New kid on the block brings back zine culture with art show

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Two decades ago, Oklahoma City was a hotspot of independent magazine publishing.

These do-it-yourself zines — often photocopies of cut-and-tape pages filled with hand-drawn illustrations stapled together by hand — were found on shelves of nearly every indie music and book retailer in town. Titles like Hitch, Damaged or Goin’ Sane gave hungry readers alternative and counterculture viewpoints on everything from politics and pop culture to pregnancy and pride.

It was a creatively fruitful time, but as the Internet flourished, feelings and opinions spewed forth on blogs for everyone to see.

The Internet age also ushered in the death of local zines.

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A real blockhead
At 28 years old, local artist Clint Williams misses those days.

He’s bringing zines back with the creation of a stylized publication that outdoes the cut-and-paste chore of yore.

His work debuts 5 p.m. Sunday at his OK Blockheads art show at Tall Hill Creative, 3421 N. Villa Ave.

“The stuff for this show is all block prints — a really, really primitive form of printmaking,” Williams said. “I’m essentially making stamps.”

His prints are based on images from his zine, which also debuts at Sunday’s show. His mixed media prints start with watercolor and spray-paint bases, which are then block-printed over. The process lends his works unique depth and texture.

The larger pieces highlight his zine creation, as it’s crafted entirely with block lettering and filled with work from different Oklahoma artists, including Amiko Lester, Tafv Tahdooahnippah and Dylan Eubanks.

“Maybe a year, year and a half ago, I was at an art supply store and wanted to try doing something new,” Williams said. “I like printmaking and screen printing, but it’s time-consuming and expensive — you have to have more of a setup to it. The block printing is something I’m able to do in my living room on a smaller-scale process.”

Sunday, Williams also will sell t-shirts and stickers featuring his block printing artwork, as well as what he has dubbed “zine packs” that include swag and assorted goodies that tie in with the show and participating artists.

“I have a few other friends locally that have been making zines for a year or two. The art form may be a little dated, but I hope it catches on again,” he added. “It’s a fun way to self-publish and write about whatever you want.”

Each issue of OK Blockheads is $5, and Williams said the best place to pick up a copy is at his show.

Right now, local distribution points are still being decided, but they could soon be available “somewhere in the Plaza District” as early as Monday.

“I don’t know anyone else that’s really doing any block printing locally right now, so to see something different, this is a great show,” Williams said. “Buying a copy of OK Blockheads is an easy way to support and take part in the larger part of the art show, with art that is easier to take home. It makes what I do more accessible to more people.”

OK Blockheads

5 p.m., Sunday

Tall Hill Creative
3421 N. Villa Ave.

Print headline: Building Blocks, Clint Williams’ OK Blockheads brings zine culture back to the metro.


Louis Fowler

This article was written by an Oklahoma Gazette contributor. To reach an editor, please email with this story's headline in your subject line.

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