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Ohio State students built a magazine from scratch

CJ Fink in the living room of their apartment, the headquarters for the magazine and where they host house shows. Credit: Oliver Boch

Ohio State student CJ Fink finished 2017 by starting a homemade zine series that they’ve since turned into a full-fledged magazine whose second issue comes out May 31.

Fink, a fourth-year in English and editor in chief of the Dollhouse Magazine, started creating zines, small self-published booklets of personal and submitted works, in an effort to push forward marginalized voices.

Fink originally planned to publish one zine per month for 12 months and let it organically either die out or evolve. It turned out that it would evolve.

“We look for work that is feminist in nature. We want it to come across as a feminist arts and culture magazine. We also really prioritize work from women, people of color, trans people,” said Fink about the content they include in the magazine.

Putting together the issues began without formal experience creating or working on a magazine, but they had a goal to expand the original zines. Having been in the Columbus zine and house show scene already, the staff took their perspective, learned the software to assemble a magazine, and put out requests for submissions to the project.

Abby Wagner, a third-year in social work and the Dollhouse Magazine’s art director, said, “Even if it’s challenging and a lot of work, it’s so much a labor of love.”

The fate of the magazine is still up in the air with various members of the staff graduating from OSU this semester. However, they are determined to continue publishing issues. “The dollhouse is just as much a community as it is a publication and a house. If somebody moves away, it will just move with them,” said Wagner.

The goal for publication is to produce three issues per year, around one every four months. Although Fink plans to move to Chicago in August, they said that they will still be able to help create the magazine and even potentially generate issues for an audience in Chicago.

In January 2018, shortly after the zines started coming out, the Dollhouse, which also refers to the apartment that Fink and their friends rent near campus, started hosting live shows featuring local bands.

The shows became very popular, and at their peak the Dollhouse was hosting them up to once a week. “We got a noise complaint … it was just a good opportunity for us to slow down and really think about what we were trying to do with the space we have. So, now we just pick and choose the shows that we want to have,” said Fink.

The release party for issue two will be hosted by the Brother’s Drake on 5th Ave behind Out of the Closet.

One comment

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