The Toronto zine scene evolves
Those worried the digital blog killed the zine can sleep safe at night. The fourth annual Zine Dream small press art fair was in full force at the Tranzac on Sunday afternoon. "I'm not concerned about zines disappearing" says Zine Dream organizer Jesjit Gill, "do it yourself publishing is very accessible and people will always want to express themselves."
Zines may not be a dying art, but at Zine Dream, the definition of the traditional zine is certainly being stretched. Gill's background in screen-printing allows for a more fine art and design bent than other zine fairs. This year at Zine Dream there were over forty vendors sporting everything from published art books, records, silk screened t-shirts to homemade spices. "Any kind of creative endeavor is welcome here", says Gill and yes that includes homemade spices.
The Tranzac is the permanent home to The Toronto Zine Library that houses and preserves zines. Patrick Mooney, member of the Toronto Zine library collective, has noticed that over the years the Toronto zine scene has shifted its focus away from diary-esque and confessional zines and more towards fine art, photography and design. Despite this shift he agrees zines will always be here on some level and that the more artistic driven zines win out over their digital blog competitors because fine art is harder to replicate online.
Along with a shift in zine style is a shift in the motives behind zine publication. Most of the vendors share a common satisfaction in creating art that is tangible, accessible and more powerful in person, yet there is also a new sense of entrepreneurialism and making a product for a larger market.
No Fun Press markets their photography zines as a flagship product under their publishing house. Their zines have a Vice magazine edginess and aesthetic to them. Their DIY aesthetic looks professional and speaks to a unified brand. Their table is equal parts product and equal parts marketing. One of the younger vendors at the fair, they represent a new generation of entrepreneurs.
Writing by Lily Ames. Photos by Ross McAuley.
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