Who are you? Where are you based?
My name is Chloe Henderson, and I am an interdisciplinary artist from Edinburgh, Scotland.
What are zines to you?
Zines are an accessible way to share my thoughts with the world and engage in ideas on niche topics I am interested in that do not often feature in popular culture. Zines are self-published artworks that anyone can make on any subject they want, and I love the versatility of the humble zine.
What was your first encounter with zines?
I stumbled across an ad on Creative Scotland with a call for submissions to Artificial Womb. I submitted an illustration, got in, and was paid for my work. It was the first time that I got paid as an artist to be featured in a publication. It made me feel really validated, and I was hooked on zine culture from this experience. I still subscribe to Artificial Womb now.
Tell me about your zines. What kind of zines do you make?
My artwork has evolved from etched-metalsmithing inspired by stories, filmed mockumentaries with goopy blue costumes piped in silicone, highly patterned illustrations, and now zine-making inspired by my experiences with anxiety, feminism, and cats! I am greatly inspired by nerd culture, the human condition, mythological creatures, the natural world, and anything a little bit fantastical.
What inspires you to create zines?
I have always struggled with communication. I am an anxious bean. I struggle with social situations, and I have never been especially articulate with my verbal thoughts. Zines, and my art in general, are my way to bring the things that I think out into the world.
What’s your favorite thing about zines?
I like that my zines can focus on all the little things that I obsess over, and through them, I can find other folk that like the same weird things I like!
Do you recall your first zine ever, what was it about and what inspired you to create it?
I made a series of mini-zines with photographs from my Inked Thought for the Day series. I went a little Riot Grrrl and wrote provocative, or hoped to be insightful thoughts on various parts of my body with sharpies, and took photographs of them. I compiled these images into themes and published them in mini-zines. It felt inspiring at the time. It was something different that I had not done before… but I do look back and cringe a little at how cliché this project was! I do still have an affection for those scrappy little zines, but I like to think my zines are a little more evolved now! I still have a few copies of those zines in my print box, and they occasionally find themselves in my order packages as little freebies!
Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
Recently, for International Zine Month, I set myself a prompt every single day to make a mini zine. I found this way of working really motivational, as it forced me to just sit down at my desk at make! It was a little stressful making something every single day, as real life got in the way a little, and I ended up falling behind on my goals! But I still made 31 mini-zines!! I think this way of working suits me best: give myself a prompt or topic, and just sit down and make. In my larger zines, the format is a little more considered, and I find myself planning zines over longer periods of time… I have a bunch of folders on my laptop with half-started zines, or simply ideas that need content. I think I need to be a bit more disciplined with myself, and treat every zine like my mini-zine project to help me just get on with it, and get to the making part! I am very much one of those artists that has more ideas than time!!
What do you hope people get out of your zines?
The subjects of my zines are so wide-ranging, so it is hard to answer this question, as the answer would be different for every zine that I have made! However, for all of my zines I would hope that people feel a connection to the subject. That may be feeling inspired to make something after reading one of my tutorials, or thinking different about a topic I have written about, or motivated to go on an adventure, or simply enjoying some cute illustrations of rude cats!!
Name two of your favorite zinesters.
I really like the folks over at Gears for Queers. We met them in real life at an arts market – which turned out to be a rubbish night for sales as it had been really badly advertised, and basically nobody showed up! but was a great night for meeting and hanging out with fellow artists – and we talked about zines all afternoon. They’ve just published a book, which you should deffo check out! I also really like the work of Jolie Ruin over at Riot Grrrl Press, and I really want to order one of her collaged canvases! Picking just two zinesters is hard!!
Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
Just start! It seems like stupid advice, but it is the best advice I can give. The best thing about zines is anyone can make them, and you do not need to over-think them like many of the other art forms. Make bad zines, make good zines, make zines that only you will ever see, make zines to leave out for strangers make zines to sell, make zines to give away, make zines for your cat, just make zines!!
Is there a zine website or resource you would recommend new zinesters to check out?
I might be a little biased, seeing as I am one of the co-founders, but I would highly recommend for you to check out Coin-Operated Press. We are a small zine company born out of Lockdown. We host workshops, run zine fairs, produce, publish, and distribute our own collaborative zines, and produce resources for our fellow zine-makers.
Chloe’s Social Media
Check out my website here: https://www.chloehenderson.co.uk/zines
You can also find me/tag me at @ChloeHenderson9 on Instagram and Twitter, and I have a Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/chloehenderson
Interview conducted by Solansh M.
Photos provided by Chloe H.