A large amount of foot traffic came through the Broadway Commerce Center in downtown Eugene for the second annual Euzine Comics & Zine Fest last Saturday. The event featured independent artists tabling a variety of work, which included everything from handmade comics to short-run booklets of poetry and prose.
The term “zine” — which comes from a shortened form of the word “magazine” — functions as an umbrella term for a wide variety of DIY art booklets. “A zine really is just a way of presenting your work, whatever kind of work that you may make,” said Alida Bevirt, who helped start the festival back in 2016.
Bevirt conceived the idea for Euzine after tabling at a similar festival in Olympia, Washington. “It was my first experience tabling at a zine event, and it was this incredible feeling,” Bevirt said. “People come up and you’re sharing your work with them and they respond to it.”
From there, Bevirt thought about how she could bring that same experience back to Eugene. “The first, biggest part of organizing this was just finding people who believed in this vision we wanted to create,” Bevirt said.
His endeavor was successful: the event on Saturday was filled with people making an effort to share their own artwork and meet other like-minded individuals.
The zines found throughout the festival included how-to guides, photo books and experimental comics. Some zines were absurd or light-hearted, while others were deeply personal. The qualities ranged from simple photocopied paper to complex hand printed designs.
Bevirt says that these zines function as a way to offer up a unique and unaltered voice for many people. “For example, you buy Vogue magazine and there are models, and designers and advertisements,” Bevirt said. “A zine cuts through all of that processing — it cuts right to the artist that makes their work. This is their work and you’re receiving it.”
“Everybody comes in and sets up, and then the community comes in,” said Jamie Walsh, who helped organize the event alongside Bevirt. “It’s so cool to see it happen. Once you set the tables up, it just happens on its own.”
In the future, both Walsh and Bevirt said they would like to see the event grow. “We just found out we got some grant money, which is really rad,” Walsh said. “That gives us definitely [a] possibility for a bigger venue.”
At future events, Bevirt envisions workshops, zine readings and lectures, in addition to tabling artists. “We want to start creating more experiences for the public to engage with zine culture, artistically [and] intellectually,” she said.
“Last year was successful and this year, I feel like we have a lot of momentum, and it’s also a very successful day,” Bevirt said. “We want to continue to show beautiful and engaging and raw art.”