I make zines.
They’re not just about me presenting ‘my identity’ or ‘what I think’, though they did start that way.
My early zines were me re-writing my scripts about what I thought of fashion magazines, featuring bunches of people who, I felt, were irrelevant to me and my life because they weren’t showing people like me and they didn’t seem interested in trying. Back then, that was the case. Now there are some big companies using AI to ‘diversify’ their models, which is weird, but that’s a different animal.
EARLY ZINING. I think in 2012, I wanted to talk about blatant consumerism and conspicuous-to-some-but-not-all-of-us exclusion. So I made a lot of zines with sharpies and collage and just cut and paste and shared them. I didn’t really mass-produce things but I made about 12 printy-printy ones for a show, Today I Love You, at the then-still-in-existence Carrack Modern Art in Durham, NC.
They closed that space, I understand, because only some people, people who could afford to take the time to make art that mightn’t sell for a show that may not find audience could actually take part in making their art to show there. This was me, because I had the good fortune of having clients for Design Kompany alongside the art practice of zining.
- Atelier S P A C E is zining in Phnom Penh for Spring 2023, ‘Lands on the Moon’
Way back in 2012, I was also part of a group show, People You May Know, at the Durham Arts Council curated by Barclay McConnell. There, a sharpie artwork piece with Pauli Murray as the subject was purchased by the Pauli Murray Project representative, which was cool.
FIRST PROFESSIONAL REVIEW. In the same time period, I got to be reviewed by Lori Waxman, an art critic doing a traveling show for critiquing lesser-heard-of artists at the Durham Arts Council, which was also quite cool. That review is at my personal site, on this page. (I’ve been updating it, with snippets of what people have said about me over the years, and how they felt when participating in my projects. This was really nice to see in a set because it helped me understand what my personal projects meant for the clients I designed things for here at Design Kompany.)
At the reviews page of my site, I collated some of what people said about their time at my conversation parties, mini-parties, workshops, and other ad hoc projects to get people talking. Together.
Meaningfully, not superficially.
A DECADE OF PLAY. Continuing, I kept making. I kept collaging, and I kept writing. I made books at Kismuth and got off DK blogging and quit twitter and stopped Tumbling and didn’t get a phone and made stuff, instead.
Other stuff. Like books and stories and photos and conversation installations. And: friendships. That is important, too.
Practicing creativity, making space for doing
What did I learn so far, from S P A C E-making? So much.
In a nutshell, how to do it. As in, actually. How to talk to people, include, invite, draw out, connect with, and shape a story together isn’t something you can do in an afternoon just because you feel like it.
It was such a big dream of mine to run my own magazine. I worked in newspapers for a time to learn the ropes for journalism, publishing.
But. I saw it. That the things I wanted to make wouldn’t fit into the prescribed molds. I wanted to write what I saw, share what I learned, discover and put together collections that documented more than what someone somewhere decides is ‘worth’ putting into books, magazines, newspapers, and on blogs. Artifacts of human connection: that was what I began to realize, through conversations with some who made it clear to me what it was for them, that I was making.
In sum, I make the spaces and record the highlights. In S P A C E, the e-mag, and the real life conversation spaces of Atelier S P A C E. Some people opt-in to read or co-create. That’s my audience. And that’s it.
The mainstream isn’t for me.
Being real, is.
WHAT I LEARNED. I learned from S P A C E projects the art of the moment, winging it and changing courses when you feel the flow changing. Going with it. Encouraging people. Finding the best in each participant’s sharing, and giving them time and specific assignments to encourage them to see it within themselves, refine, and outline their own ideas in ways that connect better with their own values. It sounds like a lot, and it was a lot.
But I was ready to do it. To learn.
S P A C E | Spring 2023, ‘Lands on the Moon’
#spacethezine continues to try new things, in its own ways. I enjoy leading small design-oriented circles for creating and co-creating.
Maybe S P A C E works for me because I can see the progressions. I can see the 190 issues, and counting. It’s a weekly, after all. I can share them, at times, when I feel like sharing, with the people who want to read.
I’m listening, looking, learning, and connecting. Quietly. Interested in taking part?
NEXT SERIES. Updates and info, are at the crowdfunding page for S P A C E.
Here is a link.