Who are you? Where are you based?
My name is Jean-Philippe. But a lot of people call me Jeanfi. I’m 45 years old, and I work in a museum about fairgrounds. @foirememoire. I live in a small town in Belgium.
What are zines to you?
Zines are the most excellent way to express yourself. It’s liberty for every creator. Zines are creative possibilities in the hand of everybody. You have an idea you can print/draw/write it and assemble your zine. It’s a great way to disseminate your art. You don’t depend on the mainstream distributors.
What was your first encounter with zines?
I don’t remember exactly. When I was younger, I had zines under my eyes but without knowing it was a zine. For me, it was just a booklet or small paper distributed by student/artists/fans. I got a better contact with zines via my friend Christophe (@miellechristophe) who had a quite big collection of vintage zines from 1980/1990.
Tell me about your zines. What kind of zines do you make?
My main zine is called Kermesse. It’s mainly a zine collecting graphic content (photography, drawings, and collages) with some poems inside it. I sometimes make a smaller zine on a specific subject (like Fluxus) or to express something in particular— in this case, I work alone without contributors.
What inspires you to create zines?
One day I realized that I could use this kind of support to show what I’m doing with my art. I’m an armchair artist… Doing things for the fun (Linocut and collages) I never thought that it could interest somebody else. So my first issue of Kermesse was to ACT. Do and show something. Now I see Kermesse as a way to promote artists. We have contributors from a lot of countries. Some of them used Kermesse as a stepping-stone to other kinds of distribution. After daring to send me stuff and seeing them on paper, they dare to submit to more important zines or publications. I’m quite proud when I receive this kind of feedback.
What’s your favorite thing about zines?
Do you recall your first zine ever, what was it about and what inspired you to create it?
Before Kermesse, I was making a zine to be distributed between reenactors and living historians. It was about the American Civil War. It was a way to communicate with fellow members of associations and a way to distribute information from English sources.
Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
I work on an A3 paper folding it to obtain the desired size. First I was making everything myself, then I asked some friends for contribution, and now I mainly work with contributors. Not a lot of place left for my creations 😉 After receiving all the contributions, I print them and try to arrange them on the frame. I always try to have a background so I can keep some collage effect. Except for some drawings that I think are better on a white background. I search for illustrations and texts to cut and paste. I love the collage effect. I duplicate the zine in Photoshop. I try to include a small gift for every issue. The issue is then sent by mail. An art gallery in Brussel @sterput.e2 distributes some issues.
The important point about Kermesse is that I want it to be distributed for free. I want it to be accessible to everybody, even people without money to buy it. So I struggle sometimes to have the money for the postage… But I found ways. For example, I sell some special zines sometimes, or this month I created a Patreon page.
What do you hope people get out of your zines?
Sometimes fun, sometimes interest. I want people to discover other artists. I’m not dreaming about creating a community of artists, but I love to be a tool allowing people to create new links.
Name two of your favorite zinesters.
This is a hard choice because I don’t want to vex anybody. I love what @fiveoclockzine is making with ‘Coffee & People’. And I must highlight the quality of the publications from @shuffleplaycomics.
Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
Don’t overthink. Do it! Act and do it now. It’s not difficult at all.
Is there a zine website or resource you would recommend new zinesters to check out?
You need to see what others zinesters are making. So you can see what is possible. Then find your way to express your art. You can have a lot of inspiration with the videos of @fiveoclockzine. I discover some tips reading ‘Make a Zine!’ from Bill Brent. But searching make a zine on the internet will provide you with everything you need to know to start!
Interview conducted by Solansh Moya
Pictures and answers provided by Jeanfi