Opinion: Collaging a lifestyle


Shehzil Imran

The third issue of ‘Punk Sleepover’ zine, released in October 2021, sitting on top of a pile of unmade zines and shipping supplies.

Ever since 2021 started and school went virtual, I felt like I was thriving with so much time at home. I was able to do all my classwork while still having time to channel all my creativity, thoughts and feelings into a variety of artwork and writing. Throughout that time, I was able to explore my music taste further and got heavily into political and punk music, which inspired my work. At some point, I felt a need to share my work with others, which is when I stumbled upon a community on Instagram that creates amateur, self-published magazines, or “zines.” 

Upon this discovery, I immediately began designing a cover and sharing my new project with all my friends. I started wondering what I wanted to do and why I was doing it in the first place. Moreover, I began buying other creators’ work to find inspiration and to get an idea of how layouts work. Soon enough, I even decided to announce my idea online for a punk zine about feminism. Surprisingly, I received tons of writing and art submissions from people around the world, which was more than I could have imagined. Feeling more confident after receiving interest in my project, I continued to work on layout and organizing everything into files until I was ready to share it with others. 

I created an Etsy and Depop account for my zines since I felt it was the most accessible way for people to buy my work, and by the beginning of April 2021, I anxiously announced the release of my zine on Instagram. There were way more people interested in reading it than I thought, which ended up with me printing, assembling and shipping zines daily. With the support I received and positive messages, I decided to continue my zine and release issues every few months. 

Once school started, however, I hit a point where I was so busy trying to keep up in-person schoolwork that I had to practically put that part of my life on hold. This upset me and left me unmotivated to even make art in my free time. But with the start of the second semester and the feeling that I can manage everything better, I finally started to read, write and create again, allowing myself to feel excited and inspired. With this surge of energy, I decided to start up my zine again, working on the fourth issue, collecting all forms of art and writing that I could find from the past couple months. 

Despite the setbacks and the amount of anxiety I feel from sharing my work with others, self-publishing my zine has been an overall rewarding experience. It has allowed me to go from being someone who felt it was best to keep quiet to someone who won’t remain silent simply because it may make someone uncomfortable. I’ve been able to get more comfortable with expressing my beliefs and talking to new people about subjects I enjoy, while also learning even more about the topics that I’m passionate about.