At our space on 4th street, we have created a cohort of visual artists, writers, musicians, makers, skateboarders, and ice cream salesmen. The content for our publications are primarily compilations of murals that we have painted in the city of Long Beach, chapbooks of individual poetry, albums and cassettes of local music, and original artwork and prints for sale. Our work is community based.
We are currently creating a lot of collaborative work using traditional screen printing techniques, hand painted signs, murals, photography, and stencils. Our zines have become compilations of these selected works.
Initially, the zines we were making were chapbooks; small collections of poetry. They were printed as part of multiple writing organizations in Chicago, IL, Madison, WI, and Long Beach, CA. As we continued our practice of making self publications, we found that the language of screen printing and stencils could also be seen as independent print techniques to showcase.
We have a storefront on 4th street as well as a large studio space behind the shop. In this space, we encompass skaters, screen printers, muralists, carpenters, and music producers. This space has become a collaborative endeavor where many of Long Beach's young local talent meet. Generally, if a work is being produced, be it music, visual work, or a physical object, we will record the process, add ideas to the production, and support the project. This process has created a ton of content to use for publications.
Independent publishing is the pulse of the community. We have seen here at our studio that the communities most marginalized have created their own forms of sharing their personal narratives. Young people in our community look for outlets for both their stories and creative development; we advocate for these local businesses, artists, skaters, and musicians through documentation and education.
We think that the communities who have established the culture of independent publishing will continue to advocate for themselves, but we also see a takeover of major ivory towers through these art forms. We see that hip-hop, punk, skate, and the brown and working class political movements will lead the innovation of higher education, music production, theater, fine art, film and literature.
My first zine was called Left Hand and it was a compilation of poems about bathrooms.
We enjoy the design and layout process. But the problem solving in each project is the most fun.
A zine's production should match the content. We always have fun with the challenge of how to present each unique project.
We have been in the same storefront for five years and it has grown every day. We just keep going and document what we have done fearlessly.