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Riding the Brain Waves

Kate Wadkins, Storefront gallery manager and now Brain Waves curator, has been involved in zine culture since she was a teenager, and she continued to celebrate this pastime last Friday, January 28 with the opening of Brain Waves, Storefront’s zine and print collection. Storefront, which just celebrated its one-year-anniversary, was a triple threat on Friday. In conjunction with the Brain Waves opening, there was also Mary Judge’s solo show, Pop-Oculus that took place in the front room, and Wavelength, a group show in the back featuring works by Judith Braun, Maureen McQuillan and Susanna Starr. “[Wavelength] was kind of part of the impetus of having Brain Waves open at the same time. We just thought it was too much of a coincidence to have Wavelength and Brain Waves [open simultaneously],” Wadkins said.

Wadkins, along with Storefront founders and directors Jason Andrew and Deborah Brown, is using Brain Waves as yet another platform for artists within the space. “It [is] a really good opportunity for me to be able to tap into all the things that I [see] going on and give people just one other way to get their work out there,” Wadkins said. The collection is going to be rotating and the goal, as of now, is to have a new zine every month with a corresponding opening.

Given the nature of zine and small press culture, some of the editions have pretty small runs so they will be continually replaced, making the rotation process virtually effortless. “I think it’s going to be a pretty healthy turnover just because we already had a bunch of sales in the first week,” Wadkins said optimistically.

For now, the collection consists of mostly zines, but while they’re all considered “zines” technically, each one is wildly different from the next. Some are literary zines, and others, that have been printed via silkscreen or linoleum cuts, strongly resemble artist books. As well, they currently have several pieces up that fall into the “prints and other ephemera” section, a category they would like to eventually build up further. Lauren Denitzio’s “One Chapter in the Book” is a full-sized print, and Aimee Lusty has silk-screened “Beach or Bust” totes.

Additional artists whose works are featured as part of the Brain Waves collection are: Kathleen McIntyre who edits “The Worst,” a compilation zine on grief and loss, Cynthia Schemmer, who has a zine called “Habits of Being,” which is oral history mixed with her own personal non-fiction stories and “Endless Bummer,” a comic by Bob Thompson. Others still include: “Hellride” by Jess Poplawski and Matt Sidella, “How Appropriate” by Jason Roy, “Angst Anthems,” by Tamara Waite-Santibanez who just opened a print shop in Greenpoint and Pen 15 Press, a small press that houses quite a few zines of their own.

Wadkins has had no trouble finding zines to include in Brain Waves. “It’s a matter of work that I’m excited by, work that I don’t see anywhere else and [work] by artists that are contributing other elements to our community,” Wadkins said. She added of the Brain Waves pieces: “They’re just really [such] innovative texts that it’s exciting to see them in zine format, but you also kind of hope that exciting, creative work like that will make its way into the culture at large at some point.”

For future content, Wadkins will certainly continue choosing zines she’s a fan of—at this point she can still think of more folks whose work she’s looked over that she would definitely like to obtain material from—but she will also be accepting solicitations. “Storefront’s mission is to promote emerging artists in the local Bushwick and Brooklyn and New York area, so in that spirit, I’m definitely open to submissions, as well,” Wadkins said affirmatively.

Next up on the Brain Waves agenda is to have an opening in early March for a new zine called “Artefacts” by repeat offender Aimee Lusty. Wadkins, with the help of Andrew and Brown, is still trying to figure out the logistics of Brain Waves celebrations. They may plan another party in conjunction with whatever else is opening at Storefront, but they’re also talking about doing it differently. Either way, be sure to check out their Web sites for updates on their happenings: brainwavesbrooklyn.tumblr.com and storefrontbk.com, and make sure to drop by to catch the Brain Waves collection, along with group show Wavelength and Mary Judge’s Pop-Oculus.

Storefront is located at 16 Wilson Ave. in Brooklyn. For questions about Brian Waves, or to submit your zine, contact: brainwavesbrooklyn@gmail.com.

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