Read our first special-edition risograph zine — all about objects we value the most.
Letter from the Editor
By Keating Zelenke
About a year ago, the company that usually prints our magazines stopped carrying the paper we’ve used for years, and I had to meet with a customer service representative to test out new stock. In the middle of talking about paper weight and opacity, matte versus glossy texture and supply chain issues, the salesperson cut himself off and shook his head.
“My life is about paper,” he said. “How depressing is that?”
Before I could even give an awkward little laugh in response, he was back to talking about different pricing options. However fleeting, I have never forgotten about that moment. My life is about paper.
I don’t think my life is about paper, but the minute details of print production certainly take up enough space in my brain to be considered a hobby, at least. Not only have I spent the last two years adjusting magazine layouts pixel by pixel, but I also started trekking out to Manhattan and Brooklyn every few weekends to see artists tabling at art book and zine fairs, where I learned even more about different kinds of printing — including risograph printing, the method we decided to use for this issue of the magazine.
The booklet you’re holding right now has been printed using exclusively two inks: Bright Red and Blue. There’s no black ink, nor any white or yellow or purple or anything but these two colors — and yet the depth! The dynamics! The richness! Both the red and blue inks were laid individually, resulting in the birth of new shades of purple where they overlap. These inks are cradled within the buttery confines of 52 80-pound Bright White vellum paper pages, triple-collated and staple-bound. From a paper hobbyist to a casual citizen: you’re holding in your hands a level of quality I once could only dream of.
Though I knew I wanted to close out my three years at The Press with a risograph zine, I didn’t know what the contents should be. The idea of a yearbook was floated around, but that felt a little too contained. I wanted to include the campus community in the creation of something that any student could pick up off a newsstand and enjoy. Then came the idea of an open call-style collection of stories. I liked the idea of writing about sentimental objects, because I think each of our little treasures is a physical representation of the secret lives we don’t necessarily share with others.
In editing each of these blurbs from my fellow writers and editors, I learned new, small details about people I thought I already knew so well. I recognized the necklace Jane wore every day, but I never considered what the heart jewel with a sword through it might have meant to her. I had long known Rafael’s favorite color was yellow, but I never would’ve guessed his love came from watching Snow White as a kid. Maybe I had noticed Ali wearing a couple of rings before, but I had never given a thought to which ones he wore consistently — and I certainly never thought about why.
I spent hours posing and photographing each person in this zine, listening to them in the office on the couches behind me as they laughed and joked and messed around. I have spent weeks navigating how to best display each one of them and the objects they hold dear. The final task before completing the zine was to illustrate the cover — I decided to individually draw each person’s object in the room of some fictional universe, where all of our things are collected like a diorama memorializing the short time we all spent together. The result is not only this beautiful risograph zine, but a kind of carnation blossom, slowly opening, slowly revealing itself through a tight flurry of petals.