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Because we ROCK!

On Monday in ART YARD Advanced Studio on Zoom Maraya Lopez presented ZINES in which we learned about the significant contribution that zines have had on community then we used this information to design a zine of our own. With this ambitions project most of us created mock ups for prototypes for the session and continued working during the week.

Maraya presenting on zoom

Maraya summarizes: “ I introduced the class to the world of zines. Students learned about the history and origins of zines. We also looked closely at the significant contribution that zines had on community throughout history. Students used this information to design a zine of their own. I also encouraged everyone to photocopy their final piece and mail it to the group. I hope to receive a few in the mail.


My current zine project, “What’s Not There” served as a direct inspiration for this class. Along with my recent discovery of “The Last Whole Earth Catalogue”, published between 1968 and 1972 by Stewart Brand. Also, a rare literary magazine called “Fire!!”, is now on view in the Harlem Renaissance exhibition at The Met Museum. The “little magazine” as described by its creators was published in 1926 by a group of Black creatives in Harlem to challenge the norms of the older Black generation while featuring younger authors.

Robert Ford (American, 1961–1994). Thing, no. 4, Spring 1991. Offset, saddle stitched, color offset wrappers, 10 5/8 x 7 7/8 in. (27 x 20 cm). Collection Steve Lafreniere. Photo: Brooklyn Museum, Evan McKnight

The term ZINE - (fanzine) was coined in a science fiction fanzine by Russ Chauvenet and popularized within science fiction fandom. In 1949 it entered the Oxford English Dictionary. Before the age of the internet and Instagram, dissidents, under-represented and marginalized groups have published their own opinion in leaflet and pamphlet form. Historically, zines have provided community for socially isolated peoples and groups through the ability to express and pursue common ideas and interests.


We learned a lot!!

Characteristics of a Zine

  • Non-professional

  • Non-official

  • Produced by enthusiasts of a particular culture phenomenon (such as literary or musical genre)

  • For the pleasure of others who share their interest.

  • Zines have cultural and academic value as physical traces of marginal communities where little of their history is documented.

  • Written in a variety of formats, including, desktop-published text, comics, collages, and stories.

  • Subject matter includes politics, poetry, art & design, ephemera, personal journal, social theory, single-topic obsession, and content far outside the mainstream to be prohibitive in traditional media. (Example, Boyd McDonald’s Straight to Hell long-running gay publication.

  • Can be one page or multiple pages.

Images from Copy Machine Manifestos: Artists Who Make Zines at Brooklyn Museum. Photos by Maraya Lopez.


Overview and origins

  • Late 19th/ early 20th century: Concept of zines traced back to the amateur press movement stated in Philadelphia amongst a small group of friends.

  • Intersected with Black literary magazines during the Harlem Renaissance and the subculture of science fiction fandom.

  • Popular graphic style associated with zines is influenced artistically and politically by the subcultures of Dada, Fluxus, Surrealism, and Situationism

Popular zines

  • 1775 - Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense

  • Benjamin Franklin’s literary magazine for psychiatric patients at a Pennsylvania hospital

  • The Dial by Margaret Fuller and Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • 1920s a group of Black creatives in Harlem created “Fire!!” a “little magazine.” Inspired by other “little magazine” Black authors. Contributions by Black writers, artist, and activists to the zine movement are often overlooked mostly because they had short runs and were organized by a single or small group of individuals.

  • 1970’s – Punk movement in London and a Renaissance of zine culture. The DIY aesthetic is presented, inspired by the working class.

  •  1990’s- Riot Grrrl Movement and 3rd Wave Feminism embraced zines as a platform to address issues such as rape, sexuality, and female empowerment.


I (Maraya) really enjoyed seeing Sigrid’s use of the computer to make an “April Fools” zine since zines are typically handmade. She appropriated images made by the intellectual avant-garde organization, Situationist International, for their use of play in their work. I look forward to receiving one in the mail!

Sigrid Dolan, Zine: Sign If I Can't


Marilyn’s zine was about a poem she had recently read.  The endearing drawings complimented the delicate edges of the cut paper.

Marilyn August, Zine: As Time Goes By (in progress)

Ed’s piece reminded me of covers from early science fiction fanzines. I think it would be fun to see a smaller version, like the size of sports trading cards that were once distributed in cigarette packages. 

Ed Rath, Zine: Behind the Mask

Abriel’s quirky zine was about soup! The cover was effective with a big tantalizing cup of soup ready to enjoy. I would love to see her finish and mail a copy to the group, especially if there is a recipe involved.

