Friday, 8 December 2017

Making zines at the Barbican

Earlier this year I started work on super exciting zine project with the Barbican's creative learning team, collaborating with artists Paula Varjack, Rhiannon Adam, and Maki Suzuki on the 2017 Barbican Art Box project.

The Barbican Art Box is an annual project where artists are partnered with young people via the Barbican and provided with a box of materials and ideas culminating in a final piece of work. This years Barbican Art Box is in response to the Barbican's recent Basquiat exhibition and sees schools taking the idea of Basquiat and his work to create art pieces and creating a final zine at the end.

We are now at the halfway point in the project and I just delivered my final workshop of the year and I'm so excited to see what zines we can all make!


The creative learning team's teacher resource zine 

We started out by meeting the teachers from each school, introducing them to the exhibition and the three artists involved, and looking at ways to interpret some of the items inside the box. I then gave an intro to zines and zine making, exploring different types of zines from art zines, perzines, political zines, fanzines, and getting stuck in and making zines with teachers and artists. Other Barbican box projects have culminated in much more 'proper' publications like slick photobooks and I wanted to get everyone used to the idea that zines are shoddy looking, full of collage, cut and paste, using diy tools and ideas. It was a fun afternoon of zine making!


Some of the zines made during the teacher CPD day


Then we started introducing groups from each school to the project. Each school came to visit the Barbican and had an amazing tour of the exhibition. I then gave an intro to zines, drawing comparisons between fanzines and tumblrs, perzines and instagram, and getting everyone to think about diy self-publishing in relation to Basquiat. 
I brought in zines from home and asked everyone to pick a zine and summarise: What is the zine about? Why did someone make this? And how did they make this?


Some of the zines we looked at in the workshops


We then did some zine making, with each group making their own mini zines. These could be fanzines about their favourite things, or perzines about their lives, or art zines featuring original collages and art work, all inspired by Basquiat in some way.

We split each group in two so that while one group looked round the exhibition the other group were learning about and making zines with me, then we'd switch. It was interesting to see the differences between both groups. The first group who hadn't yet seen the exhibition nearly always wanted to try and replicate the zines we'd looked at as examples of zine aesthetics, and the second group who had come directly from viewing the exhibition seemed to be more in tune with Basquiat's style, dropping in symbols, graffiti, drawings of crowns, and text as part of their zines.







In the last 3 months I've run the same Basquiat inspired zine making workshop at total of 15 times and each time has been completely different. Everyone has their own take on zines: some are very personal and raw, some are just about cats, and some have been directly inspired by Basquiat and his art. In the 15 workshops there have been 8 football zines, 4 slime zines, 4 makeup zines, an Ed Sheeran zine, and at least 2 zine have made me cry.


Collage workshops with The Garden School


Rhiannon, Maki, and Paul have started visiting the schools to get started on some amazing making, and I can't wait to see what each school comes up with. I'll be back to do more visits with them at the end of January and through February to pull together their art works into a collaborative zine, as well as creating some smaller mini zines. The final zines will then be launched in March and everyone will get to see what each school has been up to.

And that's why I haven't made a zine of my own in a while.

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