First PHX Zine Fest helps bring DIY community into the mainstream

Video by Lerman Montoya

Zine enthusiasts and over 60 vendors gathered at The Ice House in downtown Phoenix Sunday for the first annual PHX Zine Fest, creating a safe space for artists and writers who go against the mainstream.

Zines are self-published works of writing and imagery that span different topics from intersectional feminism to punk culture. The zine community is a tight-knit network of artists, writers, performers and designers from across the country who share an interest in print culture, narrative journalism and arts.

The co-owners of Wasted Ink Zine Distro Charissa Lucille, Marna Kay, and their collaborator Brodie Foster Hubbard wanted to change that, so they organized PHX Zine Fest in hopes “to bring it home and really show off the creativity that we have in Phoenix,” said Charissa Lucille, a graduate from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU.

“We just wanted a bigger scale thing like other cities get to have, Phoenix deserves that too,” Brodie Foster Hubbard said. “Marna and Charissa and Wasted Ink Zine Distro facilitated that and made a meeting place for that.”

Vendors from all over the country were able to sell their zines, apparel, buttons, and photographs to fellow zinesters and Phoenix locals. There was also a DIY zine table where kids were encouraged to create their own zines using arts and craft supplies.

“PHX Zine Fest has it’s own identity. It is bringing people together from all over, who share a similar interest,” said Russ Kazmierczak Jr., the zinester behind Amazing Arizona Comics. “It’s a great way to not only get my work out there but be surrounded by a huge community of zinesters.”

PHX Zine Fest also held various workshops, panels and discussions ranging in topics from writing as a person of color to gender and sexuality in arts, which took place in a separate room in The Ice House.

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Rachel Leket-Mor, discussed her job as an Arizona State University researcher and curator for Hayden Library, and the ever growing collection of zines.

“I hired a student worker and decided to start a research project discovering zines,” said Leket-Mor. “We combed through special collections and looked at Arizona collections, Chicano/Chicana collections and Hebrew Zines.”

Through her curated collections at ASU, Leket-Mor hopes students will be introduced to voices that are not typically heard in the media and learn about the resurgence of “print culture.”

“The zine scene now is sorta filling a hole. People can say ‘oh print is dead, zines are dead’ — they just needed a place, they need a little bit of representation,” said Lucille.

Zines have slowly begun to reappear in public and local spaces, such as Lawn Gnome Publishing on Roosevelt Row. Zines have gained an increasingly positive following considering the subject matter that tend to address.

“The things I see published in zines are the voices that are typically misrepresented by mainstream media or there’s not enough voices being published. These are typically marginalized voices that don’t really have a place to be heard,” Lucille said. “I think zines provide that freedom for them to publish and to make their own art and to represent themselves and their own story.”

“A zine can be about anything, and it brings all these people with diverse backgrounds and interest together to show what they have in common, even if it’s one thing — zines.” Foster Hubbard said.

Correction: October 25, 2016

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated this was the first central event for zinesters in Arizona. While this was the first PHX Zine Fest, there have been other zine events in the state. The story has been updated to omit our initial incorrect statement.

Contact the reporter at Lerman.Montoya@asu.edu.