Abriel (Bob) Gardener, Zine: Make Yourself Some Soup

My (Maraya) zine was a commemoration of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, since my class happened to fall on March 25th, the day the tragedy occurred in 1911.

Maraya Lopez, Zine: Triangle Fire 311


Meridith created a funny piece about forgetting names and mis-naming people you know.  She included a poem by Diana Rickard, who has read her work for AYB Advanced Studio sessions. Meridith worked on her zine during the week and in the spirit of the session has mailed copies to the group and friends who appear in her text!

Meridith McNeal, Zine: And You Are?

I was delighted with the various creative mock ups and look forward to receiving them in the mail and hope students continue to make zines because they ROCK!"


Continuing the community support work proposed in Maraya's Wallpaper session in the our team meet after class. Maraya summarizes: "This week in Wallpaper conversations, the thought of, “Who is your community” entered my mind. This week we discussed topics such as how to navigate the art world as a professionals from the IRS’s standpoint. Karla has many opportunities coming her way as far as exhibitions. Marilyn is gaining insight into the world of art criticism by listening to Peter Schjeldahl, Hot Cold Heavy Light, Meridith asks for ideas on how to get better seen by galleries. She currently has two solo exhibitions in NYC,one at Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling and The Brooklyn Seltzer Museum. With all of these things happening, I am glad to have communities who support me and vice versa. It’s impossible to do anything alone. "


ART YARD Artist Jules Lorenzo captivated ART YARD Advanced Studio in person at our studio at BWAC with an excellently prepared session Whimsy and Wonder: The magic of children’s book illustrations and why they stick with us.

Sample children’s book cover art from Jules presentation.

Jules explains: “There’s so much that makes a great book stand out, from character design to the story itself. One of the most crucial aspects of what makes us drawn towards a specific book is the very first thing we see: The cover. From Scholastic book fairs to libraries, the connection you make with a book the second you lay your eyes on its cover is instantaneous.

For this week’s lesson, “Whimsy and Wonder,” we took a deep dive into childhood nostalgia through children’s book illustrations and character design. Students created cover art for fictitious children’s book titles that they were randomly assigned. Once they received their title, the students were encouraged to explore character design with a limited color palette as well as utilizing aspects of soft vs hard world building to craft their illustrations."

After a lively discussion inspired by an excellent PowerPoint presentation, Jules had us select a number, which generated a book title of Jules inventive imagination to be the title of the book for which we created a limited palette cover illustration. We listened to Robert MacFarlane's The Lost Spells, a poetry book for children, and the soundtrack of classical music from the movie Fantasia as we worked.


Naomi Bracho, The Day I Went to School in my Pajamas
Ajani Russell, Tiny Tad: A Ribbit-ing Adventure

Meridith McNeal, Pink Elephants on Parade
Jules Lorenzo, The Babysitter from Mars

Liv Collins, The Silly Spaghetti Monster

Ariel Abdullah, The Day the Crow Found The Keys

Jules concludes: "For a while now I’ve been fascinated with the artwork found in the children’s books I loved and how these images have not only shaped me, but also stuck with me for many years after. I truly think there’s such a magic in the stories and illustrations we hold near and dear to us from our youth. It transcends generations before and after us while also becoming a part of our identity. A safe haven of silly characters and wondrous adventures that we can find a piece of ourselves in.


Ajani’s piece garners a fan

Critique in action

My goal was to capture these same fantastical and heartwarming elements within our class session and I believe everyone did just that. "


Schools are on vacation this week. We will be back at ART YARD Art Matters at PS6 next week!


Other Art News


ART YARD Artist Karla Prickett is preparing for a big solo show at The Lobby Gallery at Peaceful Body and Wellness in downtown Salina of work she created in ART YARD Advanced Studio on Zoom. She sends photos in from her pre-exhibition framing frenzy:



You are encouraged to apply to participate in the second annual Valley Cottage Library’s Banned Book Trading Card Project. Last year ART YARD artists Marie Roberts, Fatima Traore, Candy Heiland, Eden-Nicole Moore and Meridith McNeal all participated. In addition to the deck of trading cards there was an exhibition of our work at the library!


You are invited to join me and ART YARD Teaching Artist / Art Therapist Jenn Dodson on Saturday March 30 from 2-4pm to see my exhibition Things That Happened at Sugar Hill Museum!


Tuesday April 2nd ART YARD Advanced Studio in person will attend ART YARD Artist Vee Tineo’s graduate school thesis exhibition, In The Fear Of The Unsaid @ Queen College, Klapper Hall at 5pm. Transportation: Vee suggests getting the J train at Broadway Junction, then at Jamaica take the Q25 bus to Queens College.



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