OKC Zine Fest celebrates do-it-yourself art and publishing 

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Once the domain of punk-rock enthusiasts and those seeking an alternative respite from the mainstream, the “zine” is making a comeback.

“It’s short for ‘magazine,’” said Clint Williams, organizer of the upcoming OKC Zine Fest. “A do-it-yourself, a self-published, book or magazine. It can be anything you want: photographs, poetry, art, comics.”

For Williams, zines provide an outlet for total creative expression.

“I think it’s just a way to have complete control over… what you want to release. I think that’s the appeal for a lot of people,” he said of their renewed allure.

Williams said he began making zines around 2011, after a hiatus from art.

“I quit drawing for several years after high school,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed making something tangible with my hands.”

Even in today’s internet-dominated, often-paperless world, the humble zine still has cultural and communal sway.

“I feel like print’s dying, but at the same time, maybe people want to hang on to that,” Williams said.

In their heyday, zines allowed for like-minded people and subcultures to connect with one another. Williams said that some larger print zines, such as Razorcake or As You Were, are more mainstream than some of the smaller, local zines.

“I network with a lot of people online about zines,” Williams said, “but I haven’t found a super-huge community as far as distribution goes.”

Zines continue to honor their origins.

“Most of the zines that I keep up with and follow are music- or punk-rock-related. I think it has to do with just the whole DIY aspect of it. People in punk bands typically book their own shows, their own tours, make their own fliers. [Zines are] a continuation of that.”

While Williams said he is able to sell his zines in the Plaza District and Chicago, financial security is not the reason he makes them.

“It’s definitely not about the money,” Williams said. “It’s just kind of nice to be able to create something and have it be whatever you want and be able to get it out there.”

Williams’ interest in zines has extended beyond making and selling them, which he has done for about four years. After he attended a zine fest last year at Holy Mountain, a zine and record store in Tulsa, inspiration struck.

“It got me interested in wanting to do the same thing here,” he said.

Williams began planning OKC Zine Fest 2016, which happens 1-5 p.m. Sept. 17 at Brass Bell Studios, 2500 NW 33rd St. Admission is free; vendors might be cash-only. An after-party will be at Blue Note Lounge, 2408 N. Robinson Ave. Doors open at 6 p.m., and music begins at 7 p.m. Entry is $5 but is free for those who held a table at OKC Zine Fest.

“I’d done a previous zine release at Brass Bell to coincide with their five-year anniversary,” Williams said of his location choice for the Zine Fest. “The response has been very good. We’re already looking at venues for next year.”

Williams said the venue will be completely full, as 23 tablers from Oklahoma City, Norman, Kansas City and Texas all display their works.

Williams said the event would feature “mostly comic and art-related zines” along with poetry.

Print headline: Zine scene, A planned OKC Zine Fest proves the continued popularity of the zine and DIY culture ,

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