“Jade Flannery is a bisexual, non-binary artist, illustrator and etsy seller living and working in North East Scotland. She was drawn to the DIY nature of zines and the ability to curate her own publications of art and poetry without needing a permission slip from a publisher. She was also drawn to the queer and punk history of zines. She hand makes all the products she sells herself, with rock music blaring and too much coffee.”
Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Jade Flannery and I am an artist and illustrator living and working in Aberdeen Scotland. I run the Etsy shop Trash Bag Boutique where I sell many products, such as zines, stickers, badges and prints. I make everything I sell myself, by hand in my home studio. I love making and creating, it’s my true passion. I also make studio vlogs on my channel Trash Bag TV, documenting my process. When I’m not making things for and running my online business I juggle a part time job as a barista. I also love to read, write poetry and play guitar, bass, ukulele and drums (all badly) as well as singing and writing songs, with my partner in my band Paris Syndrome.
What do zines mean to you?
Zines are something I’m incredibly passionate about. I love the DIY aspect of zines. I’ve always been fascinated with books, I love to write and illustrate but making my own publication always felt like something I would need to have the backing of a publisher to make a reality. The art world is the same, there’s a level of elitism and the hope that a gallery or residency will pick you from a sea of other struggling creatives. It always feels like there’s a closed group you’re waiting to be let into. Zines to me represent a rejection of that. I love that we can just be like “No, I don’t need your permission to do the things I want to. I’ll find a way to do it myself.” I love that zines make publishing punk. They can be about whatever you want, they’re unique, underground and affordable. Zines to me are about making the things you want to make without anyone else’s permission and finding a community of creative people doing the same thing. It’s not about money or notoriety. Also in an increasingly digital world I think we’ve gained an appreciation for physical media. Vinyl and zines have had a resurgence in popularity over the past 10 years and I think they represent something we’re starved of, physical tangible connection.
How did you first get started with zines?
I found out about zines when I studied Media Studies in High School when I heard about the punk zine ‘Sniffin Glue’. I later found out about Bikini Kill and their band and zine and from their my interest spiralled. I watched everything on youtube available about zines. I didn’t actually make a zine until years later though. I went to a life drawing night called Art Nudles run by a friend Andy Gaffron. There I met my friend Siobhan who makes amazing zines. I also met Mae and Hanna who founded and run Hysteria in Aberdeen a queer feminist, open mic night where they publish a zine to go along with it. When I bought an issue I was in awe of the content, all this amazing poetry, prose and artwork. We became friends and I did some artwork for the Hysteria zine. We also had a zine making party (when that was allowed) and it was so fun! I’d been making art and writing poetry for years and eventually I decided to make some of my own. My first zine was my 2018 inktober zine although I made it and I still haven’t listed it. I’m hoping to do that during the coin op press zine fair.
Tell us about your zines.
I mainly make art zines, I have zines compiling my inktober drawings, one of a mini sketchbook I made in a day but I want to branch out more. I just made my first poetry zine, compiling some poetry I wrote during lockdown with some illustrations and photographs. I collaged a page for everyone of the poems and I love how it turned out. I’m planning on making some zines about my experience with CPTSD and my journey towards recovery. I also want to make zines about my experience as a queer person as well as some comics.
What resources do you use to create your zines?
I use a combination of my own artworks, magazine pages I collage (which I never have enough of) and whatever I can find lying around to make the pages. For the actual content it’s mainly just my imagination, I haven’t made any zines about factual topics yet so I haven’t had to do any research, it’s just been my poetry and art. I do have a History of Art degree so I’ve though about making some academic zines utilising my knowledge and research skills there.
Tell us about your zine-making process.
I make them all by hand myself. I make the pages, scan them, and use photoshop and scribus to make the actual zine then I print them on my laser printer and cut, fold and staple them by hand. I’m always scouring the internet looking for new ways to bind and make zines, but I usually end up just figuring it out myself with some scrap pieces of paper.
Do you have any advice for newbie zine makers?
I Just start! We live in the age of information, everything you need to know is a few click away (youtube is a great friend to zinesters who are lost) Making zines is about overcoming obstacles, any issue you have there’s a way around it. I got my first inkjet printer with a scanner built in at a jumble sale for the scouts for £6 because the face plate way missing and it had no ink. There are plenty of people who sell printers online for cheap once they run out of ink because it’s often cheaper to buy a new printer than branded official ink. I did some research and bought some cheap compatible printer ink that wasn’t the official printer brand and a ream of recycled paper. I have an old version of photoshop back from before the subscription model but there’s a programme called Gimp that’s an open source image editing software. I use scribus because that’s open source too. But honestly you can make a zine with an A4 sheet of paper and a sharpie. Be punk, don’t wait for anyone else’s permission. I believe in you!
What is your favourite thing about zine culture?
I’ve mentioned this already but just how DIY and punk the whole process is and the community. I feel like if I meet someone who’s into zines and making zines, we’re just instantly going to be friends. It’s a culture full of nerdy, alternative, queer people, my kind of people. People who often don’t fit in and I love them all. We’re this band of misfits with a niche interest and I read their zines and it’s like someone sharing a piece of themselves with you. Their humour, their trauma, their fandoms, their creativity, the poetry they’ve been writing for their whole life and never showed anyone they know. I feel like zines are more of an authentic performance art experience than anything you’ll find endorsed by a gallery space. It’s people making art happen their way with the only limit being the confines of paper.
Do you have a favourite zine or zinester?
That’s pretty tough. I love the Hysteria zines they’re always amazing and I know how much work goes into them. There’s a couple of more ‘influencer’ zines I like such as Leena Norms’ ‘Doom Rolled in Glitter’ and Fran Meneses’ zines like ‘Branford Cereal Girls’ but some of my favourites are things I bought on a whim on Etsy. I have a zine called ‘The Library Zine: Extended Hours’ curated by Bradical Press which is just a zine about people’s experiences with libraries, written by a collective in Bradford; and I love it so much. A zine I really want but haven’t gotten my hands on yet is ‘Excercise the Demon’ by Greg Kletsel. He’s an amazing illustrator and making brilliant zines. Excercise the Demon is a risograph zine with a series of illustration about Richard Simmons and Gene Simmons it’s pure brilliance but it’s also £20 with delivery to the UK and being an illustrator and zinester isn’t super lucrative. One day it’ll be in my collection though.
Why do you make zines?
I make zines to express myself, share my work and connect with others….and also because it’s so fun and I can’t stop. It’s a simple answer but it’s true.
Do you have any events, zine fairs, zine launches, or anything else exciting that you would like to tell us about?
I just launched my first poetry zine. It’s the first time I’ve collected my poetry into a format people can own, every one is made from start to finish by my hands so they’re all special to me. I also have some art zines on my etsy shop TrashBagBoutique (which you can find a link to on the coin op press zine fair page for me or my instagram @jadeflanneryart). Not zine related but my band Paris Syndrome just released our new single Sell Out available on Bandcamp (weareparissyndrome). We have a very DIY music process and we recorded and produced it all ourselves in my tiny flat, so I feel it shares the zine ethos.
You can check out Jade Flannery by visiting them on their socials…