The zines we make, print, and publish constitute a variety of media and topics from various artists and authors. Most of our zines exhibit art by queer folks. From illustrations and paintings to mixed-media collage and photographs, these zines may explicitly or implicitly explore queer and cultural experiences and identities. Other zines we publish contain works such as poetry, abstract visual themes, and DIY-instructional materials. We focus on prioritizing and supporting queer folks, especially QTPOC.
We started making zines at around 2013 or 2014. Jeff started to write Unity Press on zines as a way to publish and distribute his own art in an accessible way. We first started printing from an old laser printer using donated or recycled paper from a thrift store. We never seriously thought of ourselves as a press and just enjoyed the idea of having this entity to share our own work. Things began to feel more real when we began to reach out to other artists and printing more, publishing work made by underrepresented folks in Oakland and beyond. Since getting a riso printer, our long-term goal is to support folks with resources and a platform to make and share their work.
Being able to share our zines with others! We enjoy connecting with the folks who like the work we publish. Making zines also allows us to connect with the folks who also make them, especially at zine fairs.
In regards to the actual act of making zines, we enjoy printing them. Aside from the persistent issues that arise from using a riso printer, we thoroughly appreciate the printing process, especially since we also print work of other artists. Although it can be a challenge to get the right settings dialed in, it's really exciting to see ideas and images come to life on paper. Often times we don't know how an image will turn out until it is finally printed, and the limitations of colors on the riso adds another layer of creativity to the process.
Zines are a way for us to make and share work outside of the restrictions of mainstream publishing and censorship - the type of censorship that is rooted in systematic racism, white supremacy, the patriarchy, transphobia, and queerphobia. Zines are empowering in this way and allows people to express themselves freely. Zines are also important because of their accessibility for both the author and reader.