In today’s installment of “Meet this Zinester”, we meet the awesome MisterZinester, creator of many zines. So stick around, get inspired, and then make zines!
Who are you? Where are you based?
Hi! I’m a zine-maker from Singapore. I’m into photography, illustration, music, and design.
What are zines to you?
To me, zines are a platform for anyone to create something. It’s common to feel paralysed when it comes to creating, but with zine culture, that worry is lessened because there are no expectations when it comes to quality/content, so there’s a lot more freedom. Also, the zine community has been good to me and I’ve met some new friends and collaborators through zine swaps.
What was your first encounter with zines?
The first time I heard about zines was when an artist that I like, @notmusa, mentioned wanting to make one. I just assumed it was short for magazine, having no idea that it also meant self-publishing.
Tell me about your zines. What kind of zines do you make?
I make photo zines and music zines. I’m working with other zine makers on some collaborations too.
What other zinesters have you done collab work with?
I’m currently working with @iesorno on a Secret Santa zine and @4res on a music zine in which we will share our playlists and possibly write some music reviews.
What inspires you to create zines?
The feeling of wanting to get something out of my system and when it’s hard to express certain things verbally.
Are there any specific themes you explore in your zines?
Hmm, not really. I have tons of random ideas, so many zines I did just for the fun of it. For a long while though, the theme was about relationships because it was something that affected me.
You mentioned that you make music zines. What are these specific zines typically about? Do you review bands, talk about a new album, etc.?
Some songs have really strong narratives and I find myself visualising scenes that the singer describes in his/her lyrics. I usually illustrate song lyrics. I don’t do band reviews, but sometimes I’d recommend music that I like in my zines.
What’s your favorite thing about zines?
That anyone can make a zine if they want to, and they can share/swap it with anyone in the zine community once it’s done. It’s easier to be motivated when you know that someone somewhere enjoys your work and you enjoy theirs too.
Do you recall your first zine ever, what was it about and what inspired you to create it?
It was a one-page photo zine that I made using instant photos that I took in Tokyo. Zine-making was a new thing that I discovered then, and as someone who’s often looking for stimulation and new ideas, I made that first zine because it was fun and new to me. It eventually became one of those hobbies that stuck, though.
Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
I get a random idea, write it down, then try to make it into a zine ASAP in case it ends up as one of the many half-completed zines that I’ve (unfortunately) accumulated over the past few months. I usually print everything with my home printer and then bind them with staple/duct tape.
What do you hope people get out of your zines?
I’m not sure. It’s purely self-indulgent, so I care more about getting them out than what people get out of it. I guess I’d like someone to relate to my zines? Regardless of the feedback that I get, I still make stuff because I want to. Despite cringing a lot at my own work, the process of making it is very engaging.
Do you sell your zines? If so where?
Some of my zines are currently on sale at Clouds Art + Coffee, a cafe in Tokyo. I also sold zines at Singapore Art Book Fair 2018, back in June/July. I haven’t listed any of them online, but I do international swaps via mail. 🙂
Name two of your favorite zinesters.
Just two? @iesorno because he helped lengthen my playlist greatly and we’re friends now. @fiveoclockzines because he’s one of the first zinesters that I got to know, and his zine collection and reviews got me really excited about zine culture back when I first started swapping zines in May.
Is there a zine website or resource you would recommend new zinesters to check out?
I just follow tons of zine-makers on Instagram. There are so many calls-for-submissions that you’ll always find something to be a part of. Personally, I found https://www.seagreenzines.com/ to be really helpful.
Do you have a favorite call-for-submission that you were involved in? What did you love about it?
Maybe “Dear Anonymous” by Nyx from @Seagreenzines. I like that it’s a space for anyone to write to someone, whom for whatever reasons, they can no longer talk to.
Why should new zinesters check out https://www.seagreenzines.com/? How was this resource helpful to you?
Nyx from Seagreenzines does zine reviews, zine swaps, podcasts and regularly updates her site with calls-for-submissions. It’s very informative for anyone new to the zine scene. She even has a zine about zines called “Paper Currency”. Anyone new to zine-making should get a copy of that.
Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
Ok, this is going to sound cliché. Just have fun making your zines and don’t worry about how they would turn out, or if people would ridicule your work (most people don’t care, and even if they do, they move on fast). Also, make the first move and contact other zine-makers for swaps/collaborations.
Interview conducted by Solansh Moya
Pictures provided by MisterZinester