Hello postal people!
In my daily life of paper, ephemera, and correspondence I find that there’s alot of crossover. This is how it breaks down: bookbinding led to artists’ books, which morphed into zinemaking. Penpal-ing as a kid transitioned into decorated envelopes in college, which then moved into the realm of full-blown mail art escapades once I arrived in San Francisco. (surprising? Not really, when you think about it…) When asked the eternal, killing question “Yes, but what do you do?”, I find myself at a loss, unable to bring all of these varied elements together into a single niche-based sentence.
Readers and friends of the RLD blog know that I do a range of different things (artists’ books, zines, prints), but my true love is mail art. Putting together something special for a far-away Networker or designing the month’s new postal “Cadeux” puts a smile on my face and charges my creative batteries.
I like to be involved-with-a-capital-i, in a very Aries-centric kind of way. I love organizing, putting things together, helping people meet other people — that kind of thing. Each person I meet these days has a story which is so uniquely them that I find myself constantly recalibrating my ideas of art/creating art, based on the discussions I have with somebody. That seems to be another part of the process.
Participating in events and meeting people go hand in hand. One of my favorite aspects of “doing what I do” (that hard-to-identify thing mentioned above) is vending at shows — Alternative Press Expo, the Printer’s Fair, SF’s Open Studios — each event is an opportunity to meet people, introduce them to the idea of mail art, put on a puppet show (well, not really…) A special fave in my “pantheon of vending” is the SF Zinefest.
This year is a banner year for the SF Zinefest; they’re celebrating 10 big years! That’s a whole decade of promoting zines, zinesters, and DIY culture. As one of the largest zine events on the west coast, the SFZF continually has a stellar line up of panelists, workshops, and vendors year after year.
In a world where print books are racing to flip the digital switch, zines are experiencing a contemporary renaissance. Hands-on zine projects abound throughout the web; all one needs to do is search “zine projects 2011” or stop by the “We Make Zines” forum to see that zine culture is alive and well. People want (need?) to share their stories via the printed word; turning thru the pages of someone’s real-time zine is an introduction to their thought process, their aesthetic, the things that they are passionate about. Is there a better way to be introduced to someone? I can’t think of one.
So what does all this talk of zines mean for RLD readers? Two things: if you make artists’ books, zines, or any sort of DIY (think Renegade Craft Fair or Bizarre Bazaar) product, you might be interested in vending at the SF Zinefest. Tables are still open, but they’re going quickly — take a look at the application page over here. (the .pdf takes a minute to load in…)
If the idea of small-press-with-big-ideas is intriguing, but you’re not ready to commit to vending your wares, never fear! Instead, why don’t you stop by the Zinefest and see what it’s all about? Admission is free, and RLD will be there (with some new surprises on the table!), along with the likes of Two Fine Chaps (beautiful letterpress artists’ books), Monkey + Seal (printmakers and silkscreeners), as well as a galaxy of other talented vendors.
I’ll be sure to show you guys the works-in-progress as we get closer to the Zinefest. But for now, a question: have any of you made zines? And if so, did you like the process? What was your zine about? (and can we still get a copy?…)
Postally speaking (of course) —
* the word “zine” is pronounced “zeen”
** did you notice those “Revenge of Print” artistamps in the photo above? They’re pretty fancy, right? If you’d like to receive a sheet, send a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) to the following address:
Jennie Hinchcliff/Red Letter Day
ATTN: revenge of print 2011
PO Box 170271
San Francisco, CA. 94117
(international requests are welcome, but you must include $1.00 USD to cover the cost of postage)
07.23.11 edit: RLD reader Angry Violist kindly emailed an inquiry as to whether international readers could Paypal money for postage — so clever! Of course you can — let’s use this technology for good, instead of evil! International readers should Paypal $1.50 USD ($1.00 to cover international postage, .50¢ to cover all of Paypal’s fees) to: firstname.lastname@example.org