Home > Self-made: zines & artist books

Self-made: zines & artist books

Visit our touring exhibition

This bold exhibition delves into the evolution of do-it-yourself culture, from limited-run artist books to cut-and-paste photocopy fanzines.

Discover science fiction fanzines from the 1940s, ground-breaking 1970s punk zines, Australian underground press publications, and artist books designed to defy tradition and buck the commercial gallery system.

Self-made is touring regional galleries in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland from March 2018 to November 2019. View dates and locations under 'Plan your visit'.

Artists books

Feather and prey, Peter Lyssiotis, Masterthief Enterprises, Melbourne, 1997

Feather and prey, Peter Lyssiotis, Masterthief Enterprises,  Melbourne, 1997

Be inspired by examples of artists books held in the Library's Rare Books Collection.

Des Cowley on artists books

Watch a video with Rare Printed Collections Manager Des Cowley and discover how artists books are rare works of art expressed in book form.

Sasha Grishin on printmaking & artists books

Hear from Professor Sasha Grishin in this video, discussing how Melbourne is a centre of printmaking and artists books in Australia.

Zines collection

blue background with cassette and

The Library collects all forms of popular culture, including of course zines, comics and graphic novels. Find out more!

Research guide

Jonathan Tse, Portrait of an Australian, Robertson, J Tse, 1998

For DIY tips, browse the Library's research guide to zines, graphic novels and more.

Exhibition partners

This exhibition is supported by the Visions regional touring program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to cultural material for all Australians, and Creative Victoria.

Touring partner

Program partner

Media release

Gracia and Louise collage of animals

Read the media release about the exhibition in our news blog.

About the curator

Monica Syrette attended the Canberra Institute of the Arts in the late 1980s, when the city was a major centre for artists books in Australia. In the 1990s she worked at Sydney independent music retailer Waterfront Records, ordering zines from local and international makers and distributors.

Monica was archivist at Arts Project Australia and assistant curator at the Grainger Museum, founded by composer and pianist Percy Grainger. Most recently she curated the exhibition Wharfies support! Social justice activism from the Melbourne Docks at Library at the Dock.

Kenny Pittock

Kenny Pittock's playful artist books, sculptures and drawings respond to Australian culture, exploring the idiosyncrasies and dilemmas of modern-day life. There are plenty of examples of Kenny's artwork in this video, including his ceramic sculptures of books.

Jon Campbell

Jon Campbell is a Melbourne artist whose unique artworks combine his love of music, graphic design, lettering and slang. In this video, he discusses zines, self-publishing and his book of handwritten setlists from the early 1980s.


F*EMS are Freya Alexander, Anna MacNeill and Tegan Iversen: Females for Equality Making Stuff. They publish their zine three times a year, and include all submissions received from female-aligned or identifying people from all over the world. Watch the video to hear more about the simple but powerful messages their self-published zine gives a voice to.

David Wadelton

David Wadelton is an artist, painter, photographer and leader of the Northcote Hysterical Society, a Facebook group celebrating the vernacular, everyday and often-overlooked aspects of inner-Melbourne life and history. Watch the video to hear more about how David, an acclaimed exhibited artist, took up the camera after a hiatus of 40 years to become an accidental historian and alternative news source.

Plan your visit

colour photo of two men in T-shirts holding books

The Self-made exhibition has been touring regional galleries since 2018. 


Audio extras

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Go behind-the-scenes into the world of self-made publishing, and listen in as the creators of zines and artist books share their stories in our Audio extras.

Hear Laura MacFarlane, Bruce Milne and Janet Austin on fanzines; Marian Crawford and Adam Cruickshank on artist books; and Rob Jan and John Stevens on zines.