Hey guys! Welcome to this Tuesday’s Book Journey, where I’ll take you on a visual journey through some of the Bay Area’s new prints. This past weekend, I moseyed out across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco to go to the annual Art Book Fair, so here you’ll see what I saw so you can really get the vibe of the event and the importance of supporting the amazing zine makers and booksellers in your town!
The Art Book Fair was a fantastic event, with booksellers from the Bay, Los Angeles, even some East Coast and Canadian shops lining the corridor of the Minnesota Street Project, a modern gallery space with some truly incredible exhibitions tucked into the little rooms upstairs. It was an almost overcrowded space, difficult to navigate as people perused booths and stop-startted their way down the aisles. Imagine everyone awed, thumbing through pages like the books are artifacts, gently holding colleagues’ magnum opuses in their fingers. I always worried I might get them dirty.
As I walked through the maze of brightly colored risograph zines, prints, delicately bound essays and screenprinted totes, I found myself daydreaming about the life of a starving artist (a life I’m sure I’m inevitably bound to live at some point), romanticizing these mass productions and long hours, putting love into your work up until you stage it on the white table cloth of the fair tables.
It took me back to something a teacher once told me. In one creative writing class, my professor opened the floor to questions about the practicality of working as a modern writer. With her tattoo-laden arms, bleached bangs, and oozing DIY attitude, she answered the question just as I expected: I started writing a zine.
She immediately followed this up with the fact that, although she is proud of her place in the DIY scene, she cannot recommend this strategy for success. It was long, hard work, thankless hours of watching her sales numbers dwindle, forcing herself to develop new content while the old stuff just sat there, collecting dust. Zines are usually self-published or published by an artist collective, some of which I’ll point out here. It’s artist and author driven the whole way through, from idea inception to design schemes to printing endless copies for distribution. It is grueling work, although some of the most rewarding responses come from generating a process all on your own. So, I wanted to dedicate this blog post to boosting some of these hard-working artists’ visibility, turning you on to their awesome work and affording them the recognition they deserve.
I’m Annie, a recent UC Berkeley grad and publicity intern here at Art + Deco Agency. I’ll be your resident blogger, chatting with and about emerging voices in the literary industry and getting you started on your summer reading list. Catch me here every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday!