Unpacking the Zine Fair


Now that we are starting to recover from what proved to be an incredibly whirlwind trip to Sydney, we are beginning to ‘unpack’ both literally and metaphorically the whole MCA Zine Fair 2013 experience.

It was an incredibly busy weekend, with the Zine Fair co-inciding with the Sydney Writers Festival, Vivid Sydney as well as Semi Permanent Design Conference happening in Darling Harbour. With everything going on, my home town of Sin-City put on the best day we could have asked for! It was a sparkling clear blue day on the harbour, and in the much appreciated warm autumn sunshine, we arrived with suitcases of zines in tow.

With over 70 individual tables at the fair, there was a seriously overwhelming amount of production to choose from – and the amount of people in the place who had come to check it out was unbelievable! Zines & zine culture attract an awesome cross section of people, from writers, activists, artists, printmakers, designers – to people who just like to express their love for possums &/or owls!

Zine culture has always been something I have been interested in/involved in and it was a great experience to be able to promote my own passion for contemporary prints & printmaking in amongst it all. It was also a great opportunity also to promote the Northern Rivers Region in general, especially with the Northern Rivers Creatives Pop Up Shop just across the road! I gave out quite a few postcards promoting the new Northern Rivers Creatives website and directed people to check out the Rocks Pop Up Shop (which is still open for another 2 weeks, 125 George St, The Rocks, Sydney!)

I met some amazing creative people and had I been able to leave the table for a minute I might have had a chance to sample all their fine publications for you, as it was, I don’t think I stopped speaking to people for 5 hours straight (my voice only just returned!) Sales were reasonable, but what was really great was the amount of promotion we all got for our individual work/practices, so many business cards were given out and an info sheet on all our participating artists with zine info, bios and contact details…The only thing I do regret is not having more time to say hi to, and take more pictures of the other zinesters and their work on the day…however, what I can do is provide you with a list of all the amazing zinesters there on the day and encourage, no highly recommend, you go and seek out their work!

Ms Browns wants to say THANKS to everyone who dropped by our table, fellow participants and visitors who had a chat or bought some work, we hope you enjoy it – it was great to meet you, we’re particularly enamoured with the folk at Big Fag Press, you should check out their story here…lovers of print you need to know about these guys!!

Also a massive THANK YOU to all our Zine Fair participants, it was fantastic to have a strong contemporary art & printmaking table from such a great range of artists and your work was a big hit. The participating artists will all receive a zine folio of each others submissions, and these have already been packed up and are ready to be sent out ASAP! I will also be featuring each of their publications on the blog in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

A extra special thanks also goes to Curtis Peasley for getting us there and Tania Brandley-McKenzie of FIGJAM design studio for help on the table!

Check out the link below for a gallery of the day via Broadsheet Sydney…

MCA Zine Fair 2013 Stallholders

2. Swah

What inspires you? Around my neighbourhood and overseas, I am influenced by the cute, quirky, beautiful and weird things in my life. I love the creative freedom that zines and self-publishing provides us to share our ideas with the world.

3. Jennifer Jenner

What inspires you? I am brand new to zines and want to share my love of food with a new passionate audience. What do you like best about the world of zines? I love the honest style, limited run exclusivity, real feel and huge variety of ideas!

4. Alfalky

What inspires you? Loosely autobiographical, usually about awkward situations from life, influenced by the amusing honesty of Maira Kalman and Mike Mills. The best kind of zine is always… revealing, (almost embarrassingly) honest, and a bit wonky – clearly marked by human hands, and tells a story.

4. Anais LERA

What inspires you? Combinative architecture of typography, printmaking, drawing, and biology. Free expression of a common interest in geometry, biological pattern and variation. The best kind of zine is a beautiful and sensitive interaction between typography and drawing/illustration. A free experimental space. An original book creation.

 5. Spoonful, A Happiness Companion

What inspires you? A passion for vintage beauty and everyday enrichment! What do you like best about the world of zines? Oh gosh, I love their independence and therefore the diverse range of voices and styles you see coming from them.

