When Zines Become Your Life

Posted on August 15, 2006

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I’ve put my zinework to a momentary halt due to my decision to take on a job as a web design/graphic media consultant for De La Salle Professional Schools. It has been quite a jump, careerwise, as I am once more adjusting to the pile of workload put upon me in an office environment.

I guess I can look at this as an opportunity to learn new things and incorporate them into my vision of putting zinecraft on a professional level. I don’t think that just because it’s not mainstream it has to look shitty. On the course of my work I took a crash course on Photoshop and Pagemaker, tools I believe can help a great deal on doing zines without sacrificing the DIY aesthetic, whatever it means to each one of us.

The question “If you were offered a lot of money to make your zine mainstream/commercial, would you accept it?” is a cliche that, for me, has passed into irrelevance at present, and quite frankly, the question is unclear on a lot of points. In as much the same way that the meaning of profit has changed for me. I am still (and hopefully never) going to buy into big market capitalism, but I do not see anything wrong with making just enough profit from your own projects, for as long as no one gets exploited in the process, and for as long your principles are intact. While I do not see myself making any profit from zines, due in part to the small specialized market that it has (it does have a market), I want to see things develop and smoothen as far as making the publishing operation self-sufficient. The said question about ‘selling out’ has become irrelevant to me, as a person who prefers doing things on his own, without the fetters of red tape, group consensus, and commercialism. For me, the question is: If I had the resources under my control, would I decide to expand what I’m doing with zines and other DIY projects? The answer is yes, definitely. What is the point of making a zine if you don’t want anyone to read it and access it easily? Instead of relying on big business to distribute and validate my work, I would rather become the business itself. I will expand things. It will not be just about zines. It will not be just about comix. It will be also about short films, small press books, indie music records, low-budget documentary films, and other things that can be done the DIY way.

Subcultures have developed a sense of disdain at commercialism, refusing to buy mainstream goods. But the nature of man, as a basic consumer never goes away. Something else will simply take the place of whatever it is we rejected in the first place. Instead of being unconsciously manipulated into buying something, why not have the choice to buy something meaningful and something that transcends market value?

Zines have become a part of my life, and as I grow and mature, it also evolves as an expression of who I am at present, a person balancing his views without forsaking the ethics that has brought him into it in the first place.

I do not need to blame corporations and big business for the terrible quality of consumer products when I have the ability to create what I want things to be. It is up to us to redefine what great art is, what awesome music should be, and what good taste means. That means looking beyond one’s discontent and finding satisfaction in creating not because it has to sell, but because it expresses our idea of what is mind-blowing.  

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Posted in: Zines