By Isobel Steenrod and Heather Rolph
Sometimes art can be found in the most unlikely of places. This past Saturday, the Knights of Columbus Hall—part of the Penrose Library in downtown Colorado Springs—was filled with crowds of people and tables covered in brightly colored and inventively designed booklets. Finding the hall, however, entailed weaving through cars in the back parking lot of the library and following small signs and the murmur of voices up several flights of stairs in the dimly lit, offputtingly industrial building in which the gathering was housed.
Once there, it was easy to step into the welcoming atmosphere of the inaugural Pikes Peak Zine Fest, an event created as a way for artists to meet, collaborate, and share their love for zines. Set up like an art fair, each artist had a table and the opportunity to sell their zines and collaborate with other artists. Though a lot of the artists featured were local, people traveled from as far as Kansas City to be a part of the event. It featured over 40 artists, including Colorado College student Amy Raymond ’21. Raymond became interested in zines after she took printing and bookmaking classes at CC. Another Colorado College student, Allie Gish ’20, who works with the Press at Colorado College, made posters for the Zine Fest that were displayed around campus and downtown.
Originally popularized within the realm of science fiction fandom in the 1940s, zines—pronounced zeens—draw their inspiration and name from magazines. However, they differ from their namesake in that they are independently produced, often with fewer than 100 copies in circulation, and are considered a prime example of D.I.Y. culture. Like all art, topics and form vary greatly, but most zines are created to be shared. They can range in complexity from a folded piece of paper with text and illustrations to a multi-media bound book.
For example, one of the zines at this fest had no words or pictures. Instead, it was a sewn cloth book with pages of differently textured and hued pink fabric. Another artist at the event, Daykota Jaymes, made his zines interactive by using 3-D blue and red lensed glasses to bring his art to life. Zines can even be educational, like one made as a way to distribute information about the Pikes Peak Library District.
Event organizers Jennifer Eltringham and Kelsey Choo sat behind a table at the front of the room wearing bright purple witch hats, greeting newcomers to the fest.
“We had a much higher turnout than expected,” said Eltringham and Choo. There was a steady stream of people throughout the day, and when the event ended at 5pm, there were still people arriving to check out the space.
Happy with the turnout and the interest visitors had in the zines on display, the organizers said the show was a great way to kick off fall. They hope for the Pikes Peak Zine Fest to become an annual event.