Tag Archives: zines

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 jwallace242@gmail.com 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?


Things I Wrote While Drinking by Joe Wallace

Outsider Art zine Joe Wallace Things I Wrote While DrinkingStudioLab presents its first glossy newsstand-style publication of art and weirdness produced there. Things I Wrote While Drinking is 28 pages of outsider art, writing, ranting, and musing created under the influence of wine, beer and other beverages that produce enhanced states of mind.

It’s currently available for sale at Quimby’s in Chicago but you can also purchase it directly from StudioLab via PayPal. This first edition features beautiful full color cover art by Sharon Gissy, plus rants, musings, illustrations and humor by Joe Wallace.

2015: Year Of The Manifesto, The Rant, and The Screed Update


Manifesto Rant Screed William Burroughs Zines

The year-long art installation project 2015: Year of The Manifesto, The Rant, and The Screed is off to a great start and it’s not even New Year’s Eve yet! I’ve set up the initial display in my window the outer walkway area of StudioLab (located on the 5th floor of the Bridgeport Art Center in Chicago) to include a small collection of books that inspire the project and offer some cultural context for it.

This project will change and mutate on a regular basis and while the initial presentation is a bit more on the educational side (especially the books and the early writings to give context) I do plan to dive into a great many of my own manifesto, rant and screed writings which are all custom made for the installation as I go.

I’ve even got some time set aside to do a “rants on vinyl” section to showcase some crazy LPs I’ve discovered along the way, and sometime in 2015 I plan to explore something I call “visual rants” and the notion of a visual manifesto that is communicated in pictures rather than words.

This entire year-long project is inspired, informed, and even promoted by zines, indie publishers, etc. A lot of the visual style is informed by roadside panhandlers and religious zealots with their hand-lettered signs and placards. Still more inspiration comes from the ravings of conspiracy nuts and religious extremists of all types.

My goal in using this style is twofold—I find my own handwriting to share similar qualities with these people (for better or worse) and I’m hoping to refine my style a bit through a LOT of daily handwriting. Secondly, I’m not setting out to make fun of anyone, but I have long found myself wondering what the reaction would be if the same exaggerated style were used to communicate non-conspiracy minded or “repent, sinner!” type messages.

So this project is sort of a social experiment as well as anything else I might be trying to do.

Here are some images of the work so far. These are not all the pictures available, you can see all the work to date as it evolves by following me on Instagram at instagram.com/thestudiolab. I’ll be documenting the work all year long as it evolves–I am hoping to change things on a weekly basis, if not more often than that as time permits…at the end of the year I will compile all the documentation into a book about the project. Do I dare keep a diary about this and including it in the book? Might be a good idea…

–Joe Wallace

Joe Wallace manifesto rant screed 2015 art project Joe Wallace 2015 Manifesto Rant Screed zines project Manifesto Rant Screen 2015 Joe Wallace art installation Manifesto rant screed zines 2015 update Joe Wallace

StudioLab Show Friday July 18 2014: Meow Mix

Meow Mix_edited-1

Third Friday Open Studio at Bridgeport Art Center in Chicago includes the StudioLab show MEOW MIX featuring the cat-themed artwork of Sharon Gissy, plus gallery-sized prints of a new zine by Joe Wallace. 

The show features music mixes curated by both artists plus additional material by Wallace and other StudioLab collaborators.

StudioLab is at 1200 W 35th St, in Chicago on the corner of Racine and 35th. We are located on the 5th floor of the Bridgeport Art Center in the Fashion and Design Center section, though we are neither fashion or design-based, we are happy to be part of the growing artist community there!