The idea for the Queer Zines of Care co-commission came from People United’s Creative Programmes Producer Dre Spisto, who found that encountering similar zines in a local shop when they first moved to the Kent coast had an especially positive effect and provided a sense of community.
In August 2022 we shared an open call for applications from queer artists based in coastal areas of Kent, asking applicants to outline zine ideas that included the topic of radical care as it applied to them, in the context of being a queer person in coastal Kent. Following the call out, three artists were chosen to develop their ideas into zines, recieving funding for their time and materials and with support and guidance from People United as they did so.
Meet our three commissioned artists
Bob Chicalors has been making zines since 1997, from earnest teen indie music wannabe journalist to actual gay journalist and back again. He wrote the Margate queer zine ‘Rumours’ from 2015 – 2019, and recently wrote about the complete novels of Gary Indiana while recovering from Covid in Dover (the latest place he calls home).
Ray Felix Carter
Ray Felix Carter is a Black, genderqueer, autistic artist-entity from Seabrook, just outside of Folkestone. Ray has an interest in undefinable spaces; queerness, messiness, trans joy, and freedom from neurotypical nonsense. They love to make zines, draw, paint, collage and write poetry. They also love swimming in the sea, playing the flute and spending time in nature.
they/them or he/him, @rayfelixcarter
Greta Sharp is a non-binary, queer, disabled writer, artist, and zinester based in Margate, Kent. They run zine making workshops locally and attend and table at various zine fairs around the UK. They are the co-founder of Margate Zine Fair, a local zine and self-publishing fair celebrating local creatives and DIY forms of publishing, and are the assistant curator for Margate Pride and co-curate the Pride Art Map, a festival of exhibitions, workshops and events centring queer art.
For three zines created with such a specific focus you might expect there to be a number of similarities and overlapping ideas between them, and the zines are similar in some ways – they are all beautiful, evocative and deeply meaningful.
However, one of the most noticeable things about the zines when viewed as a single commission is just how different each of them is. The most immediately noticeable difference is the mediums each artist chose to work in – one a mix of vibrant collaged pages laid out so they can be cut out by the reader, one a colourful graphic novel, and one a beautifully laid out essay – but they also differ in the aspects of radical care and queer community each artist chose to focus on, showing how widely varied the experiences of the queer community in Kent can be.
Each of the three zines can be read below, and there are options at the bottom of the page to download them for free.
Zine Reading Event at The Folkestone Bookshop
One hundred and fifty copies of each zine were printed and were distributed to bookshops in each of the three artists’ hometowns where they were available for free to anyone who wanted them.
In Folkestone their zines were available at the newly opened Folkestone Bookshop, where a small reading event was held with the three commissioned artists to coincide with the launch of the zines. A selection of teas and snacks were provided and everyone attending was encouraged to bring their own zines to share.
Introduced by Dre Spisto, each of the artists spoke a little about their zines, and Greta Sharp’s zine was read aloud by Kit Griffiths. The event was attended by members of the local community and friends of Bob, Ray and Greta, and The Folkestone Bookshop were wonderful hosts.
Each of the three zines can be downloaded as a PDF here.
Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants