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Alice Bush, Lucky Witch, 2019

(Title page image is: Tori Batt, Monthly Stocktake, volume Three, December 2018)

 

It may have taken 40 years but zines (fanzines) are a proliferate mix of numerous visual agendas, as open-ended as they are instructive and comprehensive as they are brief in their narratives and imagery. 
A contemporary art form that emerged in Aotearoa in the 1970s with the publication of offset printed alternative papers such as The Ponsonby Rag, and Strips - a comic magazine that featured the work of local artists like Barry Linton and Colin Wilson.  Their current incarnations are certainly more fulsome – fan-books, short stories and graphic novels, making it difficult to narrow their history to a linear narrative, but it is worth noting that Strips was self-published  and its contributing artists had no public expectations to live up to. 

In 2020, the proliferation of zines makes it impossible to make a head-count of the number of self-publishing artists.  Yet, Nick White, one of the owners of Ride On Super Sound, retails not only records and books, but also zines and small-press publications by New Zealand and international artists, and he brings an encyclopaedic knowledge to the task.

"I love these things. They really originated as a way of getting your point across without interacting with the mainstream print media. They're real messages in a bottle - for very little money you can sort a cardboard cover, photocopy the insides, and make a really beautiful, personal object."

 Auckland-based Ross Murray is high on his list of favourites.  ‘Murray’s Rufus Marigold was my New Zealand comic book of last year.  It's this heartfelt story about a chimp with an office job and a social anxiety disorder. Murray's timing is impeccable - he uses the space between panels to communicate Rufus's distress so well, and that's one of my favourite things about comics. They can illustrate something like that in a way that no other medium can.’

So what are some of White’s favourite zines?   ‘I love Ross Murray’s illustrated A History of the Rugby World Cup.  It doesn't really have anything to do with rugby - it's more of a bunch of personal reminiscences relating to the World Cup. It's an absolute no-brainer for a shop like ours .’

'Cave Man Noise is published by the guy who runs Hairy Palm Tapes, a DIY, cassette-only label from Auckland. It's a classic photocopied and pasted punk rag - interviews with strange, angry bands, and full of harsh black and white illustrations and stream-of-consciousness rants.'

Nineteen Sweet Zines is by Spencer Hall, who's a prolific artist and musician - it's a catalogue of zines that he'd like to make if he had the time. It's full of cute little synopses of each potential publication.’

‘Louis Graham’s Strawberry Stories is also a favourite.  It was actually written by a procedurally generated piece of computer code.  All of the dialogue came from a random grammatical sentence generator - it's an oddly surrealistic, flowery, poetic little zine.’

Lucky Witch by Alice Bush was chosen at the Auckland Zine Fest 2019 as the “Best of the Fest.”  It's a beautifully designed, very witchy, feminist newsprint thing, printed on the Risograph at M/K Press.’

‘Tori Batt’s Monthly Stocktake.  Tori lives in Akaroa, and she's a tremendous illustrator. She creates these wonderful pictures in a variety of mediums, and then needs somewhere to put them all -  this is sort of an 'art dump.' She's astonishingly good.’

Bryce Galloway's Incredibly Hot Sex With Hideous People is probably the longest-running New Zealand zine. I've never met him, but I feel like I know him, because he's made more than seventy issues of this illustrated, deeply personal diary about music and parenthood and pretty much everything except hot sex or hideous people. It's a great title, though. 

‘Some of my favourites happen to come from Dunedin people, but I think that's because of the proximity to all that learning - they worship books down there. Plus it's cold, and you can sit in front of your one-bar heater and work away with a glue-stick and a stapler without anybody bothering you.’

DETAILS

Ride On Super Sound is currently closed until further notice.  It is located upstairs at Smash Palace  172 High Street

 

Ride On Super Sound and Zines in Ōtautahi- An Interview with Nick White

 
 
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