A germ of an idea which led to creativity and adventure.
A zine (/ziːn/ ZEEN; short for magazine or fanzine) is a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via photocopier.
What inspired us to make a zine?
I was familiar with zines from being in the punk rock scene in my youth. My friends made and circulated them and I designed a few in my university days. I hadn't thought much about them since but was inspired to get back into it after attending a few local zine fairs.
I'd been searching for a compelling reason to publish my own zine. Upon meeting some interstate zinesters tabling at the 2018 'Other Worlds Zine Fair', I had an epiphany. I would table my first zine fair interstate. By incorporating a fun road trip element to the experience, it would make my first foray in the market less daunting.
Creativity is contagious
Ellie Lee, wife of Mind Methods Creative Director Nathan was instrumental on the zine journey with her support and encouragement. Producing zines for herself and friends for over a decade, she promised to match my output if we challenged each other with zine themes. We formed a zine club dubbed 'Ms Match Press', Ellie enlisting her colleague YY into our merry band.
Flanked by the genuine enthusiasm of Nathan and Ellie, I had external motivation to keep me going. I'd set the intention to complete a zine by year's end. Despite officially starting the zine-making process in November, I'd been orienting myself towards it all year by immersing myself in the culture and declaring my intention on social media. Socialising the goal was invaluable as creating an expectation made me accountable. Once I began, within the space of a week I completed two zines and signed up for a table at a Melbourne zine fair.
Inspiration to inception
With a festival date to aim for, I spent my spare hours in the studio crafting my zines. With passion projects you often become intimate with the images you work with. I'd spent the final two months of 2018 staring at photographs of passionate basketball fans around the world. As the fireworks exploded to celebrate the New Year, I had a flash of inspiration. I would enter the pages of my zine by visiting North Carolina and experiencing the colour for myself.
I'd immersed myself into this project and my inspiration was taking me on the road again.
“I had a flash of inspiration... taking me on the road again.”
Tabling at our first zine fair interstate
‘The Festival of the Photocopier’ is the largest zine fair in Australia. Zine culture is largely about the trading and sharing of self-expression, making a profit is secondary. This speaks to my approach to life as I personally find value in the process and narrative of things. Roadtripping to Melbourne, following through on an idea and tabling at my first zine fair were already victories. Every zine sold at the fair would simply be icing on the cake.
The weekend of the fair coincided with the Prahran Summer Jam, an epic basketball block party. Though we were eligible to table for two days as interstate zinesters, I intended to spend the Sunday at the Jam. The weekend's program a fitting double-feature as all the zines I created were basketball themed.
Bringing the page to life in North Carolina
The subject of my first two zines was loosely on College Basketball. I'd be spending a fortnight in North Carolina to experience it first-hand. There’s something life-affirming about realising your vision. My zine partner Ellie remarked to me “It was cool that you'd booked the zine table before you’d even made your first zine”. Inspiration can propel you to some interesting places and the encouragement of fellow artists provides extra fuel.
For my zine-partner Ellie, this experience was equally invigorating. Whilst she was a seasoned zine-maker this was her first time presenting zines to market. This process gave her the impetus to take that leap.
Everything comes full circle
We returned to where it all began, the Other Worlds Zine Fair in Sydney. Ellie and I would be tabling for our hometown in front of friends. Personally I already felt fulfilled by the process, it already brought me to Melbourne and North Carolina and my creative partnership with Ellie and Nathan deepened our friendship. In many ways we’d already gained so much from the experience.
Festival day was a success. We made great connections with people and sold a chunk of our titles. My maiden zine ‘March Madness’ was selected to be archived by the National Library of Australia. Winning!
The power of creativity
In the age of social media where self-expression is the norm, zines provide something special in that it’s tactile. It demands vulnerability and resourcefulness with no real promise of a financial incentive. Ray Edgar for the Sydney Morning Herald writes “For zine makers, this vehicle for personal expression is done for love, not money.” Being able to tap into one’s creative self and a community that is open to it is affirming. The article continues with a reference from author Stephen Duncombe, "The thing about zines is you have to be in the know to get them. The culture around them is richer."
Working in marketing and living in a social media world, we’ve been conditioned to fish for likes and conversions. This zine journey was about appreciating the act of fishing itself. Casting a line, putting oneself out there and appreciating the outdoors. You come to realise the joy of fishing is more than just the catch.
At this stage MsMatch Press doesn't have any plans for the horizon, if you'd like to join our zine club or want any tips starting your own zine. Drop us a DM at @MsMatchPress.