In our disposable world where the Internet churns out enough “content” every day to fill a million steaming digital landfills, there is a lot to be said for that which is hand printed, and made to be held, and cherished, by your readers.
That is why I am happy that the Norfolk Zine Fest exists, which is happening this Saturday at Thank You Gallery, next to Toast, from 1 to 6pm.
A meme comes and goes, but a zine can last forever.
“It’s really about getting people together to talk and meet and support each others’ art,” said one of the organizers, Jerome Spencer. “And, more broadly, to bring a zine culture to Norfolk.”
Zines tend to have a few common qualities: they are often produced using photo copiers, there is a highly limited run, and someone has poured their heart into creating it and releasing it into the world.
“It’s the simplicity and flexibility of zines that draw me to them,” said Spencer. “Any person, group, or organization can use them to express ideas – whether they be creative, political or anything in between. You don’t need a big budget, advertisers or even computer skills. While I appreciate all forms of information-sharing, the DIY aspect and accessibility of zines makes them, in my opinion, the most universal and long-lasting way to get one’s point across or share their joy.”
Amber Tanenholz, aka Secret Hair, has produced two photo zines in the past year that are “essentially an obsessive documentation of everything I encounter via film (35mm and instant).”
Tanenholz will be releasing a third zine at the festival, but she is most excited about the book of poetry Secret Hair has produced for local poet Rachel Rephan.
“I want everyone to come out and pick up a copy because it’s the most gut-wrenching and tender compilation of writing I’ve read in quite some time,” Tanenholz said. “We are (above all) trying to push emphasis on other femmes making art not just the status quo.”
Richard Perkins, the Young Lion, stumbled into zine creation before he had even heard of the art form — zines are an organic way of expressing oneself like that.
“The art of the zine has always been around me,” said Perkins. “I started making little paper books when I was 17 at my dads trailer. I would DESTROY some ink. Like 100’s of dollars a week in ink. Little did I know those things I was making were essentially zines. I love the fact that you can take something from each one, no matter what the format inside the zine is.”
The event is free. Toast next door is delicious. Support your local hand-copied visionaries and dreamers.