Local women seek to build community, foster creativity through zines

While still relatively underground, the “zine” scene of Phoenix is spreading its roots throughout the Valley, providing an opportunity for students to find outlets to explore and exhibit their creative sides. 

A zine is a small circulation, self-published work in which the creator can publish any and all types of content, such as writing, photography, art and many other printed mediums.

It can be anything from a publication focusing on a certain topic to a collection of different ideas. Marna Kay has been in the zine world for seven years.  She created B-Sides magazine after moving to Phoenix to collect and showcase the diversity in her community.

“There are so many underground artists, musicians and events in Phoenix that deserve recognition, and I wanted B-Sides to be a space for that,” Kay said.

Kay, who is the sole writer and designs the zine, said her inspiration for creating the zine stemmed from seeing how talented people are, and how that talent could build and connect a community. Trying to keep it as authentic and DIY as possible, Kay keeps B-Sides as a print only publication, selling and promoting it around local shops.

While B-Sides is more of a collection of different ideas, a lot of zines in Phoenix focus solely on one theme. Charissa Lucille used her passion for feminism and gender issues, as well as her background in journalism, photography and design to create Fem Static Zine, a Phoenix-based publication that focuses on fourth wave feminism.

“I wanted to create something that would be an all inclusive place for feminism to exist," Lucille said.  "I wanted all types of communities, such as the gay, trans, and non-binary ones, to be represented as well." 

Lucille has worked with ASU organizations like Woman as Hero, a student organization group that focuses on empowering women, speaking at round tables on important issues regarding women. 

Lucille said she has also participated in conferences at the University regarding digital and global feminism. Lucille said she accepts contributions from virtually anyone, a lot of which include students.

“While it started as sort of a DIY scrapbook project, Fem Static has become a place for activism and empowerment," Lucille said.  "And I am so amazed and blessed when I get submissions because it means that there are people in the community that believe in what I believe. That’s so important to me, and so I honor that by publishing what they send in."  

Fem Static isn’t the only local publication that writes about feminist issues. Hush Baby Collective is a collaborative zine, which focuses on the same themes. Ryan Mellor, the creator of Hush Baby, said she created the zine in response to the lack of female representation in the Phoenix art scene.

Much like Fem Static, Hush Baby is inclusive to all types of people, but it’s a more personal venture for Mellor.

“I started the zine as a form of self reflection, and from that I’ve built a small community," Mellor said.  "And although it has been growing in circulation, I still consider it a personal project.

Many submissions to Hush Baby come from students, Mellor said, and because it’s mixed media, she sees different types of writing, art and photography.

It is because of publications like these that zines have increased in popularity around the Valley, and all of the zine information can be found on Facebook here: B SidesFem Static Zine and Hush Baby Collective.

Related links:

Hush Baby Collective to release feminist zine on mental health awareness

Phoenix Zine Fair, a growing arts culture and DIY aesthetic

Reach the reporter at igonza11@asu.edu or follow @ivanagonz20

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