Expozine Turns 18 With Over 300 Creators and Vendors

“You Would Have to Stay Here for the Two Days If You Wanted to See Everything”

  • Geneviève Darling (right) had brought prints, posters, and zines mixing feminine figures and political slogans with pastel tones. Photo Ingvild Wathne Johnsen

  • Concordia student Melissa Mathieson’s work features digital and watercolour paintings of abstract characters. Photo Ingvild Wathne Johnsen

  • The largest Canadian small press fair came back to town for its eighteenth edition on Nov. 16 and 17 Photo Ingvild Wathne Johnsen

The largest Canadian small press fair came back to town for its eighteenth edition on Nov. 16 and 17. Organized by the non-profit Archive Montreal, the event gathered more than 300 creators and vendors in the St. Arsène Church over the weekend.

The place was packed from the outset on Saturday morning, with hundreds of visitors slowly progressing through the aisles and chatting with creators.

“There is so much stuff. You would have to stay here for the two days if you wanted to see everything,” said Émilie Caron, who was at the fair with Pascal Bégin and their daughters Marine and Romie Bégin.

It was the family’s first time at Expozine, but they were already looking forward to next year’s edition.

“It’s a great activity to do with kids. There are so many things for them here, too,” said Caron.

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Marine Bégin was taking home a copy of the book Pourquoi les filles ont mal au ventre by Lucile de Pesloüan and illustrated by Geneviève Darling.

Darling was happily exposing her work at Expozine this year after already taking part in previous editions.

“It’s just a great fair. If I wasn’t participating, I would come just to buy stuff from other artists,” she said.

Darling was happily exposing her work at Expozine this year after already taking part in previous editions. Photo Ingvild Wathne Johnsen

The artist had brought prints, posters, and zines mixing feminine figures and political slogans with pastel tones.

“My art is about queer women’s visibility and softness. It’s about taking space with these images in soft ways from a female gaze—and pastel,” she said.

Recently, Darling collaborated with other Montreal-based artists for the zine I believe in Love.

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“It’s a collaboration with photographs, and I do illustrations and writing. It’s all about making a space for each other that is inspiring and empowering for the artists in it and the people reading it,” she said.

Others were exposing their work at the fair for the first time, such as Concordia student Melissa Mathieson. The fine arts major’s work features digital and watercolour paintings of abstract characters.

“My art is very whimsical. It’s about creating a space that doesn’t have any people, or specific areas involved. It’s all made up,” said Mathieson. “It’s my own made up world, and I want it to be a separate thing.”

Among the pieces that she was exposing at the fair, many prints were part of her Exhausted Planets series where Mathieson uses her usual bright colors and style to represent sick-looking imaginary planets.

“They’re made up planets, but kind of referring to climate change and our planet going downhill. I wanted to display that in a more fun and comical way,” she said. “This series is my favourite, so you can see it recurring in a lot of my stuff.”

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Mathieson shared her interest around how artists choose to tackle issues like climate change through their work. “I think it’s easier for the viewer to connect to big topics, not just climate change, through art. Seeing it in this format, it’s like small information that builds up over time,” she said.

Archive Montreal has recently collaborated with Concordia and longtime zine makers Jenny Lin and Eloisa Aquino of B&D Press. Their exhibition Zine Scene: Twenty Years of ARCMTL, also curated by Lin and Aquino, is on display at the Webster Library (LB-362) until December 17.

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