Sticky Institute Presents: The Festival of the Photocopier Zine Fair

The atmosphere was buzzing as I ardently walked into the Meat Market on Sunday afternoon. Dwarfed by the venue’s tall, arched ceilings, I slowly meandered my way through a sea of colourfully decorated trestle tables to join the motley-crew crowds, admiring and purchasing zines, fresh off the press. 

This weekend marked the annual Festival of the Photocopier Zine Fair, with about 100 stalls celebrating the DIY medium of zines. Australia’s largest zine fair gives zine makers and independent publishers a platform on which to show off their art with the world in an exclusive two day event. 

The annual fair is curated and run by the team at Sticky Institute – an entirely volunteer-run shop and resource devoted entirely towards zines. Situated in the pink-tiled, Degraves Subway Campbell Arcade, Sticky sells zines on behalf of zine makers as well as provides a space and tools that assist zine makers in creating their own titles; resources such as photocopier, long-armed staplers, typewriter, guillotine, etc.

Applications to join the festival are accessible and free for all. Whether you are an established artist with an array of published works, or a teenager with an unwavering passion for creativity from within the four walls of your bedroom, you are eligible to run your own stall at the fair and sell your art.

Our own RUSU Communications Officer, Felicia ran her own stall on Saturday with a plethora of beautiful zines, stickers and prints.

“The Festival of the Photocopier is such an amazing event to meet so many talented local artists and creatives, and I was so glad I could be there,” Felicia says. ”It was a big struggle to get everything prepared on time, spending 15 hour days alongside work, printing, cutting, folding and hand stitching over 500 sheets of paper. Although it was exhausting, I took pride in the DIY culture of zine-making and it was so fulfilling to see my art come to life as handmade books, prints and stickers. It was all worth it to have old friends come visit my table and to meet so many people who saw value in my art and supported my passion. Can’t wait for the next zine fair.”

This was my first experience at the zine festival and as you would at any other sort of fair, all artists’ zines can be browsed and flicked through at your own pace. I, myself, spent a total of two hours stopping at each table, to speak with the artists about their work and practice – as well as compliment them on their eccentric clothes. I left each table with the warmth that comes after fruitful conversation and walked to the next with the eagerness akin to that of a child. I left the event with an empty wallet; cash-less and extremely happy.  

It was a physical celebration of grassroots art, angst, youth and unhinged creativity. That’s what zine culture epitomises. It fosters a supportive community of collaboration and subversive innovation. After attending, I immediately turned to my socials to follow and support all the artists I had met. I was flooded with a desire to go home and start creating again, and I know many others felt the same.

Article written by Beatrice Madamba

Header image by @thomdoodles_

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