If you don’t know the names of Pen15 Press, Wild Isle, For the Birds collective, Birdsong Collective, Burn Books and Brooklyn Arts Press yet, you probably should. These groups are producing indie art books worth a look, and form the center of Brooklyn DIY arts publishing. Yet even given the ready scene of indie publishing and willing artists and writers, creating and selling good work remains a day-to-day battle in the cacophony of Brooklyn creative production.
Birdsong is a collective of artists, writers, printmakers and publishers, but it’s also a zine press, and it’s also a cultural moment. You may have noticed editor-in-chief Tommy Pico’s place on the L Magazine’s “Young New Yorkers Who Are Better Than You” feature. Self-consciously confessional, diaristic and young, the pieces and creators that make up the latest two editions of Birdsong the bimonthly zine (numbers 13 and 14) might have a hipster sheen, but what makes them worth reading is their desire to go past the slick surface, an unwillingness to be superficial. Birdsong boasts a solid heart of dedicated writing, drawing and thinking, and it’s this thoughtful center that makes the short zines worth picking up.