Meet 3 L.A Zine Fest Artists Who Are Changing The Game

Let’s get LIT.

By Nada Alic

The L.A Zine Fest is almost upon us, featuring work from over 200 artists, illustrators, writers and DIYers at the California Market Center on May 28th. For a print lover like myself, it is basically heaven (if heaven were a giant warehouse space filled with zines and dudes who wear tote bags unironically. Swoon!) Zines have long been a tool for women, POC, the LGBTQ community and other marginalized voices to organize and express themselves, so expect this year to be extra LIT (what! had to). And in light of the what-the-actual-fuck state of the world, the zine culture game has never been stronger.

We put together a little LAZF primer for you and caught up with 3 zinesters who are doing some seriously badass work that we think you should know about.

Get to Know: Pussayfoot

Pussayfoot is a gender-fluid, SF-based artist whose work focuses on queer identity and body positivity: “I work through a lot of my own crises through my art. My first Zine “.MP3” focuses on body positivity—this helped me be a curvy woman and redefine beauty for myself. But as I’ve grown I have been focusing on gender fluidity and my ever-changing gender. I have recently focused a lot more on LGBTQ rights through a photo series, where I attempt to photograph the many nuances of being queer. Through this series, I have learned so much about myself as a Transgender man. I believe that all genders deserve to navigate our world equally and safely and I hope that by sharing our stories we can achieve acceptance.”

What zines will you be featuring at LAZF?
I will be re-releasing my first ever zine “.MP3”! Which is a collage/illustration project that compares modern beauty to fine art. In addition I will be re-releasing my most popular zine “Cheap Romance” a series of collages and poems for the broken heart. For the existentialist I will be selling “A Not So Childlike Children’s Book” a picture book to guide us through the meaning of life. I will also be releasing a new zine called “LOUD” that rejoices in the uniqueness of all kinds of women.
Find out more @pussayfoot

Get to Know: Colectiva Cósmica

Colectiva Cósmica started in 2014 after a few friends decided to put on an art show that grew into a collective “that encourages creativity in feminine spirits, including young girls who we feel need specialized support in their artistic growth and path. We do this by creating our own opportunities and fostering a community of artists rather than seek to fit into the art world as it is.”

On the power of art as activism:
Zines are a powerful tool in independent publishing. You can literally write your own books and spread your own message without the formal process of a book deal. As women, women of color, immigrants, and working class people, we traditionally do not have access to that kind of exposure. Zines are a way to telling our stories without filter and without asking anyone’s permission…Likewise [art] has an important role in how it interrupts and challenges oppression in ways that resonate differently than other forms of communication. As individuals, we carry certain causes to heart and work for social justice in our own ways. As a collective, we facilitate art education workshops based on collage, painting, digital image making, candle making, etc.

What zines will you be featuring at LAZF?
We’ll have all of the Cósmica zines: Art Girl Dreams, Goddess Vol. 1, Cósmica #2, Cósmica Quotes, and Baby Girl Dreams. Our individual zines will include An Immigrant Story, Celestial Hearts, and some mini zines. Cósmica is made up of collage makers, painters, printmakers, and photographers. Art Girl Dreams is a powerful compilation of working artists that each depict their journey as an artist through visual storytelling.
Find out more @ColectivaCosmica

Get to Know: Thick Thigh Collective

Long-time friends organized themselves as a collective response and shared anger towards police shootings last summer. Their mission grew from there, “all three of us grew up in the DIY punk scene in LA, and despite the diversity of the city itself, it was rarely reflected at the shows we went to or in the art we loved. We all love zine making, we love DIY culture and the DIY community, we love curating zines, and we really love each other.”

On the meaning behind their Stay Mad zine series:
Staying Mad does not mean “internalizing toxic anger.” Staying Mad means staying activated, staying woke, and giving a shit.

How zines help them give back:
Making zines and participating in fests has enabled us to donate to organizations that provide services to folks whose rights are currently, and have been historically, under attack. This is a contribution we couldn’t have made without the support of activist spaces and organizers.

What zines will you be featuring at LAZF?
We’re going to have all three volumes of the Stay Mad zine series available at the fest, and this is the first time we’re debuting Volume 3! It’s a submission-based zine with essays, poetry, and illustrations, all based off the theme of double-consciousness. For the newest volume, we’re really excited to have beautiful, limited edition screenprinted covers, which will only be available at LAZF. We’ll also be debuting the first zine the three of us have all contributed to called Staircases, that we’re really excited about.
Find out more @thickthighcollective

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