If you happen to be in Minneapolis you should check out this exhibition:
Sonnenzimmer at The MCAD Gallery
The Minneapolis College of Art and Design
January 18 – March 3, 2013
More info here. Sonnenzimmer website here.
From the MCAD website:
Sonnenzimmer is the Chicago-based art, design, and print studio of Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi. Merging backgrounds in typography, fine art, printmaking, and publication design, the couple’s commissioned and self-initiated work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including a recent exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Known primarily for their idiosyncratic take on printed matter, especially the screen printed poster, Sonnenzimmer has carved out a niche for their small commercial art studio, servicing an array of clients as varied as the Poetry Foundation, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sub Pop records, and numerous free jazz groups. Their work has been published by Gestalen, Rockport Publishers, and Princeton Architectural Press and is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Design and Architecture collection and the Museum of Design Zürich’s poster collection. Founded in 2006, Sonnenzimmer sees a bright future for the graphic arts as a new generation of image-makers emerges.
My favorite poster.
Kraftwerk box set, DAP
FW Books, Dutch Contemporary photo books
Paper Monument-Saddest ashtray ever
Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe – Marlborough Gallery
Swiss Room (one of my favorite rooms, above 5 pictures)
Desert Island Comics
C & P: You live in L.A. How long have you lived there? What do you like most about living there?
Deedee: I do live in L.A., I moved from rainy Oregon. I love it here. There is so much amazing art coming out of L.A. right now, and there is a lot to do: hiking, biking, surfing, museums, different kinds of food…
C & P: Have you spent any time in NYC or on the East Coast? Does being on the West Coast inspire your work?
Deedee: I love New York! for some of the same reasons as L.A.— galleries, food, endless cool stuff to do, great public art, but I love the lightness and sunshine in L.A.. I definitely think my work has a lot of influence from Southern California, My work is really inspired by natural environments.
C & P: Do you feel that there is a lot of interesting artwork being created in L.A. right now?
Deedee: Yes, there are really great artists living and working here: Mel Kadel, Shepard Fairey, Retna. I love seeing new murals and how art is becoming more of a public thing once again, like it was in the 1940s when the populist culture of the Mexican mural spread to Los Angeles and the greater U.S..
C & P: Where did you grow up? Were you a creative youth?
Deedee: I grew up in Oregon, my mom was a school teacher, and my earliest memories are of sitting at a little desk and making stuff—drawing and gluing while my mom was cooking in the kitchen. My mom was also in school when I was little and I remember going to her classes and drawing during the lectures.
C & P: You started out designing record covers and t-shirts for Oregon’s music scene in the early 90s and you were also in a band. How did your past creative endeavors lead you to the artwork that you are creating now?
Deedee: The punk art of the 70s was really inspiring to me. I liked the iconic and simplistic imagery. I liked the messy silk screened look, so when I got into my first band I was so excited to start making shirts and record covers. We were very DIY, even carrying our silkscreen on the road to screen shirts for people at our shows to make gas money to get to the next gig. I think the DIY ethic of the times definitely made me the artist I am. I mean, there weren’t many other girls making weird art and hanging it in their local punk clubs and having art shows back then. There certainly weren’t cool galleries in Portland then, so I just was propelled by my own desire to create, and by the music I was listening to that inspired me to rebel against the norm.
C & P: What were some of the bands that you created artwork for in the 90s? Do you still create artwork for bands?
Deedee: I mostly made stuff for the bands that I was in Adickdid, The TeenAngels, Juned, The Hindi Guns and a few other local bands.
C & P: Does music influence your work?
Deedee: I like listening to music when I paint. I love listening to Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service on BBC radio on the internet, it is the highlight of my week when I am in the studio painting.
C & P: Could you talk about the repeated use of the bear image in your work? Who is this mysterious bear and why does he so often appear to be plagued with some sort of existential malaise, a la Munch’s The Scream? Is the bear pissed off at the world?
