Zine culture growing in Halifax

Second-year Dalhousie University student Garrett Mombourquette is creating a neighbourhood zine called Distant Harbour, adding to the already present zine culture in Halifax.

By Amanda Hunt

Some artists choose to make magazines consisting entirely of their own work, while others make them in a compilation style like the up-and-coming neighbourhood zine Distant Harbour.

Zine, an abbreviation of fanzine or magazine, is a self-published work outside of the mainstream media.

Second-year Dalhousie University student Garrett Mombourquette came up with the concept for Distant Harbour. He got the idea from a Facebook invitation to an event called ‘The Imperfect Film Fest’ in Los Angeles.

“I guess they have this sort of monthly night where they invite you to make and present a little video, it could be a finely tuned short film or a twenty second iPhone clip, relating to a monthly theme,” says Mombourquette, “I want to facilitate the same kind of thing, but with photographs, doodles, or thoughts, in a paper zine.”

Mombourquette hopes to have the first issue finished in May, featuring a theme of ‘natural space.’

As far as funding goes, the project is currently out-of-pocket.  Mombourquette received a grant of $115 from Clean Nova Scotia; using it to rent out 1313 Hollis St. – a space often featuring art and music shows – for a fundraiser that was held at the end of February.

“The fundraiser went very well. Mark Grundy, Rob Loveless, Sea Glasses, and Feels each played a short set, and we served apple cider and some other snacks,” says Mombourquette.

Zines have had a place in the Halifax art scene for a few years now, with Halifax Pop Explosion putting on an annual Zine Fair for the past fourteen years, with another in the works for the fall of 2013.

Some of Halifax’s local shops carry zines by community artists. Lost and Found, a retail store in the North End, sells everything from vintage clothing to crafts made by local artists.  The store’s original goal was to act as an outlet for local artists of all kinds to sell their wares. The store has carried zines from the get-go.

A staff member says, “It’s definitely for a specific customer, some people really like printed matter. There is definitely a market for it.”

“The art and crafts are on consignment, a lot of the clothing is on consignment too.”

Another place you can go to find zines, both local and from abroad, is the Anchor Archive Zine Library located in the Roberts Street Social Centre, where you can browse the collection of zines, or take them out for up to three weeks at a time.

As for distributing Distant Harbour, Mombourquette isn’t sure on his plan, “I think I’ll drop them in those wire magazine holders that you might see other newspapers in around campus. Maybe other places around town too, and definitely at the launch.”

Despite only receiving a few submissions so far, Mombourquette is optimistic about the project and hopes to eventually make it a monthly publication,  “I hope that our community will welcome this kind of thought-collage. I think that it’s pretty easy to embrace something so inviting, but you never know.”