London Zine Symposium 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
At the London Zine Symposium art students and anarchists sit cheek by jowl, sometimes sharing an overloaded trestle table. It can be a somewhat uncomfortable relationship – I picked up one zine that featured a page that cited all the reasons why art students’ zines are inferior to ‘real’ zines: not least their tendency to flog a whole table of handcrafted goodies alongside.
I can see their point – zines began life as a way to express ideas that might not otherwise find an outlet, and have been adopted by artists as a way to showcase work with a view to commercial propagation. But that doesn’t stop me being a big advocate of up and coming artists’ zines – it’s a wonderfully cheap medium to showcase work when cost is a real issue for many artists and illustrators just starting out. Of course, if that work has something intelligent to say, then all the better, and who said that anarchism and artistry have to be mutually exclusive anyway? The London Zine Symposium proves that there is plenty of room for all comers – it’s become a great success because the sprawling DIY ethos of the zine network creates supportive communities.
It was extremely hot and claustrophobic in the Rag Factory this weekend, so I whisked through as quickly as I could and probably missed loads of great stuff. Here’s my pick of what I found at this year’s London Zine Symposium.
I’ve long been a fan of Jess Wilson, who has been featured multiple times in Amelia’s Magazine and in Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration. One of her side projects is Duke Press, and here’s a selection of what she had on offer: lovely stuff all of it.
At the back people were tackling their own Zine projects, and it looked like they were having a lot of fun with cut up newspapers and Pritt sticks.
Nobrow were there with a table full of brightly coloured products – not entirely sure how they fit into the London Zine Symposium, but I’ll always be seduced by their wares. I particularly liked the bright new postcards, which I suspect are Risograph products.
I bumped into former Amelia’s Magazine intern Amy Knight, who is now working as an arts writer in Brighton. Her particular group of interns vanished in a puff of smoke a few years ago and I’ve heard very little from them since, so it was nice to hear what she is up to now. Very proud!
Mark Pawson had pole position at the end, with his usual table full of fabulousness.
I was lured to Katie Green’s table by the nicely matching palette of pea greens and rustic browns… then we both realised that she too is an Amelia’s Magazine contributor, one that I haven’t met before. She produced a beautiful image for my Everything is Connected theme in issue 10, and since then has been busy producing her own zine, The Green Bean, an ode to all things creative and sustainable.
She’s also been working on an Arts Council funded graphic novel and recently spent some time on a retreat where there was nothing but sheep…. inspiring a gorgeous sketch book of her “woolly friends”. I was easily seduced into buying one of her lovely fimo bean broaches.
Hugh of Landfill Editions makes the most amazing publications on his Risograph machine. He kindly gave me a copy of Mould Map #1… which features the work of a whole host of new and up and coming illustrators, all wonderfully rendered in florid neon orange and purple. It includes the inimitable abstract work of former Amelia’s Magazine contributor Colin Henderson and I have been hankering after it for awhile. Thankyou Hugh!
I must say that when it comes to my own purchases I tend to gravitate towards the more radical story zines, and so with my last pound coin I bought a copy of Out of the City and Into the Trees, a written zine that spans six years of diary entries written whilst living in trees on protest sites. I look forward to reading it.
Check out our interview with London Zine Symposium organiser Edd Baldry. Enjoy the rest of my photos!
Amelia's Anthology of, Amy Knight, Anarchism, Art Students, Arts Council, Ay Knight, Bean, Colin Henderson, cupcakes, diy, Duke Press, Fimo, Heneage Street, Jess Wilson, Katie Green, Landfill Editions, London Zine Symposium, Mark Pawson, Mould Map #1, rag factory, Risograph, The Green Bean, zines
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