Deedee: Yes, and no… The bears have always symbolized the Buddhist idea that to desire is to suffer. I think I first started painting bears when I quit smoking, and I was constantly looking for something outside myself to fill up the emptiness left by overcoming that addiction. I quit drinking, smoking, drugs, all that stuff awhile ago. It was so dark, but the desire for things outside of myself— whether it is a piece of art, or a piece of cake, or to gossip—whatever the need is that is taking me out of the moment, that is making me suffer, is the thing that the bear symbolizes, so the bear is the perfect metaphor, the ceaseless unending desire that compels most people to consume, to over consume, to feed their addictions to stuff or drink or drugs. I think we can all relate.
C & P: Are the characters in your pictures purely fictional or are they based upon people you know?
Deedee: That is funny. I am largely driven to create out of pain, or maybe I use my work to solve problems. Recently I had a crush on this guy, who is now my boyfriend. I had told a couple of my close friends, who decided it was a competition of sorts. With no loyalty to the friendship I would watch from afar as they followed him around. It was so painful to watch the long term friendships disintegrate before my eyes, and walk away from this guy I liked, but I didn’t want to compete so I just decided to hang out elsewhere with other people. My sadness over losing the friendship and feelings of being betrayed and burned came out in this really petty way. I mean I couldn’t help feeling that the whole situation was very high schoolish and in high school I obsessively drew horses, and one of the girls had some horse like qualities (according to one of my friends) so I just started drawing all of these culty brainwashed girls as horses, following around and worshiping these masculine bear creatures. It was amazing how satisfying (albeit juvenile) to transform my crappy feelings into a whole body of work for a show.
C & P: Your illustrations are populated by creatures found primarily in the Pacific Northwest, have you always drawn these particular animals (the bear, the owl, large wild cats)? Are you a fan of exploring the woods and camping out in the wilderness? Have you ever come into contact with any of these animals in the wild?
Deedee: As a kid, my mom took us camping for weeks at a time. Some of my most fun memories are of hiking in the woods in Oregon, sitting naked in hot springs in the woods while it was raining. One time my brother and I found a headless cow upside down in a stream that had bear claw marks all over it, and we still stayed in the campground near where it happened that night. We used to live in a log cabin in Wyoming that bears would come near all the time, and I still hear owls up by my parents house when I go visit, so yeah, animals from the Pacific Northwest are a huge inspiration to me.
C & P: How did the tree creatures and animal human hybrids that are repeated in your work come to be?
Deedee: The first girl with a bird head was a caricature of this girl in Santiago, Chile. I was living there, painting and playing in bands. My bandmate lived on the 21st floor of this building, and we would sit around and drink wine and do lots of drugs and his skinny model girlfriend would wander around the apartment talking in a little high-pitched voice, she was like this little beautiful bird in a cage, living up above the dirty city!
C & P: Many of the characters in your work are involved in blatantly sexual acts, which bring to mind images you might see in the Kama Sutra or in a relief in a Hindu temple in India. Are these works an influence on your illustrations?
Deedee: I am half Indian, and have spent time in India visiting family, and was initially inspired by one of my trips to a temple in Southern India where there was some hardcore monkey on giraffe, on tiger on bear action. The relief carvings were painted some really vibrant colors. They lined the outer parameter of the inner sanctum of the temple. I studied Indian temple imagery in college, and those things tend to symbolize spiritual inter-connectedness, and fertility for the earth and the crops—plentitude, abundance, etc. I guess my thoughts on it, beside the fact each human desires that connectedness—both emotionally and spiritually—are that the sexual imagery is my response to the disconnectedness, anger, and violence that we are bombarded with on a daily basis in our culture.
C & P: Your work also seems to reference the patterns and colors found in Indian textiles. Does Indian culture influence your work? Have you spent time in India?
Deedee: I do spend time with my family in India when I can. I was really inspired by the feminist art of the 60s that used textile patterns as a way of bringing “women’s work” into high art. I like textile patterns, and think it is interesting that every culture has their own unique patterns.
C & P: Some of the characters in your portraits are dressed in traditional Indian clothing while in other works they are wearing high society gowns and look like they may have just walked off the lawn of a George Seurat painting. Are you interested in fashion? Why do these two styles appeal to you in particular?
