Get Even More Visitors To Your Blog, Upgrade To A Business Listing >>

DIY Spotlight II: Mississippi Zine Queen Lucy Isadora

Tags: zines zine love

Zines are an artform rich in history.  From their 19th century origins through today’s flourishing culture, Zines have served as a means for folks to express themselves in print.  The allure of self-pressed zines lies within their DIY approach:  zines provide an affordable, accessible way to bring the lived experiences and opinions of a wide variety of writers and artists to the front.  Zines also tend to encompass a wide variety of themes and topics–so whether you’re into rock and roll, gardening, politics, or fast food, there’s probably something out there for your niche interest!

We had the privilege of chatting with Lucy Isadora, a Mississippi-based zine creator about her ever-expanding zine collection, her sources of inspiration, self-publishing in Mississippi, and why you should just the damn thing.

What drew you to making zines?   What was your first zine about?
i’d been reading zines for a long time- i bought my first one kind of unknowingly when i was 14, and then started reading maximum rock n roll when i was 18 and getting into punk for the first time. i also bought a zine from some comedians i liked that was about “back to school” and pranks and cute stuff like that. so i knew i liked them, and i knew they were easy to make, but it was hard to get up the courage to delve in; it’s not like knitting or playing the guitar where you learn the basics from youtube and then branch out, it’s an art form that’s completely changeable and subjective and has no rules.

the first zine i ever made was actually a collaboration zine i made with other students on my college’s campus called MILLSAPS NOW. i basically asked my friends to send me random scribbles, photos, anything that would be considered too silly/trashy/ugly/stupid for the real campus arts publication, and then i published it “anonymously”. i was obsessed with the song “hotline bling” at the time, so i made the cover look like that single cover, a pink background and “1-800-MILLSAPS-NOW” in white helvetica.

i actually think that submission-based zines like that are really great for first-timers, cuz it kind of takes the pressure off you to make The Most Amazing Work Ever and lets you curate a zine of lots of really cool stuff. i’ve made several like that.

How many zines do you own?
i’m really excited that you asked me this, because i JUST bought a filing cabinet to put all my zines in and catalogued most of my collection. current count is 143- but i have a bunch still in storage so i think 200 is a reasonable estimate. i tend to buy them in bulk when i go to radical bookstores or record stores or comic shops or other places that just have a bunch of zines, because no one close to me sells a lot of zines. even my old standby, goner records, has cut down on what they offer. i also get a lot as gifts from friends- when you become the “zine friend,” people just give you what they make. it rules.

Who are your biggest zine inspirations?
i really Love maximum rocknroll, although i don’t make anything about music really. i always buy cometbus when it comes out, because it’s amazing but also because it’s closer to what i really like to do, which is longer-form personal narrative writing zines. it’s tough to name people who are ~zine inspo~ to me, because i think very few people have a strong zine brand and i don’t tend to collect certain authors. my work is inspired by stuff i like and stuff that happens in my life.

i love looking at my collection to inspire my layouts and stuff. people come up with innovative ways of assembling zines that blow my mind all the time. people i meet at fests really inspire me- recently JC of “tributaries” zine, wing woman press, lynne monsoon of “butch nor femme“, and forever and always karina hagelin of “femme filth” zine.

What types of zines do you like to read?
i love perzines, AKA “personal zines” or zines about people’s lives. they’re beginning to make a comeback (recently there was a fest in california called “dear diary fest” totally dedicated to them) but they can be hard to find. the good ones are just like journals or casual facebook updates that just tell you little bits about the stuff people do every day. i love reading them from complete strangers and people i’ve never met. i have one i’m totally obsessed with from the early 2000s called “chatty pig”, i think i have the second issue. it’s got some very 90s-looking word clipart in it, and it’s just tales from this woman who works a random office job and hangs out with her friends. completely banal subject matter, but i eat it up! it’s written just like a letter to her friends- super informal, just talking about stuff she’s done recently. i find that kind of writing really difficult and admire people who can bang out perzines like that.