6. Lee Tran Lam, John Valenzuela and Eloise Rapp

What inspires you? Lee Tran: Discovering that zines are a fun way to build your own viewfinder for the world. What do you like best about the world of zines? Jon: My favourite thing about the world of zines is when they are finished and the stress and panic stop.

7. Sweets Workshop

Our philosophy is always about making art accessible. Our zines have a strong focus on imagery; we want them to act as a visual story or pocket art gallery. What do you like best about the world of zines? Zines can be about anything and can be made from whatever you can get your hands on. They are a great form of expression and art on a small scale.

8. Burrows and Co.

What inspires you? Honesty, deception, subterfuge, subversiveness, trickery, simplicity. The best kind of zine always… changes the world, even if it’s just your own.

9. Zine Pool

What inspires you? Architecture, graphic design and pretty things.

10. Ben Juers and Bailey Sharp

What inspires you? Old-timey comics like Popeye, Krazy Kat and Little Lulu. The best kind of zine always… makes me jealous.

11. Bastian Fox Phelan and Licky la Grim

What inspires you? Rainicorn puppies. The best kind of zine always… heart.

11. Glades

What inspires you? Strong women, abandoned amusement parks, urban romanticism, King Ludwig II of Bavaria, young Jean Lee, clown collars, masks, love unrequited.

12. Pinhole Collective

What inspires you? Pinhole is about how we see the world uncensored. It’s the freedom to tell it like it is, without fear of judgement. It’s our perspective in print. What do you like best about the world of zines? We can express ourselves completely without the restrictions work places on creativity. Our biggest influences are people, famous, rich, poor, young and old. You can learn from everyone.

12. Owl Zine

What inspires you? Owls have fascinated humans from the dawn of time to today, and we explore why. I love how zines open a window into the heart of someone else in the world.

13. Kate Farquharson and Honey’s Dead.

What inspires you? ‘The Snapshot’, 35mm, grunge, live music, punk, goth, DIY, the word “badass” and loud guitars. Honey’s Dead. What do you like best about the world of zines? The humour, originality and punk attitude. The motivation of their creators to present a unique view of the world.

14. Students of Dulwich High School Of Visual Arts And Design – Raw Talent

Students at this school are encouraged to develop their expressive skills in order to communicate their individual ideas. Their Zines are highly original. What do you like best about the world of zines? The unpredictable nature of the content and form of Zines is fascinating. They are tactile and an antidote to digital communication.

15–16. Steve Carter and Antoinette Rydyr

What inspires you? Comics, Surrealist Art and Movies. What do you like best about the world of zines? Creative freedom of expression.

17. Astrogirlzarro

What inspires you? My obsession with pop culture icons combined with my love of star gazing. What do you love about the world of zines? The fact that zines are egalitarian – everyone is free to have a go.

18. Rachel Baez “Instant Dreams – a Polaroid Zine” and Marcelo Baez

I’m influenced by the philosophy in the ‘Spoonful’ zine with its attention to a central theme in each edition. What do you like best about the world of zines? It’s a platform for creative freedom to express words, imagery and your own style.

19. Richard Tipping – Artpoem & Thorny Devil Press and Chris Mansell – PressPress

What inspires you? Tipping: Sign language, speaking as a mixed message maker. Take the existing sign world, give it a twist to spark hidden layers. Mansell: Political philosophy! Taking production back into the hands of the poets. Unashamed handmade, low cost and rebellious. What do you like best about the world of zines? Tipping: The hand-made nothing-much style of some zines. The combination of image, words, design, flavour, surprise and integrity. Mansell: Quirky, individual, surprising, rough and smooth, sweet and sour, earthy and bizarre. They make us hungry to touch and read.

20. Ayano Takeuchi – “The Other Audrey”

What inspires you? My zine style influences are storyboards, manga/comic strips, animations and narratives that don’t quite fit into one category. What I like best about the world of zines is the fresh voices of diverse zine makers.