Deedee: I like to play with the issues of class.
C & P: What is your process like when creating your work? Do you draw by hand? Do you use a computer when creating your pictures? Do you ever make silkscreen prints?
Deedee: I draw, no computer rendering. Yes, I have been doing a lot more printmaking because I feel it makes my work more accessible to people who can’t afford a painting.
C & P: You told me that you just finished a body of work for a show. Is it in L.A.?
Deedee: I have a show up at Merry Karnowsky Gallery in Los Angeles right now. I also have upcoming shows in Melbourne and in the UK.
C & P: Where can we find you on the world wide web?
Spending time looking on les internettes* for artists to publish in Cheap & Plastique is one of my favorite past times. Tonight I came across the work of Nathaniel Russell. I especially like his fake fliers! He is a funny gent! Check out his website for additional fliers, illustration, lots o’ artwork, and an entertaining blog.
*I usually discover way too many radical peeps to include in the current issue of the zine & end up with little blue “future artistes” folders all over my desktop. When there is a goal in mind for these searches though I feel MUCH less guilty surfing the web, as it is not so much wasting time but work/research, some people actually get paid to do this, goddamnit!
Above spreads from Chapter One: Down The Rabbit Hole, Unique Silkscreened book,
33 x 46 cm, 2010
C & P: How did Bongoût begin? How did you start collaborating with Anna Hellsgård? When did you open the Bongoût art space/store? Who runs the Bongoût store? Are the shop, the graphic design/illustration business (Re:Surgo!), and the artist representative agency (Bellevue Illustration) all run by the same people, in the same space? Is this all you and Anna Hellsgård?
Bongoût/Christian: I started pretty punk. My first silkscreen atelier was in a huge alternative warehouse project across the Rhine, in Kehl (Germany), that was hosting rehearsal spaces, recording studios and event spaces. I was publishing silkscreen hand-printed artist books in a very DIY matter. Some of my friends started a small garage punk & noise label, so I would design and print the record covers. Meanwhile we organised concerts, exhibitions, raves and parties, So I was in charge of doing the design and print to advertise the events.
When I met Anna in 2001, we started collaborating and eventually our work became more structured and sharp. We relocated in Bordeaux for a year and a half. We quickly moved to Berlin. In Berlin we’ve had three different locations, and we’ve been in the space on Torstrasse since early 2008.
Our shop, design & print studio are all in the same location—we occupy the entire lower floor of Torstr. 110. Our illustration agency, Bellevue, is in the 4th floor in the same building. Anna and me run the graphic design studio and silkscreen studio together. We run the publishing company and shop with our partner Alain, and Bellevue is co-run by us and Jakob Hinrichs and Katia Fouquet.
C & P: Is there a silkscreen facility on the Bongoût premises? How often is the press in use?
Bongoût/Christian: The silkscreen print studio is in the back of of shop. Hardly a day goes by when we don’t print.
C & P: The Bongoût web shop sells photography, sculpture, paintings, handmade books, zines, limited edition prints, t-shirts, music, and more. Do you sell as much of a variety of products in the store? Who curates what is sold in the store and online?
Bongoût/Christian: Yes, in fact you can regard it as a sort of select shop—we carry things we like, mostly print publications (from polished offset artist monographs to DIY limited edition zines) but also prints, posters, apparel, vinyl records, and even chinaware designed by artists, and of course original artworks.
Biographical Chapter 12, Silkscreen print, 150 x 200 cm, 2011
C & P: Do you regularly have exhibitions in the space? Are the exhibitions always of people’s work who you sell in the shop?
Bongoût/Christian: For the last three and a half years, we had on opening every month and were having exhibitions non-stop in constant rotation. But we’ve had to focus more and more on our own work as well as the books we are publishing, and needed more space for the office and studio.
We moved them into the former exhibition space and are now having smaller shows every third month in the shop part of Bongoût. It’s not only people whose work is in the shop, but it will often be of artists who we’ve worked with in the past in some form. The connections come about quite naturally, and we develop the concept for the exhibitions together. When we were using the exhibition space we would approach it as a very flexible and modular space, and it looked different for every exhibition—adding temporary walls, changing the lighting, painting the walls different colours… each exhibition had a very unique character.
