Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Artists Books (and zines) now

Last night I took part in the first of the Artists' Books Now programme at the British Library

Programme in the form of a concertina artists' book produced for the event.
Assembled by Egidija Čiricaitė and George Cullen




I felt like I was infiltrating as I don't make artists' books. By day I'm art librarian and work with special collections and artists' books. But I was there as a zinester and was there to show a different side of self-publishing and the arts I guess. Honestly when I was asked to take part I thought maybe there had been a mistake because I can't stress this enough - I don't make artists' books.







But it was a great event and it was really lovely to take part. I was in conversation with the wonderful Eleanore Vonne Brown from X Marks the Bökship as part of a table display with artist Lydia Julien.


Photo by Melanie Grant





I talked about my Me and Bruce zine series because I figured if I got nervous then I could at least talk about why Bruce Springsteen is the hot butch lesbian of my dreams for 20 minutes. I talked about my reasons for making zines and noted that in 20 years of zine making my reason for making zines has always been the same - to find my community. To find my people. To feel connected.







I talked about differences between fanzines and perzines and how they aren't actually that different really, I talked about my inability to write anything personal which is why I frame my perzines through the lens of Springsteen or use diy comics instead. And I talked about the power of self-publishing zines, working very quickly and cheaply to create something meaningful.






It was a great event and I got to hear some wonderful talks by artists I really like even though I did feel like an imposter in the room. A very welomed imposter though as everyone was very lovely and conversations around self-publishing all felt very relevant.




I didn't feel able to answer any of the questions in the q+a at the end as this was very much artists' books focused. But I did find the question from Clive Phillpot funny, who asked if artists' books should really just be called visual books. Because debating the terminology and visual nature of artists' books feels hilarious to me and also unhelpful as the only zinester. I was just very relieved that I didn't have to spend my talk discussing and defining zines in relation to artists' books which I often find myself having to do in a professional capacity. It was refreshing to be able to talk about my work without having to justify it or define my chosen terminology while never once pretending that I made artists' books. 




And if you really want to know my thoughts on defining zines in relation to artists' books and other self published works then you can read my short essay The Economy of Zines.


Queers on the edge of town

I made this trailer in Feb to show how I made my latest zine Me and Bruce: Queers on the Edge of Town. To show how easy it is and how you can make somethings super meaningful with no artistic or technical skills.

Except youtube had a bug back then and my video never appeared. So here it is 2 months later, promoting a zine that's now already out (and sold out!)


Thursday, 19 April 2018

Zines in the British Library

In a ridiculous turn of events I'm giving a talk at the British Library next week as part of Artists' Books Here and Now programme.





I'll be talking about my work with Eleanor von Browne and Lydia Julien, and chatting about self-publishing, the economy of zines, and fandoms. 



I hope the good people of the British Library are ready for a 20 minute chat about why Just 17 was the most radical media to inspire my practice followed by powerpoint presentation on imagining Bruce Springsteen as the butch lesbian of my dreams.


Thursday, 5 April 2018

Barbican Art Box launch

Last week we celebrated the launch of the Barbican Art Box zine anthology and look how good they look!



The zine anthology is the culmination of a nearly year long project with the Barbican's creative learning team. I worked with artists Paula Varjack, Åbäke, and Rhiannon Adam across 6 East London schools in response to the Barbican's Basquiat exhibition.

Participants learned about Basquiat, zines, and diy culture before making new work with artists relating to graffiti, text, and polaroid photography. The work was then pulled together into a series of zines, each zine representing the work of each school.

It's been such a wonderful experience and the launch last week was incredible. Some of the young participants gave presentations, talking about the influence of Basquiat and diy culture in their work and the things they had learned. The idea of public speaking as a teenager would have been horrifying to me, but these students are more brave and energetic than my teenage self ever was and it blew me away.

The personalities of each school really shine through in these zines and they feel so personal and explore some really interesting work. The final zine anthology is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the students created throughout the project. It felt like we could have easily made an individual anthology for each student at least! 

Finding out that some of the students have continued to make zines after the project had finished, swapping and sharing their work with their friends and classmates is amazing to me and I'm always so excited when people realise just how ridiculously easy it can be to self publish and share work and ideas. I can't wait to see what they do next.

Images from the zine anthology are now on display at the Barbican in the cinema cafe
Photo by Paula Varjack

Photo by Paula Varjack



Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Beromondzines

This Saturday I'll be tabling at my first zine fair of the year at Bermondzines at Diy Space for London

Poster by Tobia Maschio

The zine fair runs from 12 - 7pm and is followed the launch of Twinken Park's new tape Flowers in the evening.

I might be a bit biased by Flowers is already the greatest queer rage record of 2018. The title track is about David Wojnarowicz and the lyrics punch me in the gut everytime. They are on tour at the moment, but come for the zine fest on Saturday and stay for queer trans punk rage.




Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Women in Focus festival

I'm hosting a free zine making workshop at Poplar Union as part of the Women in Focus festival this Saturday 10th March.



We'll be making zines dedicated to our favourite women heroes, artists, activists, and fictional characters. It's free to attend and all materials are provided. There's also a bunch of really fun workshops and performances throughout the weekend for you to attend too.

I also learned that if I ever do pursue a career as a wwe wrestler that I will never be able to cut a decent promo if my excruciating discomfort filming this is anything to go by:


Thursday, 1 March 2018

Queers on the edge of town


It's finally here, Me and Bruce #4 : Queers on the Edge of Town is out now!
Me and Bruce 4 photo 4 Me and bruce_zpsq1qljw4f.gif



Queers on the Edge of Town is the latest installment of my Me and Bruce zine series, chronicling my long life obsession with Bruce Springsteen.




Queers on the edge of town is a queer look at Springsteen, describing how weird it can be breaking out of the queer bubble to attend a Springsteen show as well as exploring gay teenage loneliness through Springsteen lyrics. The zine also imagines Bruce as the hot butch girl of my dreams, but most importantly documents the history of Bruce and Clarence Clemons making out.

Originally this zine started life as draft version of my chapter in the book Bruce Springsteen and Popular Music which came out last year. The zine is way longer than the original chapter and goes into more detail, as well as including a 6 page comic set to the lyrics of Backstreets, and lots of other copyrighted lyrics and images which wouldn't have fit in my book chapter. 

You can also get a special edition of the zine which comes with a 4 postcard set and pull-out poster of Bruce and Clarence making out. 


You can find the rest of my Me and Bruce zine series in my zine shop, or come find me at Glasgow Zine Fest in April.