Despite myself, I’ve been enjoying playing around on Instagram lately. There are a lot of zinesters there, and I’ve made a lot of connections and seen a lot of zines and generally it’s been a good time. Which I kinda hate to be honest, because I don’t like the model of Instagram–algorithms, bs tagging systems, weird restrictions on links, appearance-focused content, and how it feels almost mandatory to have one as an artist. I’m trying to just repeat to myself that for me it’s a “bulletin board”. It’s one way to keep abreast of a bunch of cool zine things happening–but it’s just as important to seek out connections with zinesters who are NOT on Instagram, and to share the news from zine Instagram on other places!
Anyway, the Garden Gnome Zine Fair is happening in Lynchburg, VA this weekend, and on their Instagram they’ve been showing off the zinesters and artists who will be tabling there by highlighting their responses to the question “How do you help the Earth with your art?” That question has really grabbed at me. I’m thinking I’ll write a blog post with a thorough response, but one way I think I can help (am helping?) the Earth is by doing Free Zine Friday. I guess there’s the more “tangible” aspect of sharing zines digitally and not just traditionally, which saves paper and ink (although I actually have a lot of thoughts on that, because it’s often easy to dismiss the negative effects digital media has on the Earth by requiring more energy and rare materials in electronics). But I think the greater help is that zines connect us with each other, they foster empathy and love and kindness and action, and this is what we really need inside us to be able and willing to take action for the Earth. Anyway, clearly I’ve got a lot of thoughts on this, so I’ll have to do that blog post after all!
In the meantime, I’ve chosen a few zines that are particularly Earth Day appropriate. Hope you enjoy!
by the KLR Collective
I want to start with the cover here. There’s context for of all of the photos on the cover in the zine, and this alone captures the realities and truths of ecological protection. They’re those stories with developers and government officials that are almost cartoonishly evil in their actions–destroying old growth forests to literally put in parking lots and temporary highways.
The zine is really a picture of building strong relationships with forests and natural spaces, in this case the Carolinan forest, getting to know it, and what that really means. It’s beautiful and no matter where you are, it shows you how you can get to know nature, and love it, in every expression. It’s summed up pretty well by this quote from the zine:
“To know, to truly know the forest is to love it, and whoever loves it will fight for its welfare.”
44 pages, color
by cheering and waving press
There are like 21 issues of new hearts new bones (all available to read for free!), but I’ve picked this one in particular because I think it’s most appropriate for Earth Day–it’s about respect for nature, joy, anti-consumerism, art, freedom. I mean, it’s got a TON of themes in it, and they’re all about liberation and an underlying connection with yourself as a being on Earth.
nhnb is a big giant collage of drawings, magazine clippings, ads and junk printed out, literal garbage, handwritten text, copies books and mags, I mean, it’s amazing. What’s really awesome about it is how it’s all integrated together, everything put together entirely based on what it communicates and not the type of medium.
24 pages, color, website here
Okay, so hopefully by now we all know that lawns are very environmentally-unfriendly (if you don’t, you definitely need to read this zine!). I’ve been anti-lawn for years, but I still got a lot out of this super short but thoroughly informative zine! There’s a brief history of lawns that is just fascinating and has sent me off on a research trail already. And it offers suggestions for what to do with your (and others’) lawns.
Also, this seems like a small thing, but you know what I totally appreciate about this zine? It acknowledges that lawns are so deeply ingrained in American culture that just letting it grow is sometimes not a possibility because you could face fines from the city, and gives you other options that could work for you. I totally appreciate this because growing up our neighbors were constantly complaining to the city about our lawn (which btw wasn’t even overgrown, it just had dandelions), so “just leave it alone” is definitely not always viable.
Just so you know, the PDF I’ve linked is imposed, so it’s arranged for print, so the pages will appear slightly out of order on your screen. Luckily for this particular zine I think it’s pretty readable no matter what order the pages are in.
8 pages, b&w
See you next week!