We Make Zines

a place for zinesters - writers and readers

I have a bookshelf full of zines that for one reason or another I do not require anymore. In many instances it's because I've got doubles or have read & enjoyed the zines already and would like to pass them on to someone else. The latter reason is why I started a zine distro: to pass on zines that I terribly enjoyed.

The opinion that I am asking of you good zine people is, is it OK for me to sell these at a zine fair at very cheap prices? I feel it's similar to the way I would definitely feel OK selling books off that I have read or records that I am done with but for some reason I feel slightly differently about zines - will people see this as 'wrong'?

I look forward to your thoughts & will endeavour to answer any clarification.

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Emma: That's really messed up if you gave your art teacher your painting and she sold it. I mean, I would punch her in the face if I were you.
I don't think it's okay to sell somebody else's zines. Giving them away in a free box or sending grab bags for the cost of postage is fine with me, but if I ever saw anybody trying to sell my zines, I'd be really, really pissed.
Many people have artworks that they own purely because they will mature in value. That's what an art collector is. Plus, Emma's work is beautiful so no doubt her art teacher just wanted to share it around.

Lauren Arcade said:
Emma: That's really messed up if you gave your art teacher your painting and she sold it. I mean, I would punch her in the face if I were you.
I wouldn't sell them. The whole nature of independent publishing, and someone putting their blood, sweat and tears into a work of 'art' (whether or not it's very good!), requires absolute integrity and respect and honour. I think money corrupts in the sense that it changes the worth of things. I don't always understand why it does, but I do have the gut feeling that it does, all the same. The only circumstances under which I'd do it would be at the request - perhaps merely the consent when asked (I haven't thought this one through) - of the zine maker, and 100% of the asking price would go to them, no matter the overheads I incurred. The nature, goodwill, difference in the world of zinedom is one of the last heartening things left in this world, and introducing capitalism into the mix strikes me as inconsistent with what a reader should expect between the zine covers. And I'm a realist, for what it's worth, not an idealist.

I have a real problem with people making a profit from zines as well. I don't always disapprove, necessarily, but I do have a problem with it. Covering costs, including petrol, stall fees, postage, photocopies, staples, etc. = fine. Rounding it up to an even, easy-to-work-with price = also fine. Profit = bizarre. I'm not saying it's absolutely or always wrong. But I am saying, this is how I feel.

My quandary lies along similar lines, and perhaps I should start a convo about it. In fact, I think I will!
Didn't really bother me.

Ever since I was a kid, ADD has helped me be a very prolific artist/crafter. I make so much stuff that if I didn't learn to deal with parting with it, I wouldn't be able to move in my house. As it is, I sort of just manage to walk the vaguely tidy tightrope.

It was wierd to hear that she had sold the work I had given her, but at the same time I got a strange thrill that someone wanted to buy something that I had made. That kind of rush keeps you going when otherwise you would give up and work a normal job and have some actual money :P The more people that are out there seeing your stuff the better. I don't really care how it happens, so long as I eventually get to a stage where I can cakl myself an artist and not feel like a bit of a wanker :P

Lauren Arcade said:
Emma: That's really messed up if you gave your art teacher your painting and she sold it. I mean, I would punch her in the face if I were you.
Aww stop it, you're making me blush :P

Bird in the Hand said:
Many people have artworks that they own purely because they will mature in value. That's what an art collector is. Plus, Emma's work is beautiful so no doubt her art teacher just wanted to share it around.

Lauren Arcade said:
Over the years I have seen this issue in zines come up a lot. I have also increasingly seen the fine art vs. zines argument. I don't know, it just rubs me the wrong way. In another forum thread someone brought up the idea of selling or trading zines to being a sort of social contract and that resonates with me. I don't create zine for them to be collectors objects or consumables. I create zines to sell or trade with peers and to be enjoyed for what the reader gets from them.

I personally have some serious issues with the idea of fine art where the main worth of an object is not intrinsic to the item but only in the value or potential value of who created it and what monetary value can be gained in the future.
In another forum thread someone brought up the idea of selling or trading zines to being a sort of social contract and that resonates with me.

That was me, I think, and I was so glad someone agreed with me on that point because it might've sounded a bit idealistic, or too distinct from the reality of the world we live in, especially the Western, capitalist world. But I meant it really seriously. There are few free/low-cost things of value left in the world, but there are some good ones: the beach, libraries, parks, and zines. Social contracts, faith, respect, integrity, etc. are relevant to all four. It's beautiful!

I personally have some serious issues with the idea of fine art where the main worth of an object is not intrinsic to the item but only in the value or potential value of who created it and what monetary value can be gained in the future.

Me too. A classic corruption of the concept: money market types who buy - then hermetically seal and store - fine art, keeping it out of public view. And all for investment and insurance purposes. Go invest in something else!
YOu should go to the chat on the mail page and we can talk about it more!
This is going to be a bit of an essay, but I thought I would try to clarify my position on zines and fine art.

My zines and my art are intrinsically tied together, because I am an artist making zines, but that doesn't mean that they are the same thing. My first zine "Creatures and Dreams" was created because my saturday morning art class (kids 6-14) wanted a book of my drawings, done for them throughtout the term. I made them each a copy, then a few people asked if they could have a copy, then I decided to make a few and sell them at my market stall.