Loomings Chapter 1, Silkscreen print, 150 x 200 cm, 2010
C & P: Could you talk about the process of working with an artist/illustrator on a book or an art print? Do you silkscreen the book/print or does the artist silkscreen their own work? Or does the process vary from artist to artist, project to project?
Bongoût/Christian: We have very often worked with other artists—in fact, collaborations are an essential part. Each project defines a new set of rules, and in general we have a very good chemistry with our project partners. It’s comparable to making music with different people. It creates a good balance and challenges between our different projects.
C & P: Do you only print limited edition, hand-silkscreened books and prints in house? Do you ever send a project out to an offset press to print a larger edition of a book?
Bongoût/Christian: A few years ago we started to publish offset books. We now have a catalogue of over 15 offset publications, books & catalogues. We are currently working on three big offset monographs: a painting book by ATAK, a book of Marilyn Manson’s watercolours and a photo book with Natacha Merritt.
Given, 72 pages silkscreen book, 93 colours, 40 x 30 cm (above 3 images)
C & P: What is the most involved/complex project you have ever undertaken in Bongoût’s print shop?
Bongoût/Christian: We just finished Given, a huge collective silkscreen book. Three booklets in a cardboard box, 30 x 40 cm, 72 pages, and a run of 145. We used 93 screens for it. We asked 35 artists (Seripop, Tara Mc Pherson, Pakito Bolino, Gregory Jacobsen, Manuel Ocampo….) to submit images and we printed the whole project this summer. It´s massive.
C & P: How do you find the artists/illustrators/comics that you work with and/or represent? Are most of the Bongoût stable friends and/or acquaintances? People who have submitted work through your website? Or people that you have scouted out at schools and in other publications? Are they mostly German?
Bongoût/Christian: The connections happen naturally. The artists we work with come from all over the world. After 15 years of being active, we have a pretty good network, but we are always excited to discover new young talents to collaborate with.
C & P: How many projects do you work on at a time?
Bongoût/Christian: We always multi-task and work on several projects simultaneously. That’s how we can keep on being productive and avoid lulls. It is not unusual that a project goes over a time frame of three-six months (sometimes it takes a year or two to put everything on place), so if we were focusing on only one at a time it would be very slow and frustrating. This way we keep ourselves busy and have a steady output, its’ exciting.
C & P: Are there other publishers in Berlin doing something similar to what Bongoût is doing? How about elsewhere in Europe?
Bongoût/Christian: In Berlin I’m not sure. Over the years I saw a few publications that go in a similar direction, but rarely anything consistent. Since the 70´s here is a long tradition of underground art publishing in France, which is part of my background, l´APAAR, Elles sont de Sortie, Le Dernier CRi, United Dead Artists… just to name a few.
C & P: Do you ever collaborate with other independent publishers?
Bongoût/Christian: We carry other publishers’ books in our shop and web shop. We did a few straightforward collaboration too.
C & P: Do you sell Bongoût product anywhere in the USA?
Bongoût/Christian: Cinders Gallery and Booklyn Artist Alliance, both in Brooklyn, are carrying our silkscreen artist books, and in terms of distribution, DAP and LAST GASP are distributing some of our offset books in the USA.
C & P: How long have you been creating artwork? Have you always used the medium of silkscreen?
Bongoût/Christian: I started to publish graphic zines under the name Bongoût in April 1995, and I met Anna in 2001. We essentially silkscreen, but we also paint, draw, photograph, do installations and play in several bands.
Chapter Two: A Pool of Tears, Unique Silkscreened book, 40 x 60 cm, 2011 (above 3 spreads)
C & P: I saw the book Down the Rabbit Hole at the New York Art Book Fair last year and was absolutely blown away by it. It was definitely the most beautiful book I saw at the entire fair, unfortunately I could not afford to purchase it. There is only one copy made? And this year you produced a similar book, A Pool of Tears, which The US Library of Congress purchased. Could you tell me a bit about the process of making these books? Where does the imagery in the book come from? How long does it take to produce?
