One of Collage’s most popular Artist Spotlights last year were Rebecca Sheedy‘s (of Mild Scribbling) and George Rex‘s. This June, these two local zinestars will be presenting a zine fair at Adelaide hot spot, Format. Featuring the works of other Adelaide zinesters, this event will give zine fans the opportunity to mingle with zine makers, and to purchase unique, one of a kind zines. In our exclusive interview with Rebecca and George, we find out what they’ve been up to since we last spoke to them, and what it’s like to be zine makers in Adelaide.
Q: Hi guys, it’s been a while since Collage last spoke to you! What have you guys been up to since?
Rebecca: Hello! Earlier this year I nipped off to Melbourne for the annual Festival of the Photocopier Zine Fair, which is always a treat. I’m currently working on a collaborative small-press called ‘Lucky Garden Takeaway’, which invites contributions from the most interesting comic artists, writers and zinesters from across Australia, launching soon (watch this space!).
On a lighter note, I’ve been working hard on an East 17 fanzine, and I’m still trying to learn 1D songs on the guitar without my housemates hearing.
George: I’ve mostly been working on my graphic novel, Oh Brother. It’s been going pretty well and I’ve now managed to get 250 pages of the pencil draft done. So just another 100 pages to go! This big project has been taking over a lot of my brain power and then most of my spare time goes into running comic workshops and sketch groups and lamenting the fact I should be making more comics.
Q: What’s the difference between comics and zines?
Rebecca: Zines encompass a broad variety of independently published pieces of work. Whilst a comic can be presented as a zine, zines are more often non-commercial work that has a small circulation and are typically created about a specific passion or interest of the author. What I love about zines is how the medium embraces difference. This personal nature of zines lends itself to sharing; it’s less about a profit and more about finding ways to express yourself in both the content of the zine and the mode of exchange.
George: Well I would say that ‘zines’ is the overall style of publishing were as ‘comics’ are the medium in which an artist can chose to tell a story. For example, you can have illustration zines, poetry zines, photography zines, fanzines, perzines (personal/autobio zines). The term ‘zine’ is just an abbreviation of the word ‘magazine’ and is used to mean self published work.
Q: What is it the zine scene like in Adelaide? Is it a good place to be a zine maker?
Rebecca: Adelaide’s zine community is both cosy and friendly. Whilst it might not be the biggest, there is a lot of encouragement within the scene. Simon Gray (of Format zine shop glory) and I have recently launched an Adelaide based zine distro (short for distributor) called ‘Tonerdust’ and we are always on the lookout to stock the work of local zinesters. Zine makers can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org about any stock consignment enquiries.
George: I think that Adelaide has a pretty ace zine scene. We’ve got lots of rad people not only making zines but also several zine swaps that happen throughout the year organised by local zinestar Haneen Martin (a.k.a Zombie Queen Art & Consulting) and Greenlight Comics is very supportive of local Adelaide comic zine makers. So there is a pretty wide-spread and lovely community making zines and supporting zine makers.
Q: What should be different for Adelaide to be a more hospitable scene for zine makers?
Rebecca: The dream would be a physical space specifically dedicated to creating and selling zines.
George: It would be great if we had a dedicated zine distro in Adelaide. Like a bricks and mortar place in the same vein of Sticky Institute in Melbourne. It would be nice to have spot for zinesters to awkwardly hangout around a photocopier and badge maker and talk about their new stapler over cups of tea and sweet treats.
Q: If you weren’t in Adelaide, where would you prefer to be a zine maker?
Rebecca: Most definitely Melbourne; so I could get a fresh weekly zine fix from Sticky Institute.
George: I think I’d really like to be in England, maybe Leeds, there is a rad comic art festival called Thought Bubble there. Or maybe Toronto, again for another comic art festival, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. I also love cold weather and have a ridiculous collection of jackets, jumpers and cardigans for someone who lives in Australia.
Q: Who are your favourite zine makers?
Rebecca: Vanessa Berry is my zine hero. She was the first person I shared a table with at a zine fair and she was lovely (I remember her giving me rockmelon and how both the gesture and the fruit made me feel relaxed). Her particular brand of nostalgia carries such a lovely creative energy that I always recommend her work to people new to zines. Gemma Flack’s zines and artwork are taped to my wardrobe so I can look at them everyday, that’s how great she is.
Thomas Blatchford’s zines are always amazing, my favourite being his yearly personal ‘Hottest 100’ zine which is the perfect antidote to the drab radio countdown. And of course, George Rex, whose work is bright, fun and adorable, as is she.
George: Oh my! There are just so many out there at the moment that I absolutely love but I’ll try and name a few and give the brief reasons why I love them.
Kristyna Baczynski is a British zine maker who I found out about at a London comic shop. She has a screen printing and design background so all her works looks aces. Mostly creating illustrations and comic zines Kristyna’s work speaks to me heart.
I met David Witteveen when I was tabling at Festival of the Photocopier in Melbourne. I generally don’t read prose zines (I’m such a sucker for comic zines) but David’s work is always engaging and charming and lovely and I can’t stop reading them.
Melbourne feminist lady zine maker, Gemma Flack, always manages to read my soul with just a few words and is just the best at drawing babes.
Ashley Ronning knows her way around a Riso printer. Again a great design lady often combines plantlike and space. Which are two of my favourite things so I fell instantly for her work.
I met Bec at a Format Zine fair in Adelaide about 6 years ago. I figged a colour-in competition so she was the winner and her prize was me buying her a cup of tea. My ulterior motive of course really wanting to be her friend. Simple, beautiful drawings, just right flat colours and perzines often about pop culture and food. When I read Bec’s work it feels like she is just making a zine for me.
Q: Tell us more about Zina Warrior Print Fest Zine Fair and its participants, and what you hope to achieve with this event.
Rebecca: Zina Warrior Print Fest Zine Fair is being held over two dates, Friday the 2nd of June 6-10pm, and Saturday the 3rd of June 11am-4pm at Format. We are really happy to be holding it in the heart of the city and can’t wait to celebrate zines. We are also encouraging zine makers who do not have a table at the fair to still bring along their zines for swapping thrills. Look out for Sticky Institute coming over with some sparkling zines straight from Melbourne for your enjoyment.
George: I’ve been making zines for a while now but never thought I would be part of a team of rad artist organising a zine fair, so that’s pretty exciting! Let alone a team that includes Simon Gray (who I made a zine about when I first getting into zine making. The Zine was all about how I’d heard so many stories about him but yet had never met him and probably never would, guess I was wrong).
I hope people come and have a great time, get to show off their own rad zines and find out about new zine makers. We’ve got people coming from interstate to sell their wares and if it goes well this year, hopefully we’ll be able to run another fest next year. I mean, we can’t let this great festival name go to waste!