20. Dudley Redhead

The ‘why not?’ influences me. Quirky doesn’t need to be avoided. The best kind of zine always… gets a reaction. Draw, write, create an image. Stick, fold and share.

21. Canberra Zine Fair Distro

Canberra Zine Emporium (CZE) endeavours to spread the diversity of zine love that hibernates in Canberra beyond the borders to a national scale. In 2013 CZE has showcased comics, perzines, artzines and fanzines by Canberra practioners. We love the diversity that zines offer!

21. Claire Orrell

What inspires you? Animal symbology/ totems, and their role in our spiritual lives, are the main influence on my zines and other artwork. The best kind of zine always… inspires, delights and informs – a little artwork in itself.

22–23. Sticky Institute

We have stocked almost 10,000 individual zine titles since we opened in 2001. Each zine inspires us. The best kind of zine always… is honest. You can smell a lie in a zine from a thousand paces.

24–25. The Rizzeria

Our style revolves around the works created on our stencil press, which prints one wacky colour at a time. What do you like best about the world of zines? We like the camaraderie of being part a community of people telling their own stories and making their own culture.

26. Rachel Button

What inspires you? I make zines because they make me happy. I’m influenced by zines with a punk ethic and that show a real passion for music. What do you like best about the world of zines? I like the potential for limitless boundaries of expression… and meeting wonderful and talented and passionate people.

26. Humyara Mahbub

What inspires you? Perfect Stars, Kate Beaton, Sylvia Plath, E. M. Forster, Klimt, Schiele. I like line. What do you like best about the world of zines? I like the multitude of tiny voices. It’s a like quirky mouse choir.

27. The Heavy Collective

What inspires you? As a photography collective, we are influenced by the people we work with: street photographers, social documenters, any hard working artists pushing themselves and their artform. What do you like best about the world of zines? Freedom to create, what you want when you want. No editors, DIY or DIE.

28. Chris Mikul

What inspires you? Charles Fort, collector of anomalous phenomena, and Fred Woodworth, anarchist zine-publisher extraordinaire. The best kind of zine always… tells you interesting things in an imaginative way, in a format you have never seen before.

29. Bitch Please: trans women distro

What is your philosophy? To showcase the political and creative works of trans women. What do you like most about the world of zines? That it gives people the chance to express themselves without needing an art gallery behind them or a university degree.

30. Swap and Drop Table

Got a zine but no stall? Use this table to drop and swap your zine, and browse crowd-sourced zines from other Fair participants. The trust system applies.

31. Lilly Moorhouse

What inspires you? Turning cut-and-paste fragments of aesthetically pleasing imagery and meandering thoughts into an easy-to-read and relatable format. I like the lack of mind-numbing consumerist advertising – which forges an increased personal connection between the reader and the content.

31. Louella Pleffer

What inspires you?? Wabi-sabi, junk paper and the possum. The best kind of zine is the one you want to keep in your pocket and carry around all day.

32. Troy Mingram Comics

Who inspires you? Bob Clampett, Robert Crumb, Tex Avery, Dave Fleisher, Gilbert Shelton. What do you like best about the world of zines? Freedom.

33. Hand Games

What inspires you? Original fan zines of the 80s, and those who make room for musical thoughts and ideas less considered or represented. The best kind of zine always twists or thwarts your mind in a way that makes you want to tear paper down from walls; go crazy.

33. Lucy Meyle

What inspires you? Rhythm and pattern, floor tiles, minimalism, sex. What do you like best about the world of zines? I feel like I am never sure what a zine ‘should’ be. I find this very comforting.

34. The Thousands

Two Thousand is an online magazine about Sydney written by a motley band of locals for readers who like to get out and do things. How does an online magazine represent IRL at a zine fair? In paper and staples of course. We’ve put together a zine of submissions from a small selection of our local heroes, without whom Sydney would be really boring and Two Thousand would be the internet equivalent of rolling tumbleweeds and the sound of crickets. It’s called DAY OFF / OFF DAY and inside of it our heroes show us a small side of who they are when they’re *not* being the creative hellhound we know and love.