Bongoût/Christian: Yes, it is a unique book, there is only one copy. It’s a hard cover, with embossing (46 x 33 cm). The book is a mise-en-abyme of media and techniques and the title is obviously inspired by Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The beginning it’s very intuitive. The materials go through several iterations and transpositions until the final result is achieved. It just clicks, we know exactly when we have reached what we wanted. At the end it makes it hard to pinpoint one specific technique.
This book is part of a series, with each book being considered as a “chapter”. Each chapter is named after a chapter in Alice In Wonderland. We are currently working on Chapters 3 & 4. Chapter 1 is now in the Standford library collection and Chapter 2 in the US Library of Congress.
C & P: Do you ever take the imagery from a page in one of these books and reuse it to make a poster or present it in some other format?
Bongoût/Christian: Like I said, our work is a constant mise-en-abyme. A time-travel remix. We are reusing film, elements, found material, our own work (paintings, drawings, photos)… one work leads to the next one. The creative process reflect the dynamics of creation and inspiration.
C & P: What is your favorite thing to do in the neighborhood?
Bongoût/Christian: Sorry but I will not advertise them in a public discussion. (Ed.- Understandable, I might have the same reaction to the question in regards to Greenpoint/Williamsburg!) I hang out there with my friends and I want to keep these places genuine and tourist-free as long as possible. That’s why they are my favorite spots.
C & P: Do you feel that you will be able to stay in Mitte for a long time? Or is Mitte changing in a way that it will make it impossible for a gallery/artist run space to be able to operate there in the future?
Bongoût/Christian: Anna and I were discussing it recently. We’ll see what the future brings, but all together I don’t think that it’s changing that fast.
C & P: I just read that Tacheles was closed down this year and the artists who had studio spaces there were evicted. Is this true? How do you feel about the arts landmark being demolished and turned into high priced condos?
Bongoût/Christian: I never felt very close to the Tacheles community or spirit. Tacheles was a pale vestige of a Berlin that is long gone for me. Twenty years ago you had a lot of squats and artist spaces like this, and I loved that energy, but it is something that was particular to the 80’s and 90’s right before and after the fall of the Berlin wall. These creative community had as much to give as the established artists.
But even if the building was amazing, over the last few years, the Tacheless turned more and more into just another tourist attraction. It’s a natural evolution, gentrification is inevitable. No big deal. When it happen move on and do something new.
C & P: I went to Berlin in early 2000 and again in 2005 and in just five years I noticed that the city had changed a lot… and now I assume it has changed even more. Do you feel that Berlin is a different city now than it was in 2005? Is it becoming more difficult to live cheaply there?
Bongoût/Christian: It might still take a while until all of Berlin looks and feels like Prenzlauer Berg though. Of course, once you’re settled or running a business, you’re pretty happy that you can walk along the sidewalk without stepping in dog shit and having to dodge the drunks. But people were saying the same thing in 1990, and again in 2000. I see tons of galleries and artists moving to Berlin because they think it’s the El Dorado of art. They heard about cheap rents and are hoping to make it big time here, but most of them quickly sober up and realize it’s not as easy as they thought. Financially, the city is still a nightmare—there’s a reason why the beer and the rents are cheap. Most people don’t make a lot of money here. But this is part of Berlin’s flair. And you could see this as a sort of freedom from economic constraints or the pressure of “making it.” If you have accepted that, you might as well do what you like. This creates the basis for the particular kind of vitality and creativity so unique to Berlin. Perhaps the established art world is getting bitter and running in circles, but there are a lot of extremely talented artists working on what they love to do, there are exciting off-spaces, hundred of concerts every night. It’s still really exciting what’s going on here.
C & P: Would you ever move to a different city/place or is Berlin the place for you?
Bongoût/Christian: Even if I could imagine moving to NYC or San Fransisco, Berlin is definitely the place for us. There is an energy in Berlin that you won’t find anywhere else. It’s always been like this. It is a city that is truly alive. This is why we love Berlin. It’s a city of paradoxes, and these paradoxes are its strength.
