Saturday marked the second year of KC Zine Con. The do-it-yourself publishing convention is the only event of its size in the area. Local writers, artists and printmakers set up tables in Pierson Auditorium at UMKC to sell their wares and connect with one another.
Several current and former students from JCCC participated in Saturday’s convention. Megan Karson graduated from the college with an associate degree in 2010. Karson participated in last year’s convention and was invited back this year as a featured tabler where she sold t-shirts, patches, prints and zines without having to pay a registration fee. Karson said she enjoys the community feel of the convention.
“I think it’s really cool, it brings people from all over the country. For example, [another tabler] flew from Detroit to come down here to participate. It’s just cool to get people coming together and meeting each other and sharing ideas.”
Ashley Ferro graduated from the college with an associate degree in 2007. Ferro runs a shop near the Power & Light District called Upside KC. The shop carries vintage clothing, accessories and furnishings as well as cassette tapes and zines. Ferro brought several of the zines and accessories available at her store to sell at her table on Saturday.
“I got [my store] started mostly with vintage clothes and dishware and a friend of mine asked if I wanted to carry her zine in there,” said Ferro. “I started with Burnt Black out of Chicago and then it just kind of escalated from there because people bought those and I started buying more and putting them in the shop. Art zines, mental health, women empowerment, a lot of punk and hardcore zines. A lot of friends were putting them out, so I wanted them to have an outlet.”
Ferro also talked about what makes self-publishing and conventions about it so appealing.
“I think people are easily inspired here. It’s kind of an addicting thing. You want to go from booth to booth and learn more about each person and buy stuff that will affect your life in a positive way.”
Jakob Streiff is a current student at the college and is studying animation. Streiff began printing his comics and zines two years ago after he received inspiration from independent artists and became aware that a scene existed.
“I was always reading superhero comics, so I didn’t want to do those because I didn’t feel like I could, so then I found independent artists like Brian Chippendale … it just kind of inspired me to do something that I could do all by myself. I decided to take the liberty of doing my own thing after seeing there was a scene for it,” said Steiff.
Streiff also talked about how important the feeling of community is at Zine Con.
“There [are] just so many people that are just trying to share their art and their talents,” said Streiff. “I guess I feel [like I fit] into this community with this creative outlook on life and I really like that.”