Fall ’20 – Week 1

Fall ’20 – Week 1

Art Idea #1 – Books tell Stories

Artists use all kinds of media to make art. Yes painting and drawing and sculpture. But also video and robots and avatars. Pretty much any material or media out there could wind up helping an artist work through ideas. Artists have made sculptures out of chocolate, lipstick, and bits of broken plastic.

One media that artists often turn to is the book. As students, and human beings, you are very familiar with books! Maybe you’ve read Harry Potter. Maybe you just spent a fortune for a biochem textbook.

Image of an artist's book showing cut pages and inserted objects
One type of art book is the “Altered Book” where an artist takes an existing book and transforms it into something new. Image: stampadoodle.com
Artists, like Werner Pfeiffer here, also love to make new books from scratch.
Janett Moctezuma standing in front of many zines and other small, local publications at Small World Books on the boardwalk at Venice Beach, CA
And, artists also make Zines! Here’s Art 110 student Janett Moctezuma at the zine rack @ Small World Books on the Venice Beach Boardwalk
a few of the many zines CSULB SOA student Alexis Chanes sold in the Gatov Gallery last year, along with an issue of Garnet Hertz' zine Critical Making
a few of the many zines LBSU SOA student Alexis Chanes sold in the Gatov Gallery last year, along with an issue of Garnet Hertz’ zine Critical Making

Making Zines

This week we’re making zines. Yours can be about any topic. One suggestion is to reflect on Pandemic Life, or “Zoom University”. I know many of you are disappointed about not having “the college experience”. A zine can be a place to explore that. A place to work through that.

You can make an “origami zine” as I showed in class on Monday. Or a “sewn pamphlet” as I showed in class on Wednesday. Or you can staple sheets or use any other technique you like.

Your Blog Post

The way you’ll “turn in” your zines is the same way you’ll turn in all the activities this semester: with a new blog post on your Medium.com blog.

  1. Make a free Medium.com blog
  2. Drop by our Roster Page and LMK your Medium URL (once your URL is on the roster, you don’t have to LMK each week)
  3. Post pix or a video of your zine. For pix, upload directly to Medium. For video, upload to YouTube/Vimeo & “embed” on Medium

Then just answer a few questions to go with your photos of your zine:

  1. What were you going for in your zine?
  2. How successful do you think you were?
  3. What would you do differently next time?
  4. Can you think of an idea for another zine you might like to make.


Zines are a great art medium and an easy and powerful way to express yourself. Beyond that, do they have any value to your Engineering, Psychology, Kinesiology, Environmental Science, Consumer Affairs, Nursing, Film & Electronic Arts, Criminal Justice, Biology, Economics, or other major?

One thing all of these different career fields have in common is communications. You might be the brilliant accountant in the corner cubicle, but if you can’t communicate your accounting insights, you won’t get very far. We all know how boring Power Points can be. A simple zine, on paper or digital, might be a friendly way to share information with co-workers. You don’t have to be an artist to develop some simple graphic skills like photography, charts, and drawing, that can enhance your ability to communicate in any field.

What’s Due?

Your activities for each week of the semester are due by 11:59 pm PDT on Sunday night. This week there are 2 things due:

  1. Your Zine Blog Post — title it “Wk 1 – Art Activity – Zines”
  2. Your 5 “bits” on our BeachBoard discussion topics. I say “bits” because you don’t have to write an essay (unless you’re really inspired) a sentence is sufficient. Your 5 bits can be starting 5 new threads. Or replying to 5 other peeps threads. Or a mix. Feel free to do more than 5 if you’re inspired!
  3. When your Medium URL is on the roster page comments, your Zine is on your Medium, and you have 5 or more “bits” on the discussion pages, you’re done for Week 1.

Comments? Questions? What great art did you see, make, or experience today?

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