C & P: How long have you lived in Ljubljana? What do you like most about living there? Least? Did you grow up in the city?
Zoran: I didn’t grow up in Ljubljana, I grew up in small town called Rakek which is a 30 minute drive from Ljubljana. I moved to Ljubljana six years ago. The best thing I like about it is that in the last couple of years the center of city is slowly banning cars from the city centre which is great if you like to walk or drive a bike through the city. I think people feel more comfortable because of it. I don’t know what to point out about the dark side of Ljubljana. It’s not a big city and sometimes you get the feeling that you know everyone. I personally miss a record store. There is no place to buy records in Ljubljana which really bums me out.
C & P: Does being in Ljubljana inspire your work?
Zoran: Funny question. I don’t think so.
C & P: Do you feel that there is a lot of interesting artwork being created in Ljubljana right now? What is your favorite artspace/gallery?
Zoran: For sure. One of the best things in Ljubljana is that there is lots of street art all around so I think the city definitely has it’s art vibe. Apart from street art there are lots of painters and sculptors and in last couple of years, there is definitely a big new wave of illustration. Almost every month there is at least one interesting exhibition in the city. I don’t have a favorite gallery but if I had to chose a part of town with lots of art to offer I would definitely point out Metelkova, which is a huge complex of music venues, galleries and studios. Walls of buildings are filled with murals and graffiti and there is a lot of different sculptures standing around. Every night there are music gigs in different venues. I guess you could easily compare it to Christiania in Copenhagen.
C & P: I have to ask you about the band Laibach and the Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) art collective, as I have a few US friends who are completely obsessed by the band and the NSK. Are both Laibach and the NSK well-known in Ljubljana? At one point, in the early 80’s, the band was banned from using the name Laibach because of it’s association with the Nazi/German occupation of Ljubljana during WWII but it seems that there is less controversy with the band and the use of the name Laibach now. Do people appreciate what Laibach have created over the years?
Zoran: Laibach and also NSK, are some kind of Slovenian phenomena. As you mentioned they were banned during the communist era in Yugoslavia but now they are worshiped as rock stars and everybody loves them. I think they even played at national ceremonies in front of politicians that used to ban them from TV and radio. It’s kinda hilarious but they are definitely well respected. I have friends who never were into any kind of alternative music like punk, metal, industrial, etc. and they love Laibach. NSK is not that huge, but in art scene they are very respected. Their art is exhibited in National Gallery of Modern Art so like Laibach they emerged out of alternative scene and became part of bigger art world.
C & P: I need to make the trek to Slovenia and Ljubljana one of these days. Where would you tell a visitor, interested in art, design, and illustration, with three days to explore, to go? What are the most interesting/creative neighborhoods to explore?
Zoran: I would definitely recommend Metelkova, I was mentioning it before. It’s the most interesting and alternative part of the city and everyone interested in any kind of weird music or art can find something for himself there. The other place to check out would be the Rog Centre, which is an old, abandoned bike factory which was later squatted by artists. It’s pretty similar to Metelkova, but they have more legal problems with people from the city which results in not that much stuff happening there lately. The third option is Kino Šiška which is a huge renewed building run by the city and their program consists of exhibitions, music gigs and workshops.
C & P: I met you when you were traveling in New York last summer, was that your first time in the city and in the US? What is your impression of the city? Is NYC someplace that you would ever want to live?
Zoran: Yeah, my first time in the city and first time in the States. I had a weird first impression of NYC. It reminded me of an abusive relationship. I loved it, but at same time there were some things that would probably stop me from ever wanting to live there. The huge mass of people is definitely one of the things that turned me off and when I heard how much people pay for rent I didn’t know what to say. But I definitely loved its art vibe, I was really happy to see Secret Robot Project, which I loved. The huge choice in art and music gigs, amazing food, and really friendly people are the things that impressed me the most. I guess if you want to make a living with your art, it’s one of the best spots on planet to live. After I returned home from the States, everyone I was talking to about NYC had the same problem. The first impression they had about the city was weird, but something kept them coming back and now everyone loves it. Six days were definitely not enough time to get the right feeling about it anyway so I want to get back in the near future.
