Unexpected Gallery hosted the second annual Phoenix Zine Fest, a festival dedicated to the short-form DIY magazines known as “zines.”
In the second edition of the festival there were over 80 vendors present, including food vendors, spread over more than 40 booths, with some vendors traveling from as far as the East Coast to attend.
For those unfamiliar with zine festivals, you would be surprised to find the atmosphere is more like a party and not a quiet book fair hosted at the local library. Patrons were smiling and eagerly speaking with the vendors about their works and the cultural aspects of zines.
Guests of the Sunday event were also invited to join the discussion and Q&A sessions hosted by various artists and community organizers throughout the duration of the event.
Charissa Lucille, owner of Wasted Ink Distro and one of the principal organizers of the festival, hosted an open discussion, “Get Paid: How to Distro Your Work,” on how artists and illustrators can go through independent magazine distributors in order to sell their work.
For younger attendees of the festival there were three workshops that sought to teach children interested in zines on how to make their own using simple tools and easily found supplies.
Various tables were also set up with scissors, glue and piles of old magazines and newspapers so that patrons could create their own collages and display them.
While the majority of the vendors were artists selling their zines, also present was the humanitarian organization, No More Deaths, whose mission is to end deaths and suffering along the border between Mexico and the United States.
“When the opportunity came up to have a booth at the festival, we jumped on it because we felt we could engage the community here about our mission,” Sara Howard said.
Michael Giurato, an illustrator from Queens, New York, who goes by the pseudonym BadHairLife, came out to the festival as a vendor to share his comics and illustrations with a community he otherwise might not have been able to reach.
“I’ve never been to Phoenix, but when I heard I got accepted to be a vendor, I was psyched to come here and be a part of it,” Giurato said.
During the course of the day hundreds of patrons attended the festival and most, if not all, left with a smile and bag with a zine.
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