Category Archives: Art

The Room That Became A Zine: An Art Show About Ephemeral Media

Outsider Art zine Joe Wallace Things I Wrote While Drinking
Zines, also known as ephemeral media, fanzines, D.I.Y. indie publishing, and other names, are often associated with American 90s indie culture. Some of the best-known zines and publications that grew of that subculture include 10 Things Jesus Wants You To Know, Ben is Dead, Rollerderby, and Answer Me!

That is by no means a representative list of publications, it’s just the titles that instantly spring to mind; Riot Grrrl zines, for example, are not at all represented by the list above and they are certainly among the most influential and important works of that era.

But the 1990s was not the time zines were invented, and zines certainly are not a uniquely American phenomenon. One of the pioneering zines of the 70s’ first-wave UK punk era, Sniffin’ Glue, is on record calling back to earlier music fanzines for country music and other genres. In America, fanzines published in the 1930s were often the obsessions of rabid science fiction readers and writers.

I write all this as a preface to this documentation of my zine art show, The Room That Became A Zine, which had its opening reception in Chicago at StudioLab in the Flatiron Arts Building.

The Room That Became A Zine is exactly what the name implies-it’s a takeover of an entire room with zine pages, artwork, and zine-inspired works all over the walls. Those who attended the opening reception were invited to “read” the room and the pages individually the same way you would read a zine in the comfort of your own home.

My background in zines goes all the way back to the 90s indie DIY publishing era; I published zines in Japan, Illinois, Missouri, and Texas for many years, distributing by mail, at local shows, in record shops, and at random in unusual./unexpected places. It had long been my ambition to do an art show that focused solely on zine art, writing, and aesthetics and with this art show I found that longtime dream coming true.

The Room That Became A Zine ran for six weeks as a by-appointment viewing experience, but visitors to the Flatiron Arts building were also treated to a decent amount of work on the outer walls of the studio space for casual viewing. The images that follow are from the opening reception which was held in Chicago on May 4 2018.

I am very interested in bringing this artwork to other galleries and event spaces. Please feel free to contact me about arranging a show with this artwork by emailing me at with the subject line ZINE ART SHOW. Thank you!

The images you see here are just a small portion of the documentation of this show. A full page on the StudioLab site documents much more of this even including detail pics of many of the works on display and pages from zines distributed at the event: Things I Wrote While Drinking, Post-Modernism, and Is There Sex After Art?


StudioLab Sound Art Series

Joe-Wallace-Turntabling-Rare-RecordsStudioLab has its roots in sound-one of the earliest versions of the art space itself was rooted in recording and sound installations.

StudioLab returns to its sound-based roots with a series of sound art projects that include appropriation of old vinyl records, found sound, field recording, and other manipulation of audio.

The first of these projects is in progress, and we’ll provide samples soon…as well as an artist statement for this series and some other musings.

The StudioLab philosophy with sound art includes the idea that sound artists have an added challenge when it comes to their work-sound is all around us every day, and it can be difficult to create art that feels different and new, removed from the soundscapes that surround us all day, every day.

One notion being studied and investigated in this work includes the following idea: as a painter I have enjoyed the luxury of making work that is easier to show as a unique object. People don’t encounter paintings all day, every day. Is it harder to entice an audience using raw materials that we experience from the moment we wake to the moment we fall asleep?

More details are coming.

StudioLab News

Joe Wallace Chicago abstract painterStudioLab had a very busy summer with a variety of shows, receptions, informal open-studio nights, but most of all a TON of art produced. We informally opened our doors on Friday, October 7 2016 as part of the Flatiron Arts Building First Friday Open Studios event to kick off a new fall season…

The real news for StudioLab is that we are celebrating one year in our new location in the Flatiron building. Prior to taking up residency there, we were located at the Bridgeport Art Center and had several excellent shows there. As 2016 winds down, we are anticipating the new year with several concepts for shows; stay tuned for announcements on those in the weeks to come.

One of the concepts we are working on at StudioLab is the not-new, but still seemingly in embryonic form idea of combining the physical art show with virtual or online art shows. One idea we are working on involves mobile technology, scanning, and the concept of turning the larger material world into a gateway to an online art space. Details are being kept under wraps for now, but look for this notion to be expanded on here soon.



Wino Art Show Sponsored by StudioLab Now Online

AWinoOn Saturday June 25, StudioLab hosted/curated Wino, an art show by Patrick Ogle featuring paintings and other art on reclaimed wood from wine boxes. The reception was held in StudioLab’s exhibition space at 1579 N. Milwaukee in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, and the physical show is available by appointment only from now until Saturday July 2nd.

The online version of the show is available for viewing and purchase at There have already been a number of works sold, but there is still a nice variety of work available to purchase. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind art show! Here are just a few of the works available from now until July 25 2016:

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