DSTL Arts – a nonprofit arts mentorship organization that inspires, teaches, and hires emerging artists from underserved communities.
By Jeremy Arias
When we arrived at the library we were escorted to the recreation room on the opposite side of the main floor. The recreation room was not only spacious and empty, but was also just outside the librarian’s noise jurisdiction, giving us more than we needed to inspire and teach some of the community’s people.
Luis started a sign-in sheet while Angie and I spread out paper, glue sticks, scissors, colored pencils, erasers, and sharpeners for each of our students. As Luis displayed some sample zines, the room was slowly beginning to look alive, but something was still missing. The room was oddly quiet as I began to think about what it was we were forgetting.
A groovy beat dropped the smooth sound of Hip Hop, filling the silence with thought quenching music. Luis smirked as he closed his ipad, leaving it to play music while the students began to arrive
Every few minutes or so, a new face would walk through the door, some shy, some excited, and some with parents eager to see why everyone was so excited and lively. The room began to fill up with more people than we anticipated, so we spread out the last of our supplies and encouraged students to make friends and share what they had. Slowly, the sound of community drowned the sound of the music, as it typically does when it brings us together.
“Good afternoon everyone, welcome, and thank you for coming,” Luis smiled from the front and center gathering the room’s attention. “My name is Luis, with me over here is Angie and Jeremy, and today we are going to show you how to make a zine. How many of you know what a zine is, or have ever heard of a zine?”
The crowd answered with blank stares and silence.
“Well,” Luis reached for a sample zine from the desk in front of him and opened it to display it. There were images of cats and dogs displayed in the pages. “A zine is a little booklet, think about it like a maga-zine, but smaller, homemade, and if you undo these folds…”
Luis unfolded the zine showing off the panels now disoriented and flipped on a single piece of paper.
“You can see, the zine is all on one sheet of paper, and there’s a poster on this side!” He turned the paper around to reveal the poster image occupying the opposite side of the paper. The students were all impressed by the seclusion of the poster, the detail of the art itself, and the excitement in knowing that in just a few minutes, they too can learn how to create one.
“So what do people do with zines?” he asked rhetorically. “Some people use zines as a form of expression, for art, comics, or even other practical uses like this person who turned their zine into a business card.” Shocked, some students leaned over their desks to get a closer look at the different shapes and sizes zines can morph into.
“So, now Jeremy here is going to show you how to make your own zines! Jeremy, take it away!”
As I stepped in front of the crowd, the script I practiced countless times in my head seemed to have disappeared. I was faced with embers of faces losing the flame of interest Luis had sparked.
“Good afternoon everyone,” I greeted trying to stall time to search for words. “I’m Jeremy, and I’ll be showing you how to make a zine! The first step to making a zine is…”
Where was my sense of direction? I’d done this so many times before, and suddenly the steps slip me by. How do you make a zine?
The content displayed here is submitted by various local authors, artists, and more, and is curated by the DSTL Arts Art Block Zine–Editorial Board. Works published here are done so with the permission of all artists involved. Artists hold all rights to their work, and none of it may be reproduced without their permission.