Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Billy, also known as Starchild Stela. I’m a non-binary multi-disciplinary artist and illustrator. I love to organize events and art shows. I’m also very passionate about anti-oppression politics and self-publishing.
My current works centre around emotionality, vulnerability and softness, with a strong emphasis on my experience as a trauma and sexual violence survivor.
Femme-Crimes Distro is a zine project I’ve been working on for about a year now and is still developing. I wanted to create a catalogue of zines that are art-based and created by people who identify with feminist values and queerness. I distribute zines and comics created by people with various life experiences and different backgrounds. The core direction of my distro is to value the plurality of femme identities and the exploration of its various aesthetics.
How did you start making zines? Who/what influenced you?
I started to read zines years ago, and traded some through mail with people from the Internet. I got into printing with zine making, which was a life-changing discovery! I started to do mostly mini-zines with little doodles. I was making one each month for two years, and I slacked a bit this project as I was busy with life. I did more elaborate illustration zines eventually. Now I try to work on zines that are have more writing in it ( a good example is ‘What is Left: A Zine About Grief’), but it’s still hard for me to share personal stories. My upcoming projects are a zine illustrating my thoughts around my gender identity as a non-binary femme person and another zine collab with my internet friend, poet and artist Lora Mathis.
Coming from a low-income background, self-publishing is for me one of the most effective ways to create accessible work. It’s also a good method to share ideas; it’s very powerful to have control over things you write.
My short period navigating academia made me very reluctant of institutions and stressed the desire to create projects that are accessible – as a poor and mentally unstable person, it’s very hard to fit in and strive within these circles. I love the informal nature of zine culture.
I’m also an emerging artist who dislike galleries. I don’t have a formal art training and my work as a street artist is DIY based in itself. So zine-making is for me a therapeutical medium letting myself express my feelings and articulate my responses to oppression.
Tell us about a feminist who inspires you to keep working on your zines/projects.
There’s a lot of writers and artists who influenced me over the years. I think I am greatly in-debt towards my communities, and it’s important to highlight some of the works that is being done at the moment.
I read all the zines I can who are written by survivors. Clementine Morrigan is a writer/zine maker who I’ve read with excitement in the past two years. Their work is honest and raw, and truly touch my heart. Their writing really validated some of my feelings surrounding polyamory and mental health, alongside many thoughts on being femme.
I recently read “How Poetry Saved My Life” by Amber Dawn (her memoir about sex work and survival), which really resonated with me and inspired me to write and make art based on my story. I’m always looking forward reading survivors stories and look at their artwork. Its also important to acknowledge the work of trans women and trans feminine people, as well as women of color in our feminist work and communities.
What excites you about Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair or the idea of feminist zine fairs in general?
I am super excited to visit a new city. Zine fairs are overwhelming and I’m always a bit shy. I’m looking forward finding new illustrated zines to distribute! ❤ Don’t be shy to submit them to my distro!
The Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair, organized by SACHA, celebrates and creates spaces for marginalized groups to have discussions about feminism through do-it-yourself publishing.
We’re aiming to create an accessible event that gives a platform to those often under-represented in zine culture.
HFZF will have people tabling, selling and chatting about their zines, workshops, a calm chill out space and a six hour zine challenge.
When: Saturday, November 7th from 11am to 5pm
Where: YWCA Hamilton – 75 MacNab Street South, Hamilton ON
Accessibility: The space is accessible, including washrooms. Here’s some more information about safe(r) spaces at HFZF.