My Sydney Zine Fair Tour!
All through design school and the years that followed I attended zine fairs. I grew fond of the upstart, makeshift nature of the small books and their eccentric makers. After each fair I would say “I could do that!” but the next year came and I would be back at the same fair, saying the same thing and buying the same borek. (If you don’t know about this borek place then GET ON IT.) I didn’t have a lot of faith in my work through uni, and I had been feeling quite lost in the years afterwards. I wasn’t confident enough to apply for jobs straight out of uni, but a I had, and continue to have, a hunger to make things. I decided that I would make this year a ‘doing’ year. What a thought! It would start with a single zine full of collage.
I debuted at the Festival of the Photocopier in Melbourne under the name Scissors Glue Paper. The response was interested and supportive from the attendees and I felt really proud to have finally done it. And I even got a borek to celebrate! (So should you next time you’re in the mood.)
So when I saw the opportunity for the zine fair at the MCA in Sydney I put my name in the ring - it had an application process! This was the big time! I got in and the work begun. There was lots of procrastinating and not a lot of making over the following months but it came together in the end and I was satisfied with the three new zines I’d produced. This was a big step for me and something I need to keep learning: the best way to feel good about your work is to keep making it. Spurred on by my making success, I looked for things to do in Sydney while I was staying there and stumbled across two other zine fairs in the same week - it was destiny. I ended up doing all three.
The MCA fair was set in the their Foundation Hall on Circular Quay and my goodness was it grand and busy. Apparently there were thousands of attendees, at least thats what it felt like. I ended up sharing a table with the lovely ladies from Munday Zine, they're from Melbourne and deliver that feminist aesthetic in spades. If you're in the mood check out their Pavlovaries Tee – it's just too fabulous.
I was really honoured to have my work bought by a representative from the State Library of Victoria for an exhibition they are having in August - stay tuned for more. I definitely deserved my Dominos-eaten-in-the-hotel-room-watching-Seinfeld that night.
I must admit I was worried about the next fair. I had given up a day that I could have spent with my lovely friend who came to visit me. So I was ready to be let down by it and curse it to her that evening.
I put the address of Bradfield Senior College in trusty (Read: terrible and not reliable but keeping my sponsorship options open) Apple Maps, it suggested a 45 minute bus trip. I’m a Melbourne boy so the thought of getting a bus for longer than 5 minutes was daunting, but I made the trek out to St. Leonards and boy was it worth it! I was situated in the sun (a blessing and a curse) and next to two cool millennial queers who were so socialist they would answer the question of “how much?” with “$20..is that ok?” It was gorgeous and excruciating in the most beautiful way.
The opposite end of the week from MCA saw me at an event that was built around protesting MCA’s dubious sponsorship arrangement. It was an interesting counterpoint to end the week on, the event definitely felt more independent and included more punk and indie producers and makers. I was located next to one on the stage in Marrickville town hall and it was quite the contrast - my colourful collages next to their death-metal-serial-killer aesthetic.
The three fairs could not have been more different and the makers housed within were all in a state of contrast with each other. In my opinion that’s kind of the point and strength of this community. It’s diversity of ideas and it’s members commitment to their aesthetic gives these events a vibrancy that’s missed in a trend driven design environment. There are alternative ideas bubbling to the surface at these events, ideas and design objects that deserve to be seen and supported.
My whirlwind Sydney zine fair tour was over and it ended as it begun, anxiously eating a McDonald's sundae in the domestic departures lounge and worrying about whether my work is good enough.