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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

TXST Zine Fest aims to introduce students to unique art form

zinefest
zinefest

Printers on the Texas State campus might be a little extra busy next week. Many local zine makers are finalizing their designs and spending time printing and folding as many zines as possible in preparation for the first TXST Zine Fest on April 19.
Zines are small self-published magazines that contain anything that can be printed on paper, including poetry, essays, illustrations, photography and more. Historically, zines were made through photocopying illustrations, writings and collages to make small do-it-yourself booklets to hand out. Although some now use computers to design their zines, the do-it-yourself element of the art medium has stayed consistent.
Zine communities thrive on college campuses because of the affordability and the low barrier of entry in the art form, according to Maya Diaz, director of the TXST Zine Fest.
“I think zines are the perfect medium for a college student,” Diaz said. “It’s affordable and the culture itself is very complementary to some of the feelings that are generally in a college campus and college students.”
Anyone with access to a computer and a printer or a pen and a photocopier can make their own zine. Many college students gravitate toward the art form because zines provide a way to share perspectives and ideas affordably and relatively easily.
The TXST Zine Fest will take place from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on April 19 at the Grand Ballroom in the LBJ Student Center. The event will include 30 zine artists vending their work, a panel about the history of zines and resources for students to make their own. Around half of the zine artists participating are Texas State students or alumni.
The TXST Zine Fest will be the first time several student zine makers have participated in an event like this.
Diaz, an applied sociology senior and president of Queer Cats, was introduced to zines last spring when they met their friend and zine maker Marcelo Gonzales. The seeds for the zine fest were planted when Diaz and Gonzalez held a zine workshop for Queer Cats. Diaz saw how much the club enjoyed it and wanted to bring the medium to more people.
In January, Diaz started asking around to create the event. They created a small team of students and staff through connections within their major and Queer Cats to get the idea off the ground.
“It sort of was like people didn’t tell me no,” Diaz said. “So I just started going for it.”
The zine fest is sponsored by the Center for Diversity and Gender Studies, Inclusive Excellence, Center for the Study of the Southwest and Common Experience. These organizations helped finance the event and advised Diaz on organizing the fest and ensuring its success. Another place they found guidance was through the organizers of other zine fests like Lone Star Zine Fest in Austin and the San Antonio Zine Fest, who gave Diaz advice on how to smoothly run one.
“Even though things have gone so well, it has not been smooth sailing,” Isla Ruiz, the TXST Zine Fest social media manager, said. “So I’m so grateful we have all this support to lean back on. They’ve definitely been like a crutch.”
On Feb. 16, Diaz announced the zine fest and opened applications for interested zine makers. They began receiving applications the same day. Other local zine fests started sharing the post and the event’s excitement grew.
Diaz brought Ruiz on the project as the social media manager to build event exposure. Ruiz graduated from Texas State in business advertising last spring and was excited to work with his friend on the project.
“We got a lot of support really quickly,” Diaz said. “It blew me away just how welcoming and ready people were to engage.”
One of the reasons that the Center for Diversity and Gender Studies sponsored the event was the long history that zines have inside social movements. Since zines are printed affordably and have a low barrier of entry, many use them to convey marginalized perspectives and ideas that aren’t shown in mainstream media. Several LGBTQ+ zine makers like Shelby Criswell, Grace Allen Perkins and PissKink Studios will be showing their work during the fest.
The power of zines has led to the creation of feminist and queer social movements. To be able to tell the stories of zines as a medium, the TXST Zine Fest will include a panel discussing the history of the medium.
Tara Spies Smith, the librarian for the College of Fine Arts and Communication, started the zine collection on the third floor of Alkek Library.
For the past couple of years, she has collected student-made zines and acquired zines from local festivals to add to the collection. She believes that the do-it-yourself aspect of zines is a unique form of self-expression that allows under-represented stories to be told in special ways.
“Zines give a voice to marginalized peoples or anybody that has an underrepresented voice in the mainstream media,” Smith said. “It’s definitely an avenue to promote diversity because you’re opening up a bigger road and allowing all sorts of different cars to drive down.”
Diaz and Ruiz believe zines reject perfectionism and embrace mistakes. As a rule, the zine community cares more about what an artist has to say rather than the technical ability of their art. They try to make this community even more accessible by raising interest in zines and teaching people to make their own.
The TXST Zine Fest Instagram has tutorials on printing and folding zines. In addition to Instagram, TXST Zine Fest will have resources for students to create their own zine at the event.
“I think that when you have a medium that is so focused on humanity, there isn’t a need to have a skill level or a format,” Diaz said. “And I think that you get a community that really values humanity and wants to connect with each other.”
For more information about the TXST Zine Fest, visit its Instagram @txstzinefest.

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