What’s your favorite zine that you’ve pressed and why?
this one is tough! i’d say they’re like my babies and i could never choose, but when you table with them at fests a lot and pitch them to people a lot, you slowly grow to hate them. especially when you write personal narrative and then time passes and you grow as a writer and a person, old stuff starts to look and read kind of bad. probably my favorite is “woo woo woo #1“, just because it was so fun to make and was made for the exclusive and pure reason of just wanting to review fast food with my BFF. it reads in that casual way that i like, because it’s just direct transcripts of conversations between me and my friend zach about fast food. we ate about 5 fast food meals in a couple weeks’ time, and it was terrible for our bodies but the zine is really good. we’re working on the second one right now and they’re definitely the most time-consuming one i make. this next issue will be printed, i hope, rather than just put up online like i did with #1. i love woo woo woo.

What kind of topics do you tend to be drawn to write about?
stuff that affects my life. i’ve written extensively about living in finland, fast food, mississippi politics, personal care, et cetera. pretty much whatever’s consuming my thoughts goes in a zine of some sort. i don’t bother writing much outside of what i know intimately because that’s really where my best writing is and it’s what i love sharing that part of me.

What separates zines from other literature, and why are they important to you?
ACCESSIBILITY. this is what i tell everyone about zines. they tend to be specific to countercultural movements (science fiction, punk, leftism, etc) and intended for widespread sharing. no one cool makes zines to get rich, they’re intended to be easy to obtain and share. anyone can make a zine, too, and you don’t need an editor or a publisher or an agent. you just need an idea and the materials to execute that idea on paper.

so much of zines is about cooperation and giving and doing what you can so that everyone gets to enjoy your work. there is certainly a newer movement of “art zine” type stuff that’s made on really fancy high-gloss paper with high budgets and stuff. kanye west made one. i think they’re nice, but they’re just art books co-opting zine language to be trendy and make no sense as an accessible medium. i’ve paid $25-30 for that kind of publication and they suck compared to the stuff i get for cheap direct from the zinester.

What’s the zine scene like where you live?
it’s just me here in jackson! some other folks here have made one-offs or zines to supplement larger projects, but no one i know of makes them as their primary form of expression. sometimes i get zines from the nice punks down in hattiesburg. i tend to travel to buy zines or meet other people who make them.

You’ve tabled at a couple of zine fests.  What’s that experience like?
so fun! it’s an excellent way to meet a million people who love zines in like an 8-hour timeframe. i really deeply love the process of figuring out how my table should look, setting up my little color-coordinated table covering, splaying my zines out all nice. i love talking to new people about zines and meeting people who make zines. and trading! i love trading. the best part of zine fests is when people ask if they can trade with you. fests are also supremely exhausting because you are meeting a million people in a pretty short timeframe. even just sitting and smiling as people walk by and saying hi to folks wears me out if i do it all day. having to rep your art and just hope people like it is definitely a struggle.

What motivates you to keep moving forward with this format?
i love it. it’s mostly just a mode of transportation for my ideas, and it’s the best way i know to get my ideas out there. it feels good to have a finished thing in your hands. it feels good when someone reads something i write and then follows me on instagram or adds me on facebook to tell me they love it. it’s such a special and personal thing for me, and i get to connect with folks over that. what a freakin gift!

How do you break out of a rut, or a period of writers’ block?
i try to just bang out something stupid. i love doing little one-sheet mini zines because you can finish them in a day and they can be about really silly stuff. that’s the point of zines- they can be silly or imperfect and still be great!

Do you have any advice for potential zine-makers?
just make one. please. stop talking about making one or planning on making one or saying you’ll make one and just make one. make one and then send it to me so i can put it in my filing cabinet. make one because i desperately want to read it. make a zine and make it now! you can borrow my long-arm stapler if you want. your zine is probably going to be amazing. i love you.

Interested in reading more? Check out Lucy’s issu and her Instagram!

This post first appeared on Broke And Beautiful • A Budget Lifestyle Blog Wi, please read the originial post: here

Share the post

DIY Spotlight II: Mississippi Zine Queen Lucy Isadora


Subscribe to Broke And Beautiful • A Budget Lifestyle Blog Wi

Get updates delivered right to your inbox!

Thank you for your subscription