By Carmen Saffioti
Published: November 8th, 2017
“Art for Art’s Sake” is what is written on the cover of the fourth edition of “Weirdo Brigade.”
The zine is a Brooklyn College publication of student artwork, poems, photography, rants, prose, and more. However, the “Weirdo Brigade” is unlike any other literary magazine on campus– it embraces free expression and authenticity. The zine’s purpose is to provide a censorship- free space for artistic students whose work is considered unconventional. One of the founders of the zine is Solansh Moya, a senior creative writing major at Brooklyn College. Originally, the zine was only available to a few members of the club, but as of the fourth issue, the “Weirdo Brigade” accepts submissions.
“Weirdo Brigade” was created in 2016 out of the two founders, Dahianna Feliciano and Moya’s disgruntlement for the world around them. They decided to do something about their frustration and to express themselves as openly as they could. “We decided to create an outlet where we could express ourselves in a more creative medium—through poetry, art, rants, collages, etc,” Moya said. “We then told a bunch of our closest friends, who were all thrilled to be a part of it.” Although the zine was created just last year, it is already growing. Recently Joely Acosta, a poet, joined the zine as their newest staff member.
The first three issues introduce the “Weirdo Brigade” and its creators. “We are a bunch of weirdos who just don’t belong…We are a creative bunch that have waited a long time to shine…Here we give ourselves the voice we’ve always wanted.” This mentioned voice is personified through the zine’s unique illustrations, expressive poetry, and poignant photographs. For instance, the first edition of the “Weirdo Brigade” features a poem entitled, “A Poem by a Nearsighted Hoe”– a less conventional poem with a narrative about a woman going blind. As professor of modern language and literatures, Fabio Girelli-Carasi, puts it: “[the poems] are raw without being over the top.” Moya approached Carasi about her work and the zine itself. According to Carasi, Moya completely ignored his advice but added, “I was very glad she had the gumption to go with her own guts.” The zine is clearly free of influence of any factor, whether that be commercial, pressure from peers, or pressure from teachers.
Part of the reason for the zine’s authenticity is due to the fact that the first three issues were kept privately among members of the zine. The decision to open up “Weirdo Brigade” to submissions was worthwhile. The fourth issue is full of interesting poetry, art, and short stories. Best of all, the pieces are diverse in terms of style, themes, and meaning. Artists of the zine come from all different backgrounds– including one from the United Kingdom. Mia Maxwell, an artist from London, submitted her self-portrait to the fourth issue of the “Weirdo Brigade.”
The fourth issue of “Weirdo Brigade” is entitled “Art for Art’s Sake.” Moya, when asked about the significance of that title responded, “My friend, Janettza Dejesus, a student at Hostos Community College, came up with the theme. She thought it would be cool to have a zine that’s straight up about art, one where we could create art for the fun of it.” This theme is exactly what “Weirdo Brigade” has come to represent. The title of the zine itself comes from the roots of the publication. Moya describes the meaning behind the title, “I thought it fit us well because our group is both really weird and socially awkward. The name literally came to fruition in all of five seconds after we decided to make a zine. It just fit us so well.” The “Weirdo Brigade” just began last year, but it is clear that it has a purpose. The zine is continuing to transform and define itself through its free expression. Students can submit their work to firstname.lastname@example.org for publication.