A family affair: How Rubbish Famzine is put together

Since its first issue in 2013, Rubbish Famzine has built a reputation for being a unique and very collectible magazine. And it’s all created by one family. Here, editor Claire Lim reflects on how the magazine first started and what the family have learned ten issues on

Back in 2011, the Lim family started an art collective called Holycrap after being inspired by random doodles drawn by son Renn. “We felt it would be a waste not to compile them properly,” says Claire Lim speaking on behalf of the family. “Also, Pann very often frequented schools in Singapore to give lectures and talks, and he felt guilty about not doing enough ‘creative education’ for our two kids.” 

The Singapore-based collective consists of mum Claire, dad Pann, son Renn and daughter Aira, and it wasn’t long before Holycrap took on its biggest and longest project to date. “When we travelled to Tokyo and Kyoto for the first time as a family in 2013, the four of us, armed with a point-and-shoot camera, each shot more than 100 rolls of film. Upon scanning the negatives, we realised the need to archive and put these wonderful memories into a publication,” explains Claire. “That was how Rubbish Famzine started. It was quite sudden and it was quick.”

Top: Inside cover detail, Rubbish Famzine No.2. Above: Cover Rubbish Famzine No.1. All images: Holycrap Collective

The name stems from ‘rubbish’ being a word often cheekily used at home, such as “don’t talk rubbish” or “that’s some good rubbish”. For Famzine, it’s the family’s playful take on the word fanzine, as it’s a publication with niche themes. “Renn describes it as different from other magazines because it depicts our very personal experiences and what we do together as a family during any period of time,” says Claire. “This is simply our way of putting together stories and memories that are meaningful to us.” 

What started as just one issue to house holiday memories has grown to encompass ten individual issues, each one unique and a love letter to craft and magazine publishing. “To be very honest, we started this journey of course with the hope that we can go on for as long as we can. I don’t believe anyone would want to start something just for a short while. But neither did we want to place on ourselves, nor the kids, any unnecessary expectations or stress,” reflects Claire.