Feminist ZineFest 2018!

Hosted at the BEAUTIFUL Barnard College

Zines are arguably the most democratic form of publication and creative expression. Everyone can get their hands on a piece of paper and a pencil, which is all you need to make a 6-page zine. Because they are so cheap to make and reproduce, zines have often been used by marginalized communities such as LGBTQ folks and POC to express themselves and form a community.

When I heard there was a Feminist ZineFest going on this weekend I was immediately so excited to go. I hadn’t had a chance yet to explore what the scene was like here in NYC for zines- all the art/creative expression I have engaged with so far was in very Professional™ spaces like a museum or theater. The NYC Feminist ZineFest  was a great opportunity for me to branch out and not only explore a medium I love to explore but also get to support some amazing local artists!

The table set up for Barnard College’s Zine Club

It was great to see so many zines, stickers, and pins all about important issues like queer identity, dealing with racism and sexism, and women’s reproductive rights. The community around all of the zinesters was so magical – everyone was extremely friendly and happy to talk to me about their work, their process, and how to stay inspired when the world feels so exhausting.

As you can imagine, there was a lot of political works that really blew me away, but actually found myself more drawn to the personal and literary zines today. I ended up walking away with WAY more than I expected to! In total I got 4 zines, a card, and an enamel pin.

My four new babies!
The first one I got was “The Wretched Ones” by Tiffany Babb, which is a collection of poetry written from the perspectives of different characters from Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables”. I LOVE Hugo, and although I’ve never actually finished reading Les Mis, I had a great conversation with her about the book and what a weird guy Hugo was. 

 The second and third ones I got were both from the Barnard College’s Zine club. They pick a different theme each semester and use that to focus the work they make for that edition. I got the “Growing Up” and “Road Trip” editions. They’re much more traditional zines in that they’re black and white and use a lot of photocopying as a style and just for the ease of mass producing them on a college-club budget.
The fourth and final one I bought is “Safe” by Anna Sellheim. I was talking to her a lot at her table because I love her illustration style, and as I was flipping through it I got a serious case of deja-vu. I asked her if she sells her zines in local bookstores because I had definitely seen this work before! Turns out she had posted it as a web comic on tumblr a while back and it had gone viral. I loved it so much when I first read it, so naturally I had to buy the physical version.

All in all, not a bad haul for an event I only heard of the day before! I also got to explore more of the upper west side which I NEVER go to, just because it’s pretty out of the way for me. All the buildings there are these beautiful, old brick structures that I couldn’t stop looking up at. It’s so quiet up there, it actually reminded me of parts of Brooklyn. Does anyone have recommendations on things to do in that neighborhood? I’d love to spend more time up there. Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

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