Zine Machines in Calgary

Enterprising Calgarian Karlene Nicolajsen, has refurbished two vending machines she now calls “Zine Machines” to sell short works of art to promote local writers.

The unique vintage machines sell small circulation, do-it-yourself publications with varied content such as fiction, how-to articles, and poetry, said Nicolajsen.

“It’s for the sake of art and awareness,” she said in a recent interview

The idea for the machine was sparked when Nicolajsen saw a newer vending machine converted for magazines while visiting Montreal.

Nicolajsen began the Zine Machine project last spring.

One of the machines is a converted map machine located at Shelf Life Books on 4th Street S.W. just south of 13th Avenue. The other is a recently refurbished candy machine that doesn’t have a home yet.

Nicolajsen said her goal with the machines is to introduce, surprise, delight and provide a distribution apparatus for publications that aren’t widely available.

“With the Zine Machine I’m trying to distribute for everybody,” said Nicolajsen.

The machines focus firstly on local artists and secondly on Canadian artists.

She says she has received a lot of positive feedback about the machines, and people like the concept of reclaiming vintage machinery for art distribution.

Nicolajsen is also a founder of a small startup press, Small Ghosts, that is literally run out of a closet. Small Ghosts helps local artists who don’t have the means or time to print their work.

Nicolajsen said she has been producing magazines since she was in high school.

She has written some material for the machines, but said the work of other artists go into the machines before her own.

Nicolajsen is searching for artists to provide new content for the machines.

“There is content I don’t personally make as well, which I am trying to get my hands on more of,” she said.

Local artists interested in having their work sold in the Zine Machines can visit Small Ghosts at smallestghost.tumblr.com and email them.

Nicolajsen said they look for art based content, and all profits made from the machines go to the artist.

About Devon Patterson 6 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Devon Patterson worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2012-2013 academic year.