Some are artists, some are writers, others identify as photographers, poets, historians-even musicians or jocks, but one thing they’ve all got in common is their need to stretch their disciplines or interests beyond their limits into other creative realms.
And to this purpose, they carry with them the “do it yourself” attitude, or DIY, essential to the medium through which they strive to accomplish this end. The zine.
Zine culture has arrived at El Camino College with the newly formed EC Zine Club and for those curious minds, the club’s bi-weekly meetings are open for anyone to come and learn about a craft that has sometimes been traced back to the pamphleteer days of the U.S. Revolution.
“It’s a great way for people to see that zine culture exists and is here…with people from different backgrounds making zines,” President of the EC Zine Club Jenebrith Pastran said. ” [They range] from many different things but it’s such a rich subculture that’s really fun and interesting and inclusive.”
Ziba Zehdar, a Los Angeles Public Library zinester and librarian who helped establish a zine section across several L.A. city libraries defined zines as any self-printed material-like pamphlets-filled with the underground, non-mainstream voices that some people trace back to the revolutionary days in the U.S.
“I think as long as printed materials have existed, zines have existed, but maybe they weren’t given that name then,” Zedhar said. “It’s a different form of publication. Instead of having books, graphic novels or comic books, it’s something different and acceptable for any age.”
She added that if you like anything then you’ll enjoy making zines because you can put anything you like into them. Or, if “you’re a comedian you can make a joke zine or a cooking zine if you’re a cook, etc.,” Noemi said.
For members of the club, like vice-president Aureeyahn Edmundson, 20, African American studies major, making sure things run smoothly and seeing their collective efforts come to fruition with their first issue “Gazes” has proven to be a very gratifying experience.
“The main theme [for this issue] is women’s empowerment…what it means to us, what they mean to society, and how we can use our creative means to express our thoughts and opinions about women,” Edmundson said. “Whether it’d be family, celebrities, or whatever female figure(s) mean in our lives.”
About 12 members contributed to the club’s first zine publication, some of whom up until joining had never crafted a zine before, but they are now looking forward to seeing what other themes their creative efforts will lead them to.
For Jackie Robinson,19, arts major and the treasurer of the club, her search to express herself through poetry and the visual arts, as well as her desire to collaborate with others ended when she first joined the club this semester.
“I came here as soon as we wanted to get it started, and I’ve been there since, I wanted to have a media through which I could express my art forms,” Robinson said.
The zine club also participates in fundraising activities like the occasional pop-up thrift store they set up along the library lawn at EC. The money they raise goes into purchasing supplies and planning field trips.
This year the club is looking forward to attending and participating in the 8th annual L.A. Zine Fest where they will get a chance to put on display not only the club’s first issue but their solo zine projects too.
The L.A. Zine Fest is an annual event in which hundreds gather under one roof and even more show up to purchase zines, sit in on workshops, or simply to get inspired. This year 200 zinesters are expected to have tables showcasing their works.
Daisy Noemi, L.A. Zine Fest’s Co-Organizer explained that among the fest’s purpose is the interest in providing a platform “where artists and creators from different backgrounds can meet.”
More specifically, Noemi said, the fest has set out to help heighten the voices of those typically marginalized by today’s mainstream media like people of color, women, the transgendered, and non-binaries, where narrative plays a crucial role.
“What’s really important is to have control of your narrative instead of having someone else share their narrative of you,” Noemi said. “And one of the ways we can do that is by creating zines or artwork that can be shared in this way.”
For Taylor Barbur, 20, a communications major, and zine club member, who identifies as a writer, EC holds a special place in her heart but found that it was lacking at times in providing outlets for creativity until she heard of the zine club on campus and joined.
“When I found zine club seeing how open and accepting it was, this really bright dynamic space with people being so positive and creativity seeping from them,” Barbur said. “was inspiring for me and it’s helped me to continue to pursue what I really love and what I’m passionate about.”
Anyone interested can attend the club’s meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Art Building room Art B217.