Former Saddleback College students Kat McColm and Flora Wang were invited to participate in L.A. Zine Fest on February 16. Kat McColm, an 28-year-old art major, and Flora,a 27-year-old design major, set up their booths in Helms Bakery parking garage off Robertson in West Los Angeles.
McColm’s publication “Excuse Me While I think Freely” has been in print for almost two years and focuses on art, poetry, alternative lifestyles, and societal observations. The publication is a compilation of submissions from all walks of life and all styles of self-expression.
“I’m really stoked to be invited to come here and share my vision and art with other like-minded individuals,” McColm said. “It’s a really good way to network and to get validation from your work.”
McColm and her publication have been distributed at Dana Point Festival of the Whales, local music and thrift stores, as well as supporting community business members. L.A. ZineFest has since asked McColm to bring her publication into San Diego and San Francisco Zine Fests.
“There has been so many opportunities to network here and just being able to start being seen in this realm is really going to help spread the message of what my ‘zine is all about,” McColm said. “Humanity and respect and unrestrained creativity. It’s OK for people to have differing opinions.”
Flora Wang has been working on her publication “The Hidden Variable,” as an art-based ‘zine with intrinsic comparisons to the human neurosystem. Intricate artwork and a gold binding keep the design simple but alluring.
“I’m happy to be here and even though I haven’t sold much as an artist there is true value to my work,” Wang said. “It’s about that recognition and connection between art and soul.”
The Zine Fest included a panel of five speakers from different realms of the publication industry as well as a question and answer period. Many of the stories told were about the motivation to just make it happen. Enduring struggles and obstacles and overcoming them for the labor love.
Zine Fest had a ‘Zine library constructed D.I.Y style with two tree branches hung with string. Each string separated the categories of the content of the ‘zines, with the ‘zines draped over the string. They set up the library with a gazebo tent and chairs so participants could peruse the different styles and categories.
Matthew Himes is a sound engineer for the Zine Fest events. He expresses a great enthusiasm for community benefits and petitioning for city grants specifically for artist’s coalitions.
“Phoenix, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, they all have more leniency and programs for artists. It is very hard to thrive in L.A. I don’t know of the government is mismanaged or apprehensive when t comes to artist funding but it creates a lot of struggle to be able to express yourself positively with no support,” Himes said. “The people here have worked for everything. They have nothing handed to them. These are my kind of people.”
Camay Villanueva, a 24-year-old Otis school of the arts graduate produces Reflekt ‘Zine which focuses on anthropology and fashion. Born in the Philippine’s and now working as an assistant handbag designer at Lily and Lola she adopted many fashions and ideologies.
Her first year at ‘ZineFest she didn’t have a booth. She walked around with a picnic basket bartering and giving out her ‘zine. Now Camay is located at a coveted table, #3, and she says’s “I feel like I made it!”
Villanueva said the purpose of her ‘Zine is “a direct way to get to readers. Fashion has a substance and can reveal a lot about you that you can’t necessarily say.”
Cameron Roth, a 25-year-old events coordinator and ‘zine publisher, has been involved with L.A. Zine Fest as well as ‘The Fort’ which is an artist’s collective that creates a platform for free expression.
“It wasn’t much of a choice, nothing else makes sense. It’s more than a scene. It’s a revelation,” Roth said.
For more information visit
Kat McColm Excuse Me While I Think Freely
Camay Villanueva Reflect ‘Zine
Flora Wang “The Hidden Variable”
The Fort Artists Collective [email protected].