A few months ago I had been really inspired by reading Cathy Lomax’s ‘Arty’ artzine. I found the eclectic mix of writing and art really exciting and contemporary and had considered the possibility of producing one myself.
Part of the freshness of Arty was the collection of different people’s styles of writing and production of images – all presented in a clear, honest and direct way. I, therefore, asked OCA to print a post from me in their weekly e-mail bulletin to see if anyone was interested in submitting any work for my zine, and I also contacted other students on one of the OCA Facebook pages to see if I could generate some interest.
I had wanted to see what it was like to edit the zine (which we named ‘Edge’) as I had been so inspired by Cathy Lomax. I had no idea just how challenging and time consuming the experience would be and along the way there were a few crisis points which I had to find solutions to rather than give up.
So what have I learnt?
- To be determined – to know that the only way I am going to get my work out there is to put in the effort and never give in
- To co-ordinate a number of different people into providing work and feeding back when necessary – and to communicate with them positively and appropriately when under stress!
- To multi-task – to be able to ‘run with it’ when the contributors acted in ways that I considered unexpected or challenging and to turn that around in a positive way
- To be self-aware throughout the process – to see when I am struggling and to work through the issues to find a resolution
- To honour each of the contributions and to treat them with integrity and respect
- To curate the work within the zine – to respond to the placement of the work and how the energy might affect the viewer and to, therefore, be conscious of how that would affect my layout. This also included the physical visual expression of the zine i.e. the type face I used on each page, the balance of hand-written to typed work etc.
- To realise my weaknesses and to try and work round them.
- That printing costs way more than I had ever expected – so funding the zines definitely needs further consideration for future issues!
- Distribution – when the zines are limited I had to work out how to distribute them most effectively – to think of the impact of where I placed them (I therefore ended up posting them out to contemporary galleries mostly in East London).
- Be clear about what I wanted from the zine – which was to establish a platform where someone somewhere in the contemporary art world might take notice.
- To realise the importance of a www presence – so to pay for the domain name edge-zine.com and to produce a website that contains enough information for people to connect with.
There are many other learning points I need to consolidate when I put together issue 2. We have been lucky with the next issue – OCA are kindly going to print and post out a limited number of the zines so that we can continue with our collaboration. Funding the zine is probably the biggest challenge as is finding a way of producing it on the computer rather than by hand. However, I still hold the belief that I will find a way around these complications and I hope that I can consolidate all I have learnt for issue number 2.