I received an email a few days ago (actually it was a while ago but the email got lost in the vast abysses of my junk folder until recently when I thought I would have a gander... it wasn't pretty - bizarrely full of adverts for fabric softeners) from the London College of Communication's Library. The purpose of the email was to inform me that my zine is part of the LCC Zine Collection and standard practice is to ask if I would allow the Library to use images from the zine to help promote and raise the profile of the collection... My first reaction was one of being chuffed: 'hurrah!" I thought, patting myself on the back... and then I wondered "how did the LCC get my zine?"... and my second reaction was one of ... not quite sad but not chuffed - so less than chuffed but also less than sad and upset (please insert appropriate adjective here)... Someone must of donated the zine to the LCC Zine Collection... they didn't want it ... perhaps it was someone who I had coerced into swapping zines with me at a fair ... and now they were like "man! this sucks" so they gave it away cursing my name because I obviously got the better deal... and then I had my third reaction of ... not quite relief as my second reaction was not strong enough to warrant relief but it was something on the relieved spectrum, as I became thankful that they had appreciated the zine enough to donate it to the library and not recycle... or worse throw it in the bin... With that I gave the LCC Library permission to use images of the zine whenever and however they liked.
Check out the LCC Zine Collection Facebook page here
This got me thinking: the great thing about making zines is that it is open to everyone with access to a pen, a piece of paper, and a photocopier. It’s an interesting medium to work in because it is so accessible. Instead of making work where you, the artist, are removed and where your work is at a distance from your audience, you’re creating something that is tangible - that your audience can hold and take away. You watch as they approach your table, pick up your zine and buy. You also watch as they approach your table, pick up your zine, flick through it, put it back down and walk away. And sometimes you watch as they approach your table, and bypass your zine all together. It’s a really interesting way to assess who you’re creating for, and who exactly your audience are, and in turn why you are creating. It’s also really satisfying to make something that is immediate and mass – produced. I think as an artist, there’s a lot of value in creating your own zines because it allows you to not be so precious with your work, and think about how and why you are communicating.