September, 2013 / Author:

Ho Tam’s project off to a great start

Despite its name, XXX isn’t all about sex – and yet in some ways, it is. It’s a collection of 100 copies of a dozen zines created by queer artists, and compiled by Vancouver-based artist Ho Tam.

“I chose the name because we would like to produce something different, alternative, perhaps provocative, and also allowing the artists to make work that may not be seen in the mainstream context,” said Tam, who is funding XXX himself. “Because of the cost of production and distribution, I realize that it is not something that will make money in a realistic sense,” said Tam. He cuts expenses by printing and binding the zines himself at home.

“I think our community is constantly changing and it is a good time to re-visit the queer politics and what and how queer artists are doing these days,” said Tam. He said he had a lot of support over his 20 years as an artist and decided it was time for him to give support to other artists. Tam chose the queer community because they have been particularly supportive.

Contributors are very appreciative of the opportunity. “Ho is a great artist and really great guy,” said contributor Dave Grywinski. “I was happy to work with him.” His zine features photographs of different men in various settings around Winnipeg. “It gives exposure for artists who people might never have heard of,” said Grywinski about the project. He said it also shows a different kind of art to people who go to galleries and exposes people who don’t normally attend exhibits to art. XXX also brings attention to the queer art scene.

What Winnipeg contributor Doug Melnyk loves about XXX is that it gives the public an affordable way to take art home, which can then be appreciated in different ways, because instead of standing in front of a wall starring at it you can take it into bed or the bath. Melnyk’s zine, Roy Drawings, is a comic. “Some of the other [zines] are darker, mine is pretty funny. And hopefully sexy,” said Melynk.

“There’s a lot of variety,” said Kegen McFadden, another Winnipeg-based contributor. “Some are really sexual, some aren’t at all.” McFadden’s zine, What I saw & what I did not see, consists of photographs of him from behind in different places around the world. “So often queer art or artists are seen in one way.

What Ho is doing is giving complexity to the dialogue,” said McFadden.

To support the project, drop by xxxzines.com and scoop up a few zines before the limited 100 copies sell out. New artists are being sought out and will be added so check back and watch XXX expand.


– Meg Crane is the sports, books and movies editor for OutWords

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