This year, the University of Oregon Zine Fest brought together artists from UO and the Eugene community to celebrate independent publishing and art for the third year in a row. The festival has grown over the last few years to include artists with many different preferred creative media and platforms. Photography, prose, poetry and sketching are some of the many ways artists chose to express themselves this year.
The goal of the Zine Fest is to celebrate one art form in particular: zines. Short for magazine, zines are independently published collections of art — usually produced on photocopiers and distributed by the artist. Many portray different themes such as nature, cartoons, mental health and cultural representation.
“For me, zines are about the publication. Mine are always creative representation of my culture and my childhood; it’s a way of personal expression,” said Teddy Tsai, artist and designer of this year’s promotional poster.
Zines first became popular in the 1930s and have continued to hold their popularity over the years due to the ever-changing style and contents. Their popularity also grew with the increased accessibility of production and the absence of content rules. “[Zines] are just an easy way to get quick ideas out in the world,” artist Tessa Plumb said. “A zine can really be anything you want it to be.”
UO Zine Fest allows artists to set up a booth and show off their work. This year they hosted 51 different creators. The groups came to not only display their work, but sell their own zines, prints, stickers, pins and paintings.
Izzy Cho, this year’s first-time Zine Fest director, has been involved since the very beginning of the event. “I know it sounds cheesy, but this event is so cool because the art is relevant, and it brings people together from all different backgrounds and places,” she said. In bringing together artists from UO and the community, Zine Fest has created a platform to allow artists to express themselves and their work.
Tables filled the entire room with brightly colored artwork, detailed drawings, vibrant photography, different forms of writing and so much self-expression. The Crater Lake North room in the EMU was packed with people coming to appreciate the artists’ work and purchase their own copies of zines. Many even left with handfuls of different artwork and memorabilia from the event. While this is just the third year of Zine Fest, it is already quite popular within the community and attracted many people to get involved and appreciate the creativity.
Zine Fest is run entirely by student volunteers who are passionate about the work and the zine community on and off campus. The festival also provided a photo booth with a backdrop that had pink and yellow shapes and a brightly colored jellyfish for anyone to take portraits, and a workshop for those coming to explore the festival to get in tune with their own creative side.
UO Zine Fest always takes place in the middle of spring term, and artists of all backgrounds can submit their artwork for a chance to be included in the festival each year.
“I love it because I get to see the artists interact with each other and see this community come to life,” Cho said. “Even if you don’t know what zines are, you can come and be a part of it and understand it.”