The Wonderful and Frustrating Festival of the Photocopier
It was my second time around this year as a stall holder at Sticky Institutes' Festival of the Photocopier. I had my trusty sidekick Dayna on hand for moral support and so I could buy twin peaks fan zines without abandoning my stall. The struggle is real.
We had a great day and I'm constantly so grateful for the tremendous work that all the people from Sticky put into the event every year. Zines - as I've said before - have been a creative lifesaver for me over the past few years. They've gotten me making and collaborating again and gotten me to be more confident in putting my work out there and for that I am incredibly indebted.
What I'm not so pleased with is the amount of people who are clearly taking advantage of this free event. For a zine fair, being hosted by a non-profit zine space, in the middle of their festival of zines there sure was a lot of stuff being sold that wasn't folded pieces of paper bound with staples. There was posters and keychains and wrapping paper and all sorts of stuff that while gorgeous and creative was clearly not A ZINE.
I don't want to name names but there are a number of larger artists who I thought were completely disrespectful of this event and the fabulous work that the Sticky Institute does. Taking up full tables and sometimes more (when it was clear that this year we'd be given half tables to accomodate the growth from last year), selling everything but zines and in a few personal instances being incredibly rude and unwelcoming to newbies on the scene. I can tell you that while my first year in 2017 was fabulous on the Sticky Institute end of things - friendly, inviting and warm - the reception of zine makers who'd been doing it for a while was cold. I'm not saying we all need to be best friends but a bit of warmth and a welcoming spirit is not a hard thing to achieve.
All in all - I love zines. I love zine fairs. I LOVE Sticky Institute. And because of this I think we can do better to be respectful of this wonderful community. Again - I'm new to the zine scene so perhaps I'm being to harsh. But it's because I love it so much that I know it can be better.