C & P: Do you prefer one creative process (drawing, silkscreening, or painting) over another, do you incorporate all of these in your work?
Zoran: I try not to be bored when I’m working and one of the ways to keep it interesting is to try new things and techniques all the time. I usually start with paper and pencils and end up on computer putting everything together. I love to experiment with mixing all of the techniques together.
C & P: Do you draw by hand? Do you use a computer when creating your pictures? Or both?
Zoran: Usually I start drawing by hand and then I scan it and continue the work in Photoshop. I use a Wacom tablet, I think it’s a great tool but I try to keep everything hand drawn and later transformed on a computer.
C & P: Do you have any formal training as an illustrator?
Zoran: Actually no. I finished the University for Graphic Techniques which was more about printing processes than about drawing or painting.
C & P: Your illustrations are populated by somewhat dark figures and creatures, such as crows, owls, wolves, figures in creepy masks, a man dressed in Klu Klux Klan garb, Norweigan churches. Why are you drawn to dark imagery? Is there any hidden meaning in this imagery?
Zoran: I honestly don’t know. If I had to blame one thing it would probably be music, but I like very different kind of music and not all is dark and gloomy so I guess I just like my stuff dark. But I wouldn’t think about myself as some dark character. It has some meaning to me but I’m not sure everyone sees it, I hope everyone gets some personal impression and sees his own story within my art.
C & P: You collaborated on a zine called Satanic Diarrhea, how did this collaboration come about? Where were these zines distributed?
Zoran: Satanic Diarrhea was collaboration between four friends. We all grew up going to hardcore and punk shows and we still meet each other at those same places. Since we all do some kind of art we decided to make something together. The title is just a stupid joke, we couldn’t find any other name so we just went with the most stupid title we could come up with. We gave the zines to people for free since we didn’t have big expenses printing it. We just wanted to do something and put it out there.
C & P: The style of your images recall flat, 1950’s style illustrations but with a dark, evil twist. What illustrators/artists do you admire? Who is your biggest inspiration?
Zoran: I don’t know about inspiration, it’s everything around me I probably don’t even notice. If I had to choose one thing, that would probably be lyrics from the bands I like. I even made one zine that was based on my favourite lyrics. But usually I just walk my dog and get some idea in my head and when I come home I draw it down. When I work a on poster for some music gig I try to listen a lot to the bands that are playing and I always try to transcript the music into artwork, but still within my style.
I admire a shitload of artists but if I have to point out couple of names that would be Maxwell Loren Holyoke Hirsch, Carson Ellis, Jon Klassen, Evgenia Barinova, and Justin Bartlett.
C & P: Do you have a narrative in mind for each illustration? Are the characters in your pictures purely fictional/from your imagination?
Zoran: It depends. Usually there is a story behind, but sometimes the image just pops in my head and I draw it down without thinking twice. I make up all the characters in my head.
C & P: You have created many posters for bands outside of Slovenia (such as Wolf Parade, Dum Dum Girls, Dan Deacon). Do you do work for a certain club in Ljubljana or have the bands contacted you to do posters for them when they are playing in town?
Zoran: I am working for musical promoter from Ljubljana called Buba and it is one of the best client-artist relationships I ever had and it’s still going on.
C & P: What people / music / places / things inspire you?
Zoran: It’s mix of all things I consume in my life. From lyrics to other people’s art, music, movies, record covers, books, dogwalks to good coffee, seeing different places and people.
C & P: Do you currently spend your days creating artwork or do you have a “proper” job to support your art habit?
Zoran: Right now I am working as graphic designer at a marketing agency. I do all illustration stuff in my spare time. I would definitely love to support myself only with illustration and that is my goal for the near future, but let’s see what will happen.
C & P: How your work been commissioned by magazines/bands/other companies?
Zoran: I did couple of record covers and t-shirt designs as well as some illustrations for various magazines I design at work, but mainly my work was commissioned for gig posters. I would love to do more other stuff too, editorial illustration is one of the fields I would really love to work in.
