If you hadn’t caught on to my life yet, I run a literary and art magazine called Canto Cutie that showcases the work of Cantonese diasporic artists and writers. I’ve been creating, printing, and distributing this magazine since 2020, when I was living in an apartment in San Jose. Pretty much day one of the pandemic, when I had a sudden influx of free time, I immediately sprung into action with this idea that’s been cooking on my mind for years. Ever since, it’s been a big part of my life.
Now I continue working on the magazine in the sticks of Vermont. Sometimes I leave our neck of the woods to table at zine festivals and independent press events, which brings me out to the *big city*.
Late 2022, I took the magazine on an unofficial tour! First to Boston for the Boston Art Book Fair and then Brooklyn for Zine Fair NYC. In Boston, I stayed in New Bedford, which was an hour away from Boston.
Every time I’m back in a big city, my first thought is “this is fun but I’m ready to go home.” I think I was meant for rural living because while I enjoy eating out, I’m done in like one day. Obviously there are lots of days where I want to scream because I’m tired of cooking and just want to get margs at happy hour but I’ve surprisingly adjusted well to living without the conveniences I had at my fingertips from when I was 18 to 28 years old.
The Boston Art Book Fair was three days but it was fun because it was very well organized, in a perfect venue with tons of foot traffic and great tablers. I met some really great people and was able to expand the reach of the project, and sell a lot of magazines.
While tabling can be exhausting, you use up your social energy really quick, one of the perks is food. They were experimenting with this new brand of seltzers, like an unofficial sponsor, and they were delicious. I probably had about 20 over the course of three days. We were also treated to free perogis, which I wasn’t aware you could crave but months later I wish I was eating perogis.
I met a lot of people with similar projects – like an AAPI oriented zine and collective in Rhode Island, a Risograph artist in New York, a queer zinester based locally but working on their first comic book.
These types of events remind you how lucky you are that you can create, and to create amongst other creators that you respect and admire is the ultimate source of fuel. It feeds me, refreshes me, and reminds me we’re all just drawing lil pictures at home and this won’t accomplish much in the big picture of global economic systems, but damn is it fulfilling.
I went out on a limb and traded a lot of zines, I also bought a lot of art. I bought a lot of Risograph prints and original zines and comics that I can’t wait to share.