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  • Guest Writer

Z.I.Y—Zine It Yourself

At VUW, there is a club that is possibly queerer than UniQ. The vast majority of Zine Club are queer and neurodivergent, and they gather on Tuesdays to cut up magazines, doodle, and glue stuff onto zines. 


'What is a zine?' is a question for the ages. There is no clear answer, but a simple one could be 'a self published work that is easily reproduced'. Basically, anything that can be put onto paper can be a zine, and even better—anyone can make a zine. It's easily one of the most accessible art forms. 


Having only just started in Tri 2 of 2023, Zine Club is, at its core, a social club with art supplies. Founder Robin Wolf (they/them, AuDHD) an avid zine maker and artist, actually started the club to get rid of their hoard of magazines and withdrawn books. 


Robin has been doing art since they could pick up a pen and got into doing zines in 2016. From then, they helped out with Wellington Zinefest for three years, and haven't stopped making zines—mostly taking text out of context, and making new content via blackout poetry. They also make zines and comics about their neurodivergence and queerness, themes that resonate with other members of the zine club. 



Why make zines? 


* to share information and art in a non mainstream way 

* they’re cheap, easy to make, and accessible 

* if you can put it on paper, you can put it in a zine 

* they’re easily distributable 

* they’re sellable, tradeable, collectable 

* they can get you a taste of publishing/weird job opportunities 



A Short History of Zines 


* Dada: Literary and Artistic Review: An avant-garde magazine published in 8 issues between July 1917 and September 1921, first in Zürich (issues one-four/five) and later in Paris (issues six-eight). The magazine was edited by Tristan Tzara; issue three three (1918) features his Dada manifesto, in which he declares: "dada means nothing". 


* Spockanalia:  A Star Trek fan zine, which ended up in Gene Roddenberry’s hands; he proclaimed it required reading, as a way to understand what the fans wanted from the show. Spockanalia also provided a safe space for women in fandom to discuss gender stereotypes in media. 

* Dungeons and Dragons, by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson: First published in 1974, the first edition of D&D was technically a zine! 


* Punk Zines: About sharing ads for bands and venues before the internet, extending word of mouth, and helping form communities.


* The Riot Grrl: A movement which brought third-wave feminism and DIY culture to zines. The zines were a good way of distributing information that opposed mainstream culture, sexism and stereotypes in the media; they discussed sexuality and feminism. 


What Makes a Zine Radical? 


* Cheap distribution 

* Keeping your zines anti-copyright 

* Facilitating a collaborative zine to get a lot of voices heard. 

* Making zines as a response to a political event (which can also be cathartic). 


Why I Love Zine Club


Zine Club is a stunningly inclusive, creative, and fun club. We get together once a week to hang out, listen to some banger beats, and make zines! 


Anyone can make a zine. You don’t have to be good at art—you just need the will to give it a go! Seasoned Zine makers and complete beginners frequent our club, anyone is welcome! 


My experience at Zine Club has been fantastic. I joined last year when it started. It was a fantastic place to relax, be social if I wanted, or just quietly work on my own thing if that’s what I was feeling. It was lovely to have something fun and creative to do where I didn’t need to think about school things. There was no pressure to make something fantastic or perfect. 


I tried out several clubs in my first couple years at uni, and Zine Club is the only one that stuck. Now I am helping run it(!), which has been super fun. 


I have loved making art all my life, but I didn’t know what a zine was until last year. I was introduced to them in Dylan Horrocks’s Visual Narrative course, and I’ve been hooked ever since! There is such a cool community of creative, interesting people who are into zines. Zine people feel like my kind of people! 

- Elias BatachEl (they/he) 



My Experience With Zines 


I only started getting into zine last year, after joining the VUW Zine Club, and it is a fantastic medium! As a digital artist, I’ve not done heaps of work in traditional mediums, and this can become a habit. Zines help me get back into doing things by hand and getting away from my screen, which I appreciate when my days revolve around doing work on my laptop! Zines allow me to just get messy with my creative output and go with the flow. It’s also really nice to see an active zine community in Wellington as well, especially when everyone comes together at Zinefest! I encourage anyone who’s doing any kind of creative work to try to make a zine, if they can! -Alex Pham (he/they)



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