that what goes in a zine and is sold at a fest will be read and kept by a stranger, and probably archived in a University or punk art collection in 25 years.
OC Zinefest will be held Sunday from 11:00 am -5:00 pm at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art. 117 N. Sycamore St. Santa Ana, CA, 92701.