I didn't even know that I had technically made a zine, because I didn't really know what a zine was. Now that I have joined We Make Zines, been to TINA and chatted to Sticky people, I am a lot better educated.

So here's what I have learned today. Like any medium, there are purists who take their art very seriously. Some people seem to make zines on obscure subjects and only produce a couple of issues. Others make them for Uni, for work, a group of friends throws somethings together, but apparently poetry zines are the bottom of the barrel and are not accepted by many distros. Who knew.

This morning I went to a place called Octapod and helped them catalog 10 years worth of zines. Actually, when I say catalog, I mean read voraciously and discuss, etc. The scope of subject matter alone was insane, just so much paper.. and dust, lots of dust.

So yeah, I like zines now, a lot more than I did before, and I am definitely going to keep making them.

As for art, my perspective is as follows. I am not in this for the accolades. I don't have deep and meaningful descriptions for what I do, I just make stuff that I like, stuff that I hope others would like. The only ethos behind my small business, Emerald Arts, is to create artworks, soft toys and activities (paper dolls, plush making, origami) that kids could afford on the day or save up for. So by it's nature, that aspect of my artwork is for the masses. But it's not about how much money it will be worth one day, it's about kids having something to do during the school holidays.


Even my large scale sculptures, I do not make because one day they could be worth a lot of money. I do it because that idea is in my head. Very few working artists that I know of even think about things like that, "oooh I wonder if I'll ever be as famous as Picasso" because we're too bloody busy working two part time jobs and giving workshops on the weekends. Generally, the only people talking about who will be the next artistic superstar (Chinese residency very helpful) are the auctioneers, dealers, collectors, not generally artists themselves.

Not saying we mind getting our names out there, getting noticed, talked about, but mostly it's really hard work making a living being an artist, and any little bit that can help, got to give it a go.

Not sure if that clafiries anything, but there you go.


Alex Wrekk said:
Over the years I have seen this issue in zines come up a lot. I have also increasingly seen the fine art vs. zines argument. I don't know, it just rubs me the wrong way. In another forum thread someone brought up the idea of selling or trading zines to being a sort of social contract and that resonates with me. I don't create zine for them to be collectors objects or consumables. I create zines to sell or trade with peers and to be enjoyed for what the reader gets from them.

I personally have some serious issues with the idea of fine art where the main worth of an object is not intrinsic to the item but only in the value or potential value of who created it and what monetary value can be gained in the future.
Yeah that's a really good point, we call them vault-ures in Newcastle. Utter wankers.



lofipi said:
In another forum thread someone brought up the idea of selling or trading zines to being a sort of social contract and that resonates with me.

That was me, I think, and I was so glad someone agreed with me on that point because it might've sounded a bit idealistic, or too distinct from the reality of the world we live in, especially the Western, capitalist world. But I meant it really seriously. There are few free/low-cost things of value left in the world, but there are some good ones: the beach, libraries, parks, and zines. Social contracts, faith, respect, integrity, etc. are relevant to all four. It's beautiful!

I personally have some serious issues with the idea of fine art where the main worth of an object is not intrinsic to the item but only in the value or potential value of who created it and what monetary value can be gained in the future.

Me too. A classic corruption of the concept: money market types who buy - then hermetically seal and store - fine art, keeping it out of public view. And all for investment and insurance purposes. Go invest in something else!
I typed a long response to this and then it was lost to the internets!

I was never under the impression that people created art because of its possible future value, that just seems silly. I would hope that people create art because it is a necessary form of self expression. I have serious issues with the art industry trading art like stocks. I would never want to take part or have my art be a part of that cycle.

As far as zines go I see them as more than just paper. I see zines as being involved in a community of peers. When someone chooses to disregard the desires of people in that community I don't necessarily feel the need for recourse, I just feel bad for them for not being able to participate in the zine community of awesome-ness.

Emma Stronach said:
This is going to be a bit of an essay, but I thought I would try to clarify my position on zines and fine art.


As for art, my perspective is as follows. I am not in this for the accolades. I don't have deep and meaningful descriptions for what I do, I just make stuff that I like, stuff that I hope others would like. The only ethos behind my small business, Emerald Arts, is to create artworks, soft toys and activities (paper dolls, plush making, origami) that kids could afford on the day or save up for. So by it's nature, that aspect of my artwork is for the masses. But it's not about how much money it will be worth one day, it's about kids having something to do during the school holidays.


Even my large scale sculptures, I do not make because one day they could be worth a lot of money. I do it because that idea is in my head. Very few working artists that I know of even think about things like that, "oooh I wonder if I'll ever be as famous as Picasso" because we're too bloody busy working two part time jobs and giving workshops on the weekends. Generally, the only people talking about who will be the next artistic superstar (Chinese residency very helpful) are the auctioneers, dealers, collectors, not generally artists themselves.

Not saying we mind getting our names out there, getting noticed, talked about, but mostly it's really hard work making a living being an artist, and any little bit that can help, got to give it a go.

Not sure if that clafiries anything, but there you go.


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