C & P: Are you a magazine/zine junkie? What are some of your favorites?
Zoran: I really enjoy stuff published by Nobrow (who are also featured in Issue 9 of the magazine), Think Faest, Nieves and Svart Konst. But usually I buy zines directly from artists, when I stumble across their work online. Magazines are also one of my obsessions since the company I work at works mainly in magazine publishing field. I love to read well designed mags and sometimes I love just to flip through magazines because of the design, even if content doesn’t interest me at all. I regularly follow Creative Review and Computer Arts which are a kind of bibles if you work in the design industry. Recently I discovered New American Paintings Magazine. I also love how Bloomberg Businessweek looks like and I love to go through it every time I get the chance.
C & P: You have a portfolio website, a Twitter account, a Flickr stream, and a Tumblr blog. How long have you had all of these? Does your internet presence help you to find people to collaborate with? Do a lot of people outside of Ljubljana find your work through these sites?
Zoran: Publishing your stuff online is the best and easiest way to get people to see your work. I published my first portfolio website a year ago. Before that I published all my stuff on flickr. Tumblr is the latest addition, I mainly got into it because it’s the most popular blogging platform at the moment and people can find your work through it way easier than through other blog providers like Blogspot or WordPress. People I collaborated with so far are my friends, but lots of people got in touch through each of the web platforms.
C & P: What could you imagine doing, if you didn’t do what you do?
Zoran: Tough one. I can imagine doing everything, from be a professional dog walker to being a bad writer or just working at a coffee bar.
OOH LA LA!
CHEAP & PLASTIQUE 9!
Cheap & Plastique have been busily prepping for the Fountain Art Fair at Art Basel Miami over the past month. This past weekend Cheap & Plastique presented 4 artistes at Fountain (who were featured in Issue 8 of the magazine) and also had a brand spanking new issue on hand for Fountain-goers to peruse!
Everybody wants a copy of Cheap & Plastique in their Christmas sock! ORDER issue 9 today!
PAYPAL me (email@example.com) and you will receive one of these beautiful zineroos in your mailbox! Zine is $10, shipping $5. Printed on various fancy papers (silver and vellum—tres chic!), zine is 60 pages.
This issue features:
Paintings by John Jurayj, Andy Denzler, Elias Necol Melad, and Amanda Joy Calobrisi
Photographs by Ed Panar and Nicolas Wollnik
Video Art by Charles Roberts
Illustration by Zoran Pungercar
And studio features on Bongout from Berlin and NoBrow from London
screenshots from animation by by andrew jeffrey wright and clare rojas
Full video here.
andrew jeffrey wright interview by XLR8R TV.
andrew jeffrey wright interview by woodshopfilms
andrew jeffrey wright is an artist living and working in philadelphia, pa. he is the co-founder of space 1026, an artist run studio and gallery space which i photographed on a recent visit to philly (see photographs here). unfortunately i was not able to set up any studio visits with the space 1026 artists because of a scheduling mishap with one of the residents, but maybe next time i venture down south i will be lucky enough to peek into a few more space 1026 studios!
in the mid-nineties, before you could find any image that you might actually want on the internet, craphound was a most coveted publication, especially for my ex-boyfriend,
mr. deathless, maker of semi-offensive sticker art (yeah, the same guy who used to keep
me up, night after night, gesticulating wildly, whilst watching the video for laibach’s life is life, ON REPEAT!)
mr. deathless utilized many images from craphound’s pages for his sticker art, as did i for plastique postcards and other design-y stuff*… & i still have many folders of photocopied pages from the the craphound zines that we scored from the only cool bookshop in allston, ma— flyrabbit (r.i.p.).
i was sort of disappointed to come up with zero google results for a “deathless” search so thought i should photograph my can o’ deathless, a collection of the stickers made from 1995 – 1997. i forget how many cans we made but they were certainly in high demand in 1997! i wonder if people still have these cans? just looking back through the stickers i realize there are A LOT of super offensive ones (not pictured here), maybe it is good they are not google-able on the internettes!