It all starts here for UTSA’s Zine Club

Lauren Hernandez, Staff Writer

This is just the beginning for UTSA Zine Club. The Paisano sat in on one of their meetings and talked to the three founders to learn more about the organization’s conception, the officer’s roles and the making of their zines. For those who do not know, a “zine,” short for magazine, is a small-circulation publication of original or appropriated text, images and art. Zine Club has produced several since last semester, and they are not planning on stopping any time soon. 

Freshmen Luella Benkert, Ava Jackson and Alexia Latto formed Zine Club last semester after coming up with the idea when hanging out at the Roadrunner Cafe. Soon after, they put up posters and distributed flyers around campus to promote an informal meeting at Chaparral Village’s neighborhood center. Quite a few people showed interest, so Benkert, Jackson and Latto decided to go through the process of making Zine Club an official UTSA organization. Now, they have six issues of their publication online and in print, and each week they host meetings to help students work on their spreads for the next zine issue. 

But why zines? Jackson explained that when she was in middle school, she went to Zine Fest Houston and was interested in the concept. Then, when she was writing her college application and trying to answer the question of how she could contribute to her community, she wrote about how she could create a zine to promote student creativity and talent. She is still shocked that she followed through with this idea, but she recognizes that it would not have been possible without the help of her counterparts. 

“I don’t think it would’ve happened without one of us, like if it was just them two, we wouldn’t have been able to do it,” Latto explained.

The three went on to explain each other’s roles as officers of the club. Latto discussed how Benkert is the “businesswoman.” She is the face of the club, doing most of the communication on their Instagram and hosting presentations at meetings. 

Benkert then explained Latto’s role as the design director, saying that she “makes the zine look good, basically.” Latto is knowledgeable about graphic design and is working on designing merch for the organization. 

Lastly, Latto explained how Jackson is the editor-in-chief of the publication. Every design decision goes through her first, and she is the one who takes people’s contributions and formats them into the finished zine. 

Additionally, the three agreed that this club would not run as smoothly without the help of junior Karla Arguello, their creative director; sophomore Vika Ayala, the club’s assistant business director and sophomore Ethan Rhodes, Zine Club’s financial director. It also would not be the same without every amazing club member and zine contributor. 

But back to the spreads. You might be wondering, what are these spreads, exactly? Basically, students form groups or work individually to create photography, art, writing and more to be formatted into the zine. As of this semester, each zine has had themes, which help inspire students to create unique spreads. Last month’s theme was “Uncanny Space Valley,” and this month’s theme is “Lost and Found.” These themes are broad and open-ended, leaving a lot of the creative decisions to the artists. 

Zine Club’s weekly meetings consist of groups planning and building their spreads by working on artwork, writing and photoshoots. They also plot ideas for future zine editions and have themed meetings, such as their Valentine’s Day party. At 6 p.m. this upcoming Wednesday, March 29, they are having a picnic on the Flawn Lawn, but if you cannot make it, their meetings are typically at 7 p.m. on Thursdays in the SU Willow Room (SU 2.02.12.)

Also, if this all sounds pretty intriguing, consider running for an officer position next semester. Sadly, Benkert, Jackson and Latto will be transferring to UT Austin in the fall, but this is not the end for the club — it is just the beginning.

Everything is taking off for Zine Club, and you can be a part of it. Take Benkert’s advice and “join Zine Club,” take Jackson’s advice to “submit writing to Zine Club” and lastly, listen to Latto: “If you want to do something, just do it.” 

Stay updated with all that Zine Club does by following their Instagram @zineclubutsa.