Grid Zine Fest | Buzz Blog

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Grid Zine Fest

A chat with the organization before their release show this Friday.

Posted By on November 16, 2016, 2:23 PM

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In the worst of political times, we seem to get the best of art, literature, journalism and activism in our country. No better example of that can be found locally than in the zine culture, where even at the most recent Alt Press Fest we saw a great increase of locally-made publications. One of the recent additions to that culture is the Grid Zine Fest, which is currently working towards their first festival in April 2017. But before that, the group is organizing small shows and benefits, like the release show and bake sale happening this Friday night at Daley's Clothing. Today we chat with organizers Natalie Allsup-Edwards, Amy Childress, Tim Guthrie and Juli Huddleston about its founding and the details of this weekend's event. (All pictures provided courtesy of the Grid Zine Fest.)


Hey, gang! First thing, tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Natalie: I am an artist and zine enthusiast. I do a whole lot of different arty things around tow: the Hand Drawn Photo Booth, Local Artist Sticker Machine, I sometimes draw for SLUG, and I also paint and make stamps for fun. I love to incorporate stamps and lino prints into my zines.

Juli: I’m an archivist, comix creator and zine lover. I’ve found ways to incorporate zines into most aspects of my life; a coworker and I recently started a zine collection at the Marriott Library at the University of Utah. We partner with professors to use zines in their classrooms. It's been great!

Tim: I work as a designer and illustrator for Contact Design and Schawel+Coles in downtown Salt Lake City. When I’m not at work, you can find me working on freelance illustration and lettering, doodling/arting nonstop or skateboarding around town—all with my cats.

Amy: I am an Associate Librarian for the Salt Lake City Public Library and a writer and Book Artist. I love to spend my time outside and a lot of my writing and zines are influenced by nature, especially trees.

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How did each of you become attracted to zine culture?

Natalie: My dad is a writer and used to publish a zine called Office Number One before the internet was around. So I grew up with some familiarity. I made my first zine in high school, in collaboration with my best friend Jessica Vasquez, which we distributed to our friends. It was really goofy, all hand-cut and pasted. But for no experience, kind of nicely done.

Tim: Skateboarding introduced me to the punk-rock scene, where it’s DIY-or-die, and so I jumped in and attached myself to it all in order to survive: shirts, patches, stick-and-pokes, etc.

Amy: I was first introduced to zines through literary chapbooks. I was part of Salt Lake City’s spoken word community for several years and made my first zine/chapbook during that time.

What were some of the first zines you read, both locally and abroad?

Natalie: My godfather and lifelong babysitter was the first contributor to my zine collection. He introduced me to Comet Dog (which is very hard to find!) and gave me some Moonlight Chronicles, which were very inspiring to my aesthetic; the author is a traveller/camper whose content-generating travels are funded by Simple Brand Shoes. We keep up the tradition of zine swaps even though he lives in Texas. He has made me some one-of-a-kind original zines exclusively for me, which I cherish.

Juli: The first zine I read, or at least the one that sticks out to me the most, was Alex Wrekk’s Dear Utah in 2003. It is a small zine about the idea of “home” and how a place can influence you, and stick with you, even after you leave, almost like the ghost of a past relationship. At the time, I was preparing to move away for college, and I connected with Alex’s writing on a very personal level. Alex lives in Portland and was from Salt Lake City, so it was very special to read a zine that referenced places I had been to, and mirrored how I spent my teenage years, especially as I was preparing to leave. I actually made a zine in a similar vein this year, as a loving nod to Alex.

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Did any of you make zines prior to forming the fest?

Natalie: Yes! I’ve made loads of zines ranging from composting tips, poems and stories about my cat, tiny food coloring books (sold in the sticker vending machine) and some that were just xeroxes of clipped doodles from my school notes. I think they are so fun and approachable. I love to make a zine in a burst of inspiration in one evening, make a late night trip to Kinko’s and prepare a big stack to mail or pass out to friends the next day. There is something really satisfying about the immediacy and longevity of sharing a zine. I will read a zine I like a thousand times and keep in in my curated collection.

Juli: I’ve been making zines off and on since I was a teenager. I make a zine about my favorite water park, Raging Waters (now known as Seven Peaks Salt Lake), and I’ve started making more comics, usually scary stories.

Tim: I am more of the admirer. Zines and the culture surrounding them held my interest, but besides doing single frame comix or illustrations I’ve never produced a full-length zine. I am currently working on a few all at once and hope to have them out and about soon. Check your local gutter and trash can soon.

Amy: I’ve been making zines for the past five years. I love mini books and mail. Most of my zines are miniature zines and mini packages of zines and ephemera.

