Inspired by their desire to help Vassar students participate in the visual arts more around campus, Emma Rose ’17 and Esteban Uribe ’17 are in the process of creating an art zine that lets students submit their own work and circulate their artistic abilities around the College. The visual art scene can often seem inaccessible to students who are not majoring in Studio Art due to the high learning curve and limited visibility around campus. Rose wrote, “Our zine is about providing a platform for student art that’s not wholly concerned about academic quality. We feel like Vassar doesn’t have a lot of opportunities for artists of all skill levels to showcase their work.”
This opening up of the artistic community at Vassar allows for students who haven’t experimented with the visual arts publicly on campus to showcase their art. Rose wrote, “Our goal with the zine is for students to have access to a creative space and to inspire a socially artistic environment. Many of the artists who submitted we did not expect, and that’s the whole idea: getting artists in touch with each other and promoting art as a commonality.”
The fact that the zine is a printed publication rather than an online source also helps the art community at Vassar become more accessible. Uribe wrote, “We flirted with the idea of making it an online blog but putting stuff on the Internet is not as satisfying as materializing it. The zine came from our desire to give students easy access to easy art.”
Summer provided the inspiration that Rose and Uribe needed to put their concept into motion. Uribe wrote in an emailed statement, “[Emma and I] had been talking about making an alternative literary magazine for most of freshman year, but we didn’t act upon it until the summer. The decision to make the zine came during the summer as I was writing a poem about the summer and I immediately called Emma and we thought it would be a great idea to make a magazine with our friends’ art, not just written work.”
The majority of the work that went into this zine was done by Rose and Uribe, but the art displayed within it is also done by other students around Vassar, submitted via email to Rose and Uribe.
Because the first real steps of making this zine were made over the summer, the season seems to have had an influence on their first issue. Rose wrote in an email, “The current zine focuses on summertime. As many of our contributors are in the class of 2017, this zine also speaks to the first summer after Vassar. Friends returning to their hometowns after freshman year can see how each other have changed, or their perception of their home has shifted; students living away from home begin to understand childhood’s expiration date. Summer gives a person a lot of time to stew in their thoughts (and to make art!), so we wanted our zine to put these ideas in dialogue with each other.”
Though the zine is still in the process of being made, those who have seen the work that Uribe and Rose have done are impressed. Soraya Perry ’17, a contributor to the zine said, “I think Emma and Esteban are starting a very fun and unique project. It’s great that students are finding outlets that allow us to share art outside the classroom.”
The art zine is still in its preliminary stages of development. Uribe wrote, “We want to further it and keep making zines at least once a semester. It may also become something completely different, it could go anywhere.”