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Introducing Kazoo Print! Expo

Friday, March 8, 2013

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Written by Abigel Lemak

img_9938It’s gonna be a big arts week in Guelph this April.

I met up with Angela Drystek, Kazoo Print Expo Coordinator, to talk about the new and upcoming Kazoo Print! Expo during the infamous Kazoo Fest that celebrates local music in Guelph.

“The event has been going on for a number of years,” said Drystek. “It started off as a pure zine festival and was for a small zine community around Guelph. [During] the past couple years it’s been comics and zines and now I’ve changed it entirely for print media.” 

Guelph is home to a tight knit community of artists that work together in organizing shows and getting their work out for fans to enjoy. It’s through this sort of mutual collaborative work that Guelph has been able to sustain such an intimate and yet powerful music and visual arts scene.

“The mission [of Kazoo Print!] is to celebrate local Guelph media,” said Drystek. “Kazoo has a long history of holding shows in Guelph and they’re always getting really interesting and upcoming artists/illustrators to work on their posters for them. The Guelph zine community is quite small, and I wanted to open it up to a larger scene."

The Kazoo Print! Expo is shared by Guelph and Toronto, a half-and-half ratio of artists from both ends, allowing for a interesting range of art to come into contact under one roof.

“The Guelph zine community is too small to have one event and the zines are usually more political,” said Drystek. “I wanted to move away from the 'zine' and more towards 'print media.'"

The collaboration between music and visual art share an symbiotic relationship, where the success of one seems essential to the other in circulating their product.  

“Kazoo started off putting on shows and had this publication called Kazine [advertising local artists and events],” said Drystek. “When I took it over last year it was comics and zines, but I found that people from the comic side of things and from the zine side of things and they had two different visions of what they wanted the event to be. I thought okay, why don’t we try to go back to our roots and figure out where we came form and what place art and illustration actually has with Kazoo.” 

This year’s first Kazoo Print! Expo will feature 30 tables in Mitchell Hall, located within St. George’s Church on the first weekend of April.  

“As far as the tablers go we have zine artists, comic artists, print makers, screen printers, there’s people with small art-books and photo art-books,” said Drystek. “There’s an illustration art magazine from [Guelph-Toronto] coming called Carousel [and] there’s Impress, a small comic-illustration company based out of Toronto that do a lot of art-books.” 

The purpose of the Expo seems to bring new artists into contact with their broader community and be able to share their work outside of conventional venues that can often feel alienating.

“I went to school for studio art (I just graduated last spring) [...] and the whole process was aiming for me to be a fine artist and I really had this disconnect,” said Drystek.” The way that I see art is not white gallery walls and pristine [work] and things sold for thousands and thousands of dollars. I really don’t like that gallery systems. What I want is for art to be more accessible, a little more practical and maybe a little bit more commercial. This gives people the opportunity to sell their work on a smaller scale.”

For students and community members who love to support their local artists, this is a great way of getting a sense of the kind of art being produced in Guelph through mediums that are easily accessible and generate pride in a communities' ability to support each others work.

“When you're involved in the art world, especially at this stage when people are young and starting just out of school, you have this big group of friends, this big helpful community, but nobody can afford to buy your work,” said Drystek. “So [you end up] trying to get into galleries and sell your paintings for hundreds or thousands. [Kazoo Print] is another option for people to make their stuff more accessible to others and that’s why I love print media. You can make books, you can make zines, you can make photocopies and other visuals and people can actually own something.”

For more information visit the Kazoo Facebook page, or to get involved email [email protected]

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