How did you all meet each other and become friends?

Natalie: I met Juli through a mutual friend several years ago. She emailed me about organizing a zine festival and we all sort of found each other over time as the vision progressed.

Tim: Being a new resident of the great Salt Lake City, I was scanning the city for organized events that were of interest to me, and came across a Grid Zine Fest bake sale and reading. YES! I was so excited to come across this event and was ecstatic leading up to the night of. That night was great, with so many talented artists and writers showcasing their work and ability. After eating a few delicious handmade treats and listening to some great readings, I approached Juli, Amy and Natalie about volunteering my time to help out with organizing and they—for whatever reason—agreed to let me help. And now here I am.

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What made you decide to form Grid Zine Fest?

Natalie: I mostly am interested in uniting all the zinesters in Salt Lake City and surrounding. I know they’re out there, and I wanted to find a good way to connect to everyone and share more, build a stronger zine community.

Tim: I had not a hand in the formation of it, but I volunteer my time because I truly value the independent publishers and artists who like to share and distribute their work on such an underappreciated medium. Helping bring this fest to life will encourage others to produce and distribute their work, and create a greater artist community that has already begun to manifest around Salt Lake City.

What kind of content are you on the look for when it comes to zines?

Amy: For the festival in April we’re looking for all types of zines! Aside from adhering to our safer spaces policy, we’re not a curated show. We want as many people as we can fit in our (soon to be announced) venue. The best part about zine culture is the wide variety of topics covered, and how the zine will speak to different people. A particular zine may not resonate at all with me but may be something very special to the next person. We want to make sure that we help people find these connections by having a wide variety of diverse zine makers.

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Tell us about the zines and content that will be released this Friday.

Juli: The general theme is the best part about fall and winter, but that can be broadly interpreted. We have poetry, prose, artwork, pictures and doodles. It's great! I love seeing the weird and wonderful pieces that have been submitted. It is full color, with a hand silk screened cover.

Natalie: This is a collaborative zine with pieces from lots of different types of creators. For us, it's an opportunity to engage our audience and have something that the community made to share with the community! I think making a one or two-page submission shows emerging zinesters that it can be really fun and totally approachable to make something and share it.

What made you choose Daley's as the home for the show?

Natalie: We try to branch out of our little bubbles as best we can manage. We’ve had events library branches in Glendale and Marmalade, another bake sale at Diabolical Records and a bingo night at The Leonardo downtown, and we wanted to get into some other parts of the city. The folks at Daley’s are so nice and encouraging and even offered us a Grid-exclusive shelf to sell zines to help fund-raise!

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What will be available during the bake sale, and what other stuff will you be doing at the show?

Natalie: There will be different homemade treats for all types of eaters. I am making vegan, gluten-free chocolate-covered marzipan, and I’ll try my hand at vegan samosas. I’m also making pao de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread).

Juli: I’m bringing apple hand pies, which are my specialty, and vegan donuts!

Tim: I’ll be investing a few hours into making some custard buns! So delicious and sweet, but not too sweet.

What are the plans for the fest in April?

Natalie: It’s going to be really great! Zinesters selling their zines, zine swaps, workshops, coffee (which I always look forward to). I’m trying to convince my sister to come from Texas, and my original zine collaborator friend from high school, Jessica, to come from New Mexico. Who knows, maybe I will table too, and show some of my zines

Juli: We’re dreaming big for our first fest. In addition to having a day-long event with tabling, we also want to have workshops and panels. The topics for these workshops will come from suggestions from community members. We want to provide a place to amplify voices and issues that are affecting people in zine-making communities. I went to a handful of zine fests around the U.S. this year, and the panels I sat in on were incredible. Chicago Zine Fest had a great panel called “Permission Not Granted: Women of Color and the Politics of Zines,” Olympia Zine Fest had one on disability and zines, Phoenix Zine Fest had panels on teaching with zines, workshops for kids—all so great. We hope to have equally great panels. If any folks have an idea for a workshop or panel, send it our way! We’d love to hear from you. And, of course, there will be an after-party to celebrate.

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What can we expect from all of you in 2017?

Juli: Before our main event in April, we’ll keep having our monthly Zine Club (a low-key hangout), as well as other fundraisers and zine readings. Our first festival will be held April 8, 2017, which we’re very excited about.

Tim: You all can expect that we will greet you with open arms and minds when you come to an event and want to browse through all of the amazing art and works we’ve collected and contributed to. Excited to meet you all!

Natalie: We have learned so much this year about planning and organizing. I hope that we’ll keep up the group and make it a tradition for 2018. So look out!

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