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Interview with Rachel Davies

By Emma May

Rachel Davies is a freshman at the University of Toronto. She is the founder of Pop Culture Puke, an online platform for young women to share their art. She is also the founder of A Piece of Work Zine Distro, edits a monthly newsletter on zines and popular culture, and founder of a mentor-matching program for young artists from suburban areas. Additionally, she is a regular contributor to publications such as Fixture Mag, The Le Sigh and Broken Pencil.

Introduction to zines

I came into zine making through knowing about Riot Grrrl. Initially, I thought that zines were for exclusively for teen girls. Shortly after, I started Pop Culture Puke and got submissions from the US, the UK and Canada.

When I went to my first zine fair as a tabler I realized that there weren’t a lot of young people making zines, and that most of the people there were adults. I didn’t realize that most zines weren’t made by young people, like the initial impression I got while learning about Riot Grrrl.

Importance of zines in the 21st century

Even though the Internet is a great place to share ideas, I believe that making a zine adds validity to ideas. When I was in high school, I didn’t know a lot of people that shared the same ideas with me. Nonetheless, I had all of these friends online. There was something that cemented our friendships and our ideas in creating a zine together. It’s something that we could bring to school and share, like “look, this is a real thing that I made! I have ideas and other people have these ideas too!”

I think zines are still important because it’s nice to see your work in something that people outside of your social circle and subculture are likely to stumble across. It’s also a more respected form of organizing and idea-sharing than the Internet at this point. You can leave a zine in a public place and someone not affiliated with zine culture can read it. Yet when you’re on Tumblr, within a tight-knit and virtual community, it’s harder to stumble upon new ideas. Communal zines are extremely important. I was able to connect and share ideas with so many people that I wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance to know. It’s a great way to unify people. It’s so much more open now than it has been in the past.

It’s not the Riot Grrrl era anymore. Zines aren’t intrinsically connected to punk. If you are in the suburbs and writing about historically downtrodden ideas, you’re doing something brave. It’s political. You can’t have progress in one kind but then stay still aesthetically. Why are people so mad about the de-popularization of cut-and-paste?

On A Piece of Work Zine Distro

I run A Piece of Work Zine Distro, where I publish art zines, prints, and my own prose zines. We are always taking submissions. I’m not doing any print zines for Pop Culture Puke right now, but I’m still definitely working on that.

I started the distro because I’ve tried to do more independent work. When I was doing Pop Culture Puke, I was too nervous and intimidated to post my own work alone. I felt backed up by having all of these other people. I started the distro because I have been trying to work on having my work alone. It is also a place to publish my friends’ work, who may not be able to publish anywhere else.

On her newsletter and publishing her own work

I made a newsletter where I would interview zine-makers and young artists. I was interested in people making zines and putting their work online, and whether they were doing it because they saw themselves going into a creative field or if they were doing it because it was fun for them. I wanted to get opinions and share the work of people I liked without publishing my own work.

On Suburban Critique Matching Program

I was talking to a friend of mine who’s still in high school and who’s a writer. We were talking about living in the suburbs and how it is so shitty not to have anyone to look your work. So I started the match up program for that purpose. I thought the idea of putting two people who don’t know each other at all would be helpful, and then they can get an unbiased opinion.

On Justin Bieber

It’s frustrating when people view fan-girling as one-dimensional. I’m obsessed with Justin Bieber, there are countless ways to critically think about how he is portrayed and constructed. I’m currently curating a collection of essays about him. He’s been very influential to me. I don’t like him because he’s “cute…” not everything should be centered on stereotypes of my age, gender or sexuality.

On Popular Culture

I grew up in the suburbs and I wasn’t exposed to alternative media. I got my sense of self through pop culture. I was always obsessed with it. When I was a kid, I was always really shy. I got my sense of the world as represented pop culture. In high school, I did school projects like “Representation of Women in Hollywood,” in which I did a 30-minute presentation in from of the class. I talked about the part in Miss Representation when all of the female directors discuss how they constantly get their ideas turned down, and how all-male executives play a part in that. It’s a systemic issue, and it’s super hard to break out of. My teacher, who’s a middle aged white man, responded: “I just feel like it’s tough cookies if men’s stories are the narratives that people want.” It was 20% of my mark. The female characters in movies that are protagonists are usually from books that are best sellers. As a woman, you have to constantly prove yourself in order to be recognized.

How are you going to know if you can achieve things if it’s not represented in the media that you consume in every day life?