35. Pandeia and Kinds of Blue

What’s your zine style: Pandeia: sci-fi action adventure, set in Earth’s distant furture. Kinds of Blue: short comics on depression. What do you like most about the world of zines? It causes you to think in different ways and introduces you to new things to love.

36. Jinberry, Freya and Lucie Tea

What inspires you? We love pop surrealism, twisted stories, Harajuku girls, the world of “creepy-cute”, mythical beasts, lurking monsters and alternative fashion snapshots. Zines reveal the extraordinary from the ordinary. They challenge and inspire us with secret stories of cities, minds, and art.

37. Sophie Benjamin – I Am Very Busy & Important.

What inspires you? My work as a journalist, punk rock ethics and a lust for storytelling. The best kind of zine always has ideas and stories you wouldn’t find in any other medium.

37. Tamara Lazaroff

My zine philosophy is: 1. Anyone can make a zine. 2. There are no rules for zine-making (except the ones you set for yourself). 3. Everyone has stories to tell – whether based on experience or imagined – and they are all equally valid and interesting – to me. What do you like best about the world of zines? I love zines that explore experiences and points-of-view that you don’t hear a lot about in mainstream publishing. I also love zines as tactile objects – as opposed to reading things online.

38. Ms Browns Press

We are artists that enjoy making zines as an immediate and accessible way to promote and distribute our art. The best kind of is zine always… engaging, immediate, and offers a personal, social or cultural narrative. Zines speak from a grassroots space to a varied audience, and are affordable, gloriously creative, accessible publications.

39. Fayroze Lutta

What inspires you? My zines are my lived experience, an expression of my life in an ever increasingly compromised world. The best kind of zine is… personal, something revealing the human condition or an expose of the world. ‘Vivre la Revolution’.

40. Vanessa Berry and Simon Yates

What inspires you? Vanessa: Strange suburban sights and secrets I want to tell. Simon: Little known scraps of information and questions that Google can’t answer. What do you like best about the world of zines? Vanessa: They don’t have to conform to rules, they can be monumental or silly, or both at once.

41. Keg De Souza and Miss Helen

What inspires you? Keg: rubber stamps, pencils and the Rizzeria. Miss Helen: My Dad’s dedication to DIY and outsider art even though he doesn’t know its art in his odd repairs. What do you like best about the world of zines? Keg: trading and getting something incredible from the person who made it. Miss Helen: The best kind of zine has no idea about ‘design’ or ‘art’; It’s messy and honest and interesting and a bit cray cray.

42. Take Care Zines Distro

What inspires you? Everyone who still makes zines. What do you like best about the world of zines? What we like most about the world of zines is the feeling that we belong to a secret society.

43. Dexter Fletcher

What inspires you? A deep loathing of capitalism. An unshakeable belief that the world is not as it should be. Jarvis Cocker. The best kind of zine always… brings the revolution one day closer. Includes a picture of Jarvis Cocker.

43. Erin Fae – “Alphabet City”

What inspires you? Engagement with art of all mediums (especially printmaking), feminist leanings, being a zine librarian, gender and epistolary communication/mail art. What do you like best about the world of zines? Full artistic control and expression, the medium’s tactile and ephemeral nature and how zines are physically passed from creator to reader.

44. Big Fag Press

What do you like best about the world of zines? Independence, courage, variety, inventiveness, self-reliance, grass-root media.

45. Leigh Rigozzi

I’m mainly influenced by old comics and illustrations. I love a good story. The best zines are always the ones that aren’t quite ready in time for the zine fair.

46. Lachlan Conn

What inspires you? Phillip Guston, Gary Panter, Marc Bell, Richard McGuire, and others. What do you like best about the world of zines? Designing materials with the print outcome in mind.

47. Beef Knuckles

What do you like best about the world of zines? We enjoy people-watching during zine fairs and guessing what type of zines people will buy. Do you have greasy hair? A slight computer hunch? Like comics? Your knuckles drag? It’s likely you’ll pick up a copy of BEEF KNUCKLES. Beef Knuckles is a small zine full of comics and words. Step to us and you’re ass will get served.

