“JEN PAYNE is no stranger to the zine phenomenon. Her first zine —The Latest News — came out in the early 1990s during the golden age of Factsheet Five and Mike Gunderloy. Since those early days writing The Latest News, Jen has enjoyed putting her writing out into the world through the online lit/art journal Creative Soup, her blog Random Acts of Writing (www.randomactsofwriting.net), and as part of art installations, literary magazines, and anthologies. Her most recent effort, Three Chairs Publishing, is a vehicle for her four published books and other creative projects, like Manifest (zine).”
Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Jen Payne. I’m a writer and a poet, a photographer, and wannabe artist who lives on the shoreline in Connecticut, USA. My “day job” is marketing and graphic design through my business Words by Jen. In the off-hours, I write, blog, and make books and zines through my publishing company Three Chairs Publishing.
What do zines mean to you?
How did you first get started with zines?
Zines have a special place in my heart. My first zine was called The Latest News, which I created back in the early 1990s during the golden age of Factsheet Five and Mike Gunderloy (New York). I met and corresponded (via snail mail) with hundreds of people across the U.S. and abroad as a result of that — it was a life-changing experience! I went on to create an online lit/art journal called Creative Soup, and my blog Random Acts of Writing (www.randomactsofwriting.net) — both of which, and even my work now, mirror the original intentions of The Latest News: to share a creative and thought-full conversation with my readers.
How would you build the perfect snowman?
LOL! Probably in my art room: papier-mâché, paint, collage, and found objects.
Tell us about your zines.
I started my new zine — MANIFEST (zine) — in 2020. It features my writing and mixed-media collage work, along with photography, quotes, and bits and pieces of whatnot related to a theme. Layered with colors, textures, and meanings, each issue is handmade then color-copied, embellished, and intricately folded. I’ve created two issues so far: Divine Intervention (Summer), and Cat Lady Confessions (Fall).
What resources do you use to create your zines? Tell us about your zine-making process.
I start with a theme based on a gathering of writing from my files. Then I sort of mediate on the theme for a while, and ask questions: what images will work? are there good quotes I can use? what analogies show up? how do I tell the story?
I like to look at WikiArt, Goodreads quotes, vintage postcards, Pinterest. I teach myself new art and collage techniques by watching YouTube videos, and I buy random things from Amazon and Etsy – like a latex cat mask, mirror stickers, and way too many art supplies!
Then I spend time in my “art room” pulling it all together, until it feels like it’s finished.
What’s been interesting with these first two issues is that they’ve come together rather magically — what photos to include, the color palettes, the layers of the theme and its meaning. Like, I have no idea how Cat Lady Confessions ended up as a 24-page booklet, but there it is!
Do you have any advice for newbie zine makers?
Have fun with it! When you start taking it seriously, it’s work. That’s just not necessary. : )
What is your favourite thing about zine culture?
I love that everyone just dances to the beat of their own drum. Have an idea? Make a zine. Send it out into the world. We’re not standing on ceremony. We’re just dancin’.
Why do you make zines?
For a long time, I dreamed of doing art installations in a gallery or studio. A space designed around a theme – with artwork, words, and sensory things like incense or candles, and music. When I thought of creating MANIFEST (zine), that was the inspiration. I like to think of it as a hold-in-your-hands creative installation. Plus, it gives me an excuse to play with all of those art supplies! ; )
How are you celebrating the holiday season?
Writing, working on the next zine, wandering in the woods with my 9-year old nephew, chilling with my cat, hanging sparkly white light, and eating fruit cake.
You can check out MANIFEST (zine) by visiting her on her socials…