ASU celebrates Phoenix Zine Festival

Students and faculty attended the second annual Phoenix Zine Festival

ASU students and alumni had a strong presence at the second annual Phoenix Zine Festival on Sunday, Oct. 22 at Unexpected Art Gallery in downtown Phoenix.

Zines are self-published, short-form niche magazines. They sometimes deal with controversial topics not seen in mainstream media.

Kit Abate, a 2016 graduate of ASU, tabled at the event. She worked with a group of three other alumnae to create a photography zine called Femme Fotale. 

“We were bemoaning the fact that there were not enough outlets for us as women photographers,” Abate said. “So we decided to just do it ourselves, and that’s the story of how Femme Fotale came about.”

There have been four volumes of Femme Fotale so far, featuring selected photographs centered around a single theme. Their latest issue, Leafless, focuses on the human form and showcases images from over 45 photographers across the globe. 

The volumes are printed through a local printer, but the rest of the work of curating and layout is done by the women. 

Rebecca Fish Ewan, an associate professor of landscape architecture at ASU, brought an antique printing press to the event for participants to use to create personalized letters. 

“They fill in the blanks and they can send it to whoever, to a friend, just to make them happy,"   Ewan said. “I like the form, I like how immediate it is.”

She created her first zine, 'GRAPH(feeties)', in 2016, as a submission-based collection of words and artwork about walking, and she said she is always working on new material. 

“My latest one, I just made this week, is Drawing for Scribes. A lot of writers are afraid to draw, so this is a little workbook to make drawing less scary,” Ewan said. 

She also has a zine titled Dear Luna, about a childhood friend who passed away. Her new book, centered around the same story, is called "By the Forces of Gravity," and will come out June 2018. 

Rachel Leket-Mor, an open stacks collections curator for Hayden Library, was also at the event. 

She said that Hayden Library is planning to catalog a number of zines to create a separate collection after the library's renovations. But the cataloging process for zines is difficult, she said. 

“Because libraries are so focused on academic materials, zines represent a challenge for catalogers,” Leket-Mor said. “Obviously they don’t have an ISBN number,  sometimes they don’t have a place of publication, the year of publication, the author, the title. They’re an unexpected kind of print material.”

Leket-Mor said she began gathering zines in Israel, starting with a large collection of Hebrew books that grew to include zines. 

For the library’s collection, she selects zines that focus on Southwest and Arizona living, she said. 

The collection has about two dozen zines so far. 

“We’re moving into whatever students are interested in, and obviously ASU students are interested in zines,” she said. 

Reach the reporter at and follow @rspiess98 on Twitter. 

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