Fall 2009

The ‘Zine: Community, Art, Love

By Chloe Nash

The ‘Zine, founded by Alyssa Blaker ’11 and myself, made its first appearance last April. Before I say any more, let me first explain what, exactly a ‘zine is. Although the term “’zine” is a literal abbreviation of “magazine,” it represents much more than just a mini publication. ‘Zines are a vast category of homemade, underground, multi-media journals.

Our idea for The ‘Zine was to create an outlet for artistic minds at Skidmore. We invited artists, writers, philosophizers, and friends to put something, anything, on a quarter of a sheet of computer paper, the determined “perfect pocket sized” ‘zine and let them get to work. A week or so later, we sat in front of a copious volume of art. Thankfully, Alyssa and I share the same vision for the ‘Zine, and chose pieces witha similar flavor, one that spoke loudly about something, bubbled with sentiment, and possessed an edgy, raw quality.

After scanning the chosen illustrations, poems, sketches, and thoughts, we used our laundry money to print five hundred copies. Over the course of a week or so, we managed (with a little help from our friends) to assemble and staple all the issues. The second ‘Zine featured work by twenty-five contributors, half of which were Studio Art majors. Ink illustrations were the most popular media, as well as collages and written pieces.

The nature of The ‘Zine’s distribution process is an art in and of itself. Late at night, we carefully placed The ‘Zines in peculiar locations across campus. ‘Zines were slid between pages of The New York Times, stuck in the crevices of the library’s keyboards, hung from trees, positioned on urinals, placed on benches, and balanced on doorknobs. We hoped that The ‘Zine would offer a chance for people to slow down and step back from the hurried routine of college life. The underground nature of The ‘Zine embodies an element of mystery and hopefully leaves its readers not only amused, but a bit confused as to how or why the little journal came to be.

The morning after the distribution of the second edition, I sat at a desk in the library and secretly watched a stranger pick up a copy I had put on a bookshelf the night before. He flipped through it, smiled to himself, and tenderly put it back down for somebody else to find. It was in that moment that I knew I would continue making ‘zines for a long time. The ‘Zine will be a magical part of Skidmore until Alyssa and I graduate, and hopefully it’s legacy will remain here even after we’re gone. Our third edition is brewing so keep your eyes out for our paper publication that will pepper the campus again soon.

*To get involved with The ‘Zine, email: ablaker@skidmore.eduor cnash@skidmore.edu