Fill your tote bag up with zines, local artistry, and community spirit this weekend
On the hunt for an exciting and groovy way to spend your weekend the first week back to class? The Auckland Zinefest is hosting their highly-anticipated Zine Market on the 23 and 24 July, at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki!
This market weekend will showcase the work of over 80 zine-makers and artists from across Aotearoa New Zealand. Their zines utilise a wide variety of art forms, including photography, poetry, illustrations, and comics. To top it all off, entry into the market is free, making this the perfect event for the student budget. However, to purchase zines directly from the stallholders, attendees are recommended to bring cash, and a bag to carry their goodies home.
Hold up… what’s a zine? For those who aren’t familiar with zines, they’re a form of self-published and handmade print media, usually with limited amounts of copies available for circulation. While zines come in various sizes and shapes, the pamphlet or booklet format is pretty common. To bring their messages to life, many zine-makers experiment with collaging and drawing, or even digital methods like Photoshop and Illustrator. Expression and creativity is at the heart of the zine, which is why its pages can be filled with anything, ranging from stories, jokes, or even manifestos.
Internationally and locally, zines have historically been an instrumental tool for the representation and dissemination of marginalised voices. What initially began as a medium for sci-fi enthusiasts to share their interests, an early form of stan Twitter if you will, the zine has gradually evolved to become a mobilising tool for many social movements, including Third-wave Feminism, Queercore, and Riot Grrrl.
As both a process and a creative medium, zines have and continue to subvert and challenge dominant ideologies through the sharing of lived experiences and ideas. They’re makers, preservers, and propagators of history and culture, particularly at a local level where this information might otherwise be lost. To check out zines from the past, Auckland Libraries has more than 1000 local and international zines available for browsing or borrowing.
Zine culture in Aotearoa is also a cornerstone of our grassroots art scene. Attracting various communities, the zine community is an accepting, supportive, and open space for people from all different backgrounds to interact and share their knowledge and experiences. The Auckland Zinefest plays a crucial role in building this community, which they have achieved by running free events and workshops such as Speed Zining and the 24-Hour Zine Making Challenge. The non-profit festival is powered by a committee of 21 people, who volunteer their time to support and further its kaupapa.
For students, zine culture provides a safe and creative space to express their ideas and build a community with like-minded people.
Gabbie, our Visual Arts Editor, who is also a zine-maker and creative, says that “zines are the catalyst to how I approach art! They’re perfect because they’re the fine line between personal, handmade artistry and commercial, mass-produced kind of art! It’s great that the culture is growing, because it’s a more published form of a diary, and it never hurts to journal. It exemplifies instrumentalism and expressionist art ideals, which is so important, especially for the Gen-Z generation!”
Annie, President of the AUT Zine Club and maker of things, says that “creating zines helps me externalise my inner world so that others can hopefully relate. Zines provide a simple format yet can be niche, vulnerable, and intimate. They move people in unexpected ways”.
Yasmin, a stall-holder at this year’s Zinefest and BDes/BA student artist, says that “zines, to me, are all about creative expression. It’s a fun way to tell your own story in a medium that’s accessible, and that fosters a sense of community”.
Kiki, an ELAM graduate, artist, and stall-holder at this year’s Zine market, feels that “Zine culture is an incredible way for artists to express their thoughts in a free and affordable way. It is so simple to make a zine, but there is so much possibility in what materials to put in, whether it’s stickers, scrap paper, dye, drawings, paintings; essentially an art free for all in a little book”.
The Auckland Zinefest is not just a zine event. It’s the product of many of our fellow students’ and local communities’ hard-work, artistry, activism, and lived experiences. For those interested in experiencing zine culture first hand, the market weekend is the perfect opportunity to get your hands on some zines, meet other enthusiasts, as well as support the zine-making creative community of Aotearoa.
To learn more about Auckland Zinefest, head to their website https://www.aucklandzinefest.com/. Alternatively, you can follow their Instagram @aucklandzinefest and Facebook to stay up-to-date with the latest event announcements.
Photo provided by Auckland Zinefest