Calgary friends start a ‘zine’

Two teens have produced a “zine” titled Lowlife out of a University of Calgary residence bedroom.

Grant Jackson and Clayton Bruce, both 19 and from Calgary, started the small publication out of Jackson’s campus bedroom in July. A zine is a small magazine that is produced cheaply usually by an individual or group who are not considered to be professional writers.

Jackson is a freelance photographer and Bruce is a poet, and they brought their work together to create the zine.

“We were inspired by everyday life and just wanted to have fun, and have other people see it,” Jackson said.

The first issue of Lowlife was released on Feb. 4.

Jackson and Bruce have had a lot of interest and sales since releasing it.

“We’ve given away more copies than we’ve actually sold, but the feedback has been really encouraging,” Bruce said.

Bruce and Jackson have been friends since high school. When Jackson began talking about starting a zine based on his photography, Bruce added the idea of poetry.

Jackson had been very interested in photography since Grade 8, but began taking it seriously in high school. He primarily photographs architecture and more grungy places around Calgary and Alberta.

Bruce began writing poetry at a young age, but started being more open to make his work public in late high school, posting it on social media for friends and family to read.

The title Lowlife was chosen by Bruce to reflect the nature of the zines.

“It has very humble origins. Our friend edited it and we designed every aspect of it,” Bruce said. “I chose it to encompass the culture of zines, which is a very gritty subculture.”

Jackson and Bruce created the first edition of Lowlife with a very limited budget.

Bruce graduated from a firefighting program in October and has been struggling to get hired due to his age.

“No one wants to hire a 19-year-old, so costs for printing this needed to be minimized as much as possible, so we printed it off at my dad’s work,” Bruce said.

Jackson is currently a second-year business student at the University of Calgary and hopes to branch off into marketing.

While the men have yet to set a schedule to continue creating more volumes, they hope to eventually release a monthly issue and gain more local popularity.

“We didn’t do this for the money,” Jackson said.

Added Bruce:“That’s not why we started doing this. We were inspired and just wanted to have fun”.

We didn’t do this for the money. – Grant Jackson.

Both Jackson and Bruce have set up Instagram and Facebook pages to catch the attention of more readers.

About Zienab Hamdan 6 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Zienab Hamdan worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2015-16 academic year.