The Possibilities of Zines Are Endless 

I’ve been making zines since 2016, currently under the moniker Milky Breath. I live and work in Naarm (Melbourne, Australia) on unceded Wurundjeri land. Upon reflection, I’ve been making zines since I was around 10, I just didn’t know it. They helped me to express myself. I value accessibility and as someone who has never had much money to buy art supplies or be involved in exhibitions, I appreciate zines for their accessibility and possibility.

As a non-binary zine maker and a mental health advocate, I try to use my zines and my media platform to speak candidly about my mental illness to encourage others who are struggling to reach out when they need help and to show them that they’re not alone. I use my art as a way to overcome the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

I began my creative journey in 2016 when my psychologist suggested that I start drawing pictures and comics as a form of mindfulness. I always enjoyed drawing, I just didn’t think I was any good. When I had enough drawings, I turned them into my first issue of Fully Sick, Chronically Sad, my ongoing comic series about living with Borderline Personality Disorder.

My friend Ziggy (@ziggyfilth on Instagram) was my inspiration to begin making zines, she gave me the idea and encouraged me to put my drawings into a zine in the first place. I can’t thank her enough. Zines are such a huge part of my life. I’m grateful to have met so many new creative and kind people. My boyfriend, Michael, also inspires me, I wouldn’t be able to create without his constant love and support.

The possibilities of zines are endless. They can be in any format, about any subject – no matter how niche. My mum thought she couldn’t make a zine because she doesn’t draw, but we just made a zine together this year. Zines don’t have to ‘be’ anything, which is the greatest part about them.

AJ Dance is a chronically ill zinester and writer living on unceded Wurundjeri land.

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