48. Jin Hien Lau, James Jirat Patradoon and Chris Yee

Who or what influences your zine style and/or philosophy? I am mainly influenced by the underground comic movement starting from the 1960s like Robert Crumb and Daniel Clowes. What do you like best about the world of zines? You can’t youtube in China but you can probably still sell a zine (only in dark enough corners maybe).

49. Mechelle B

What inspires you? I am influenced by everyday life and the people I meet. Things that many may find mundane and strange, I find intriguing and inspiring. What do you like best about the world of zines? I love how personal Zines are; it’s an individual’s thoughts, opinions and experiences. They are fun, interesting, cute, ugly, informative, subjective and imperfect.

50. Jura Books and Mutiny Zine

What inspires you? Anarchism. Socialism. Liberty. Justice. Freedom. And other emotive words. The best kind of zine makes you keen for revolution, while reading on the toilet.

50. Dear Plastic

What inspires you? People, imagination and creativity. The best kind of zine always express simple glimpses of ideas.

51. Nicky Minus

What inspires you? I am influenced by funny stories in the news and cultural memes as I like to appropriate and make puns out of them. What do you like best about the world of zines? I like the diversity of them and the freedom you can have with your ideas as well as the easy and inexpensive method of production.

51. Rufus Trilby

What inspires you? Art history, popular culture, feminism, other writers, other artist, promoting local talent. The best kind of zine always… makes the most of the paper it’s printed on, creatively and practically. It engages, informs and encourages.

52. Zeera the Space Pirate

What inspires you? I think life is too serious, so I loosen it up with flippant space piracy comics. What do you like about the world of zines? A zine can be whatever you want it to be. It’s an amazing form of expression that’s accessible to everyone.

53. Ink Vineyard

What or who influences you? Robert Crumb, Punk Rock (1976-77), Rotring, Urban Australia, Sniffin’ glue. What do you like best about the world of zines? It’s about having an idea and making it physical.

54. Neil – Mr Edwards, Bob – Certain Certainty

What inspires you? We are influenced by the pop artists and Dadaists. What do you like best about the world of zines? You can do anything you like and get to meet Interesting passionate people.

55. Nicholas Beckett

What inspires you? All-independent publishing from the old masters like Blake and Goya, to current Zinesters and around the world. What do you like best about the world of zines? Zines allow me to print and publish anything without the input of greedy businesses and lawyers.

56. Pablo Says, Ryan Ling

What inspires you? Rihanna. What do you like best about the world of zines? Black and white, photocopied and stapled, words and pictures.

57. Burrow

What inspires you? Burrow is a zine about the role graffiti designer’s play in the real world and the differences that design can make. Design does not only have the capacity to beautify and simplify our lives, it has the power to impact and guide real change towards a future of sustainment. We love the accessible and low-key nature of the zine as well as its ability to transcend conventional publishing boundaries, rules and restrictions. The best kind of zine always surprises, pushes boundaries, offers an alternative vision and imaginative formatting of its content that is tactile and alive.

60. Pop Up Zine Trailer

After the successful crowd-funding campaign, the portable venue is officially being launched at the MCA Zine Fair. Take a seat. Make a zine.

59. Stuart Stratu

What inspires you? The idea that I can put anything in my zine that I like. Total freedom! What do you like best about the world of zines? The best kind of zine has an element of danger. They’re from the underground, the fringes.

59. Scott Wrigg

What inspires you? A delicious combination of Alt. Comix, Alt. Rock and the Sunday funnies. Served with a smile. What do you like best about the world of zines? The ability to self-publish, get the work out there and move on to the next idea quickly.

58. Sarah McNeil and Steven McNeil

What inspires you? Going outside, making notes, figuring out how to interact with people and environment. Also, Science! What do you like best about the world of zines? Zines can be an excellent tool for getting to know someone without having to say things out loud.