Post by Kathleen Hefty
Stemming from his passion for graphic novels, comics, and zines, Robin Enrico had a vision for a small scale fair that would showcase a community of New York-based artists and writers producing exciting and underexposed zines. The result was Paper Jam
, a carefully curated selection of small press material that took over Bushwick’s Silent Barn
on February 8. Robin explains that his intentions for Paper Jam grew out of a desire to create an alternative to the larger and more grandiose art/book fairs. “Big flea market style festivals have their place,” Robin explains, but he wanted to move away from the often overwhelming nature of those environments and focus on something smaller, more approachable. Robin turned to friends Paige K. Bradley, G.W. Duncanson, and Nina Mashurova to help decide the roster of 24 artists for the event, which meant a variety of viewpoints were reflected and expressed. Thanks to this group curating process, the scope of zines was large: everything from photo zines to art comics to anarchist and political zines had their place, providing a plethora of options to fit each fair-goer’s interest. And rightfully so: the fair drew a sizeable crowd—around 200 people—and offered much more than the standard fair’s table set-up: Amid the artist’s stands, there was a photo booth, an arcade game, records to snag, hair cuts to be had, and spots to sit, relax, and drink a beer. In the end, Paper Jam
brought together a diverse group of emerging artists and enthusiasts, and provided a platform for them to engage with others that share their passion for printed matter. Robin’s real hope, he expressed, was that the artists sell books to people who don’t usually buy books. And it seems from the large crowd and positive response, that that must be true.