When one of It’s Nice That’s illustrator-loves Joey Yu posted about a “paperless” zine she had worked on with poet and model Wilson Oryema for Earth Day it’s fair to say we were more than a little intrigued. Joey – who has rapidly made waves in the creative-sphere as an illustrator, animator and curator through projects with the likes of Nike and pieces featured in independent publications such as Hard Ears – has been on our radar for a while now and as It’s Nice That love to actively celebrate pro-environmental causes and innovative work, a zine both paperless and with the aim of being a “gentle reminder to be gentle to our home” had us sold.
“We referred to it as a paperless zine,” Joey tells us. “A zine being an independent, non-commercial kind of homemade product of love – it’s a quick easy way to consume information. Making it digital doesn’t make it any less a ‘zine’, and you don’t use any printer paper!”
“We had both wanted to do something together for a while,” she adds. “and whilst talking about consumption and waste we thought that Earth Day was a perfect time to show something we are passionate about.” The digital zine fuses the quirky, sketchbook-inspired illustrations of Joey with Wilson’s poetic, striking, repetitive phrases, such as “PROTECT ENDANGERED SPECIES”, which can be seen in bold capitalised type pop off a pink background, repeated nine times. Of his draw to the project, Wilson adds, “I thought it was important to use what attention we had to bring awareness about earth day and some of the issues that are highlighted on the day through the work people know us for.”
Why is Earth Day particularly important to them, we ask? “It doesn’t hurt to take a little time to reflect on our actions and just question how our actions affect our surroundings,” Joey puts forward. “Whether it’s bringing your own reusable bags out shopping, or taking packaging home with you to recycle. I used to buy bottles of water all the time until I realised how much waste I was causing. It really builds up!”
“It’s important to us, but also to everyone,” Wilson enthuses. “Even though everyone is aware we are only able to survive because of the particular conditions on earth we have at the moment. It’s important to take time to appreciate that and do our best to reduce our negative impact on the planet.”
The interplay with words and imagery is a particularly striking element of the zine, with Wilson first writing the poetry and Joey aiming to go off the feelings that grew from inside her from the poems. “Certain words or phrases stuck out to me which acted as springboards,” says Joey, with Wilson chiming in, “We have this really great appreciation of each other’s work, and so, I think we’re able to bounce off each other really well.”
So what were the duo’s aims for the zine in the eye of the beholder? “I hope the zine will resonate in both an aesthetic and meaningful way. And, it’s made to be something shared, so hopefully, people will spread the message, share a poem or image if they like it.” With the fusion of these two revered creatives unique styles and coherent message, we’re sure we’ll see the Earth Day zine’s pages reposted on Instagram for quite some time now.
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