The Knox Art/Zine Club seeks to foster an informal, inclusive art environment on campus.
On Jan. 29, the Art/Zine Club will hold its first meeting of the year. The meeting will begin at 5 p.m. in the CFA Drawing Studio, and all those who embrace creativity and artistic experimentation in their lives are welcome.
Although many Knox students may be unfamiliar with the concept of a zine, the genre encompasses many of the qualities that the college champions: innovation, independence and activism.
Junior Carmen Ribaudo, the informal president of Art/Zine club, defines a zine as “a self-published or a homemade magazine. Mostly they’re made using a copy machine.”
“They’re made cheaply. There are no limitations on what they can be about,” Ribaudo said.
The zine emerged on the stage of American culture in the early 20th century, and has been associated with a number of movements (pulp, punk, riot grrrl notable amongst them). Subsequently, the genre has expanded to incorporate an almost infinite array of subjects Ñ art, literature, politics, comics and personal accounts, which function much like the confessional.
Deeply informed by and entrenched in DIY culture, zines act as forums for underground social and political movements. Self-publishing has also provided a recourse for artists hoping to gain exposure independent of the gallery and exhibit system. The Art/Zine Club hopes to revitalize this rich history at Knox, where zine culture has flourished in the past.
Ribaudo hopes to increase visibility and awareness of this culture.
“Seymour Library has a zine library, which I don’t think a lot of people know about,” she said.
In an effort to further cement Zine Club’s presence on campus, Ribaudo chose to support the unification of Zine Club and Art Club.
“Last year, I was going to art club and art club was pretty small, and leadership was kind of shaky. So we decided to combine the two clubs,” Ribaudo said.
Art Club and Zine Club cohered fairly easily, which enabled the student members to focus on facilitating the creation of zines and other art projects.
“The purpose of the zine workshops is to show people you can make a zine in an hour. It’s not intimidating. It can be a quick thing that you do for fun, and then mail to your friends who are in college in other states,” Ribaudo said.
Although the newly consolidated group was active on campus last year, Art/Zine Club took a hiatus during the fall of 2014.
“Both of us [ Ribaudo and former co-leader, Carolyn Agnes Dussault] had emergencies at the beginning of the term, so it took us a few weeks to recover from that. By the time we had our personal lives figured out, we didn’t have time to do a club,” Ribaudo said.
Dussault, who was Ribaudo’s partner in further establishing the club on campus, left Knox to pursue art in New York, but Ribaudo believes she will continue to play an active role in Art/Zine Club.
“I’m hoping that, because she’s in New York, she’ll have a lot of insights about what’s going on there, and hopefully she’ll be able to send us some zines she picks up there,” Ribaudo said.
The Art/Zine Club encourages student experimentation and independent projects. It endeavors to create a casual environment in which one can pursue his/her own artistic interests without regard for academic standards.
“Everyone is welcome. You don’t have to be an artist. As long as you are interested, and feel energized by creativity, then I think that you will find something there,” Ribaudo said.