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The best art zines and independent magazines in Singapore

Before you hit the Singapore Art Book Fair, here are some local zines and mags you should have on your radar

Sand
Sand
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Print is not dead – and the Singapore Art Book Fair clearly shows that people are still willing to shell out for zines and mags. It's a way for young creatives to birth ideas that can then make waves all over the world. Unlike your average bookstore magazine, independent zines centre on underground topics that are usually left untouched by the mainstream. Conveyed through illustrations, photographs, and texts – it's basically Tumblr in book form sans all the gifs. Here are some of Singapore’s freshest titles to catch at the weekend fair.

Rubbish Famzine by Holycrap

Rubbish Famzine

Cue the wonderful world of Rubbish Famzine, the brainchild of art collective Holycrap which happens to be a family of four – dad Pann, mum Claire, and Singapore’s youngest creatives, Renn and Aira. A flip through the charming bi-annual zine, immediately reveals why this quirky read reached cult status in Singapore and abroad. Whether it’s packed in an old biscuit tin or between a wooden flower press, its eccentric content opens up to odd chronicles, filtered photographs and kooky illustrations based on themes not only suited for adults, but younger readers too. Besides zine-making, this rad family also conducts art exhibitions (including Odd Creatures by Renn and Aira) that have bagged multiple awards.

Staple Magazine

Staple Magazine

One for you curious creatures, Staple is an annual zine that’s laden with nuanced content that explores our social and cultural environment. Contesting mainstream ideas, the zine keeps us scanning 'cos of its unconventional ideas that cleverly summarise our tendency to form emotion and identity. Another striking element? The stunning visuals pieced together in pages painted in specific colour schemes, accompanied with eye-catching typography that leaves your fingers itching to flip for more.

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Sand

Sand

Entering the zine scene with its interview-based debut in 2016, Sand has featured profiles of indie creatives, craft makers and business owners in various niches, as well as opinion pieces, reviews and essays on current social and political issues. Championing individuality and creativity, the title steps outside the box by not being genre-defined as a lifestyle, art or travel magazine. It simply takes you behind-the-scenes of works born from scratch, with an in-depth look into the brains that initiated them – a perfect read if you’re thinking of starting something to call your own.

Your Local Newsstand

Your Local Newsstand

Not your average zine, Your Local Newsstand is more of a picture book, but not the illustrated kind. The title was birthed to showcase readers' images and the stories that connect them. Its pages are mostly occupied with images and short captions, so giving this hard copy a read is an absolute breeze. It’s currently running a series aptly called Portraits of People where it features stunning headshots of people from all walks of life. All about elevating the zine scene, Your Local Newsstand also publishes under-the-radar zines of local solo artists, as well as those around the world.

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The Ideology
BooksActually

The Ideology

Decked in pages of beautiful pencil illustrations, The Ideology packs a punch when it comes to conveying profound thoughts and stories onto paper. Each issue is fixated on a topic that explores life in various aspects where its debut sees the discussion on solidarity, while the second tackles on seeking comfort. Unlike other local zines out there, the minimalist aesthetics of The Ideology very well captures the narratives lined in its pages, allowing readers to focus on the texts rather than be distracted by bold visuals. The gorgeous illustrations that accompany the texts are all drawn and written by artist Eve Yeo.

Squelch Zines

Squelch Zines

The epitome of eccentricity, Squelch Zines is not a magazine per se, but an experiential craft studio that’s managed by a team of creatives whose styles are straight up outlandish. One for the zine community, storytelling and self-expression are delivered via visual experiments, from lo-fi to hi-fi, photocopied or hand-crafted, and more. Besides being a great outlet for discovering new titles, the team also spearheads The Zine Room at the Singapore Art Book Fair for swaps, and conducts workshops on how to create zines from scratch — great for budding zine makers.

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