Rachel Recommends

I Object
The Chapess Zine
Kendra Yee’s Zines
Troop Collective Zine
Drawing Thinking of You Dancing
Guilty Pleasures in the Age of the Problematic Fave

Biracial Bandit’s Kiani Ferris on Accessibility, White Feminism and Awesome Alliteration

By Emma May

Zines and accessibility:

I like zine making because in Seattle, where I am from, zines were a very much an important culture. I love how accessible they are. When I grew up, I didn’t have a lot of money, I didn’t have access to art and other things of that nature. Zines, on the other hand, are cheap and accessible. They are everywhere. I like the idea of accessibility, and the idea that we can communicate complex ideas in a way that is easily available to many different people.

Zines in the Age of Online Activism:

I think there is a difference between learning and sharing things online and reading it on paper. The Internet is amazing and accessible, yet you need a computer and wifi. There’s something special about holding a piece of paper that someone put time and effort into copying, stapling and sewing. I feel like it’s a lot more personal. Someone took the time to copy, paste and fold it.

Beginnings of Biracial Bandit:

I coined the phrase Biracial Bandit last year. It is a compilation of youth-created art and poetry. It is a submission-based zine. I contacted multiracial youth, who then their submitted art, poetry, photographs. I have always been very passionate about my ethnicity and my identity. I wanted some sort of catchy phrase that I could identify with. I made some patches with the phrase. I really liked it and identified with it. I also really like alliterations [laughs]. Biracial Bandit spawned from that.

Race within the DIY community:

I feel like when I go to zine fairs or DIY shows it’s mostly cis, white men. There are so many white people. White feminism and white feminist zines are very much a phenomenon right now. I went to the New York Art Book Fair the other day, although in some aspects it was somewhat diverse, it was mostly just a ton of white people in Doc Martens. In creating the zine, I wanted to create an outlet for representation for multiracial youth. When I started asking for submissions, everyone was so glad that there was something going on like this for youth of color. I really think it shows that we need more outlets for youth with marginalized identities.

The larger purpose of Biracial Bandit:

Being biracial has been a huge part of my life. I haven’t really fit into either White or Asian labels. That always upset me, although I am still very passionate about my multiple identities. I look different. People ask me questions that they normally don’t ask other people just based on my appearance. It’s confusing to them. It doesn’t bother me when people ask me what I am. I know I look confusing and I love to talk about it. I started the zine Biracial Bandit because I knew a lot of multiracial kids my age that wanted a platform of expression. They are all so amazing. I wanted to make a zine that celebrates that. I know there are a lot of multiracial people and there is probably a zine about them, but I haven’t seen it yet so I decided to make my own.

Buy Biracial Bandit

Like Bracial Bandit

ZAPP At Cornish College of the Arts

By Marissa Ricchetti

On the Monday, September 21st, ZAPP got to visit a class of first year visual art students at Cornish College of the Arts. Volunteers, Kathryn and Marissa, brought along a selection of zine’s from the archive for the student’s to browse and include in their activity for the day. The instructor, artist Dawn Cerny, had her students select a zine from the collection that they favored and share it with the class. We had a blast seeing what zines the students picked and hearing about why they liked them.image3



GiveBig UPDATE and thank you!

Thanks to everyone who gave BIG on May 5th.  Our fiscal sponsor, Shunpike, is processing Seattle Foundation’s “Stretch,” so while we wait, we want to take a moment to acknowledge the individuals who helped us raise a raw total of $1805 through monetary donations.

Audrey Zekonis
Violet Fox
Andy Glaser
Mindi Katzman
Arthur and Carol van der Harten
Gabriela Ooh
Sofia Leung
Michelle Dillon
Brian McGuigan
Jordan Michelman
Bryan Edenfield
Frances McCue
Amber Loranger
Emily van der Harten
Kathryn Higgins
Lou Samson
Susan Surface
Neelybat Chestnut
Garrett Kelly
Kelly McElroy
George Price
Domenica Clark
Raleigh Briggs
Tyler Hauck
Willie Fitzgerald
Joshua Powell
Sean McCain
David Lasky
Allen Huang
John and Patsy Burgess
Sara Diehl
Nora Mukaihata
Jonathan Grosvenor
Robyn Jordan
Tara Atkinson
Elise Doney
Erica Leigh Slepak
Maureen Vander Paus

We appreciate you so much, and because of you, we can teach workshops, put on rad events, preserve zines, and work toward our current goal of finding a secure and accessible space for the collection!




GiveBig – Today is the Day!

Today, Tuesday, May 5, is a very special day – GiveBIG! Until midnight, all donations will be matched with funds from the Seattle Foundation in a city-wide effort to raise as much funding as possible for worthy non-profits. This is the best time to donate to ZAPP.

Today’s donations will help ZAPP move forward on several fronts, including:

  • Moving forward on the search for a permanent home
  • Continuing open hours
  • Supplies (paper, pens, glue, scissors etc) for zinesters to practice their art
  •  Pop-up-libraries, tabling, and flyering
  • Readings, draw-ins and workshops around Seattle.

Head on over to our page on the Seattle Foundation and share the zine love.


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