By: Natasha Tar
Two hours before the doors to Canzine are opened to the public, vendors are bustling about and choosing their tables. The woman beside me is arranging her seaweed-inspired zines made from chiffon fabric. Another vendor nearby is displaying pins that feature her ballpoint pen art. Vancouver’s second-biggest independent arts fair seems to be setting up for another successful year.
Taking place at SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts on Sunday, November 5, Canzine Vancouver was one of four Canzine events that took place throughout Canada this year. Though its main focus is on zines (small, self-published booklets) vendors brought along a variety of other wares such as charms, stickers, and tote bags.
“I think my favourite part about Canzine is how accessible it is,” said Max D’Ambrosio, a vendor at this year’s zine fair. “A lot of people come here with a variety of content, and it’s very casual in the way everyone’s doing their own thing.”
At around 1 p.m., people started drifting in and engaging with the artists at their tables. There was definitely a lot of ground to cover this year with over 100 vendors spread throughout the building. It was a comfortable atmosphere, and people took their time with each vendor, asking them about their art and zines.
Aamba Chavis, an artist at Canzine, noted that the setting was perfect for vendors to interact with each other. “People can get inspiration from each other,” she said. “Artists can help people develop their art styles, while also developing their own.”
“Events like Canzine are important to recognize artists who aren’t usually recognized, and they help artists get paid for their hard work,” she added.
Most artists who come to Canzine are usually completely independent from a publishing house, usually replicating their works with a photocopier or by hand. By doing this, art can be priced in a way that’s accessible to almost anyone. Zine trades are also common among vendors at zine festivals like this one.
Later in the day, a panel on feminism and witchcraft was followed by a pizza party. Artists drew a slice of pizza each and taped them together on the wall to form a collaborative art piece.
As the last of Canzine wrapped up, a few stragglers came by to catch the tail-end of the festival. Artists who shared tables exchanged contact information and zines, promising to meet up at the next festival.
Though only six hours long, Canzine Vancouver was undoubtedly an important fair for the artists present. “Events like Canzine keep the cycle of culture going, with people absorbing art and outputting art,” commented D’Ambrosio. “One problem we have now is that it’s too easy for people to stay in their bubble, so coming out to events like these really help people to connect.”
Natasha Tar was a vendor at this year’s Canzine Vancouver.