Up Late - Dan Witz

I remember seeing Dan Witz’s artwork first through a online flash magazine. I can’t remember the exact name, but it ended on -nation. I think it started with a B, but really can’t remember. Anyways. I saw his ‘hoodie’ project, and kept digging deeper into his work. This must have been around 2003/2004 or something?

Once i started working at RELOAD magazine, i got in touch with Dan Witz, to see if he didn’t want to make a cover for our magazine. This was in 2009.  Surprisingly he was very accessible and we connected right away. He made an amazing cover for his, and for the release of the issue, we had teamed up with Sid Lee to organize an exhibition with Dan’s street works. Dan flew over, and we met at the airport. Right off his flight i got him onto a bike and we biked straight through Amsterdam to his hotel. The whole bike ride made a good impression on him.

While in Amsterdam we prepped the exhibition together, and went around town to put some of his street pieces up. Accompanied with journalists and photographers at different times. Metro, Parool and AT5 covered Dan’s work and his exhibition. Dan loved it around the streets of Amsterdam and had an amazing time all around.

As a thank you for his time in Amsterdam, Dan had brought some publications with him. The one photographed here is called ‘Up Late’ and features a series of night paintings. Heavily playing with the lights in the depicted scenery’s. The above pictured painting, with the lamp in front of the curtain is my favorite. A beautiful picture.  This little book was published in 2006, for his exhibition at the DFN gallery.

We stayed in touch over the years and i went over to New York to meet him, and we later met up in Norway as well. Good times and good stories.


Author:
Dan Witz
Publisher: DFN gallery
Website: http://www.danwitz.com/

Methland, the death and life of an Americam small town - Nick Reding

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I remember buying this book about two years ago. I was watching the series Breaking Bad at the time. The whole story of Breaking Bad revolves around Crystal Meth. Coincidentally i had just bought a book about an amazing art installation i had once encountered at Deitch Projects in New York. The name of that installation was Hello Meth Lab In The Sun. But i will write something about that at a later time.


I wanted to know a little bit more about meth, it’s origins, history and effects on a broader scale. Through some research i found this book of Nick Reding. Reding is a journalistic writer, and that’s exactly the approach he takes in this non-fiction book. He meets heroes, helpless witnesses, innocent victims and perpetrators that are all touched by Crystal Meth and talks with theim about the effects it has on them, their community and America as a whole.

The book is divided into three parts, corresponding with the years he’s been working on this book. 2005, 2006 and 2007. He provides a long lasting report of what’s happening in this small town called Oelwein, Iowa. And draws parallels and comparisons from what’s happening there to what’s happening on a bigger level in America.

A very interesting read for any fans of Breaking Bad, wanting to know more about Meth and the world behind Meth


Author: Nick Reding
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Chris Ware - Mono.kultur #30

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I’ve only recently got into the great comic artist that is Chris Ware. I don’t know why it has taken me so long. But ‘Building Stories’ was the first one that i picked up. I’ve seen his work around before, but somehow never got around to registering it and picking it up. When i picked up my copy of ‘Building Stories’ in a store in Berlin, i also picked up a copy of the Mono.kultur magazine. From what i can tell each issue focuses on one person only. This issue was all about Chris Ware. Because the whole issue is about one person, your actually able to get a lot more in depth into the person. The interview is light without avoiding big questions.

imageAt one point Ware talks about telling stories to his daughter and how he sees this as an integral and essential part of parenting. Me becoming a father in not too long makes me look forward to that. Making up stories as i go along and having that interaction with my kid. It will probably take a few years before we get that far though.

imageMy favorite quote of the interview is as following: “I’ve said this before, but i think adulthood has definitely lost track of itself in the past few decades in America. When it’s acceptable adult behavior to get tattoos, wear sleeveless T-shirts and listen to death metal, then something seems very wrong to me.”

imageThe magazine is A5 format, and has a sort of booksleeve as a cover. With on the inside of this book sleeve sketches from Chris Ware (as soon above). But also has a fold out page that includes more examples of Chris Ware works taken from his books and comics. It’s a perfect publication to highlight Chris Ware’s books and his work. You can still order it from the online store, and only costs 6 euro’s.

Author: Urs Bellerman
Publisher: Mono.kultur
Website: http://mono-kultur.com/news

Akelarre - Irkus M. Zeberio

imageI met Irkus through the EIGHT magazine project i do. He made one of the artworks for issue number five. His work has got a strong quality of anarchy to it for me. And he’s got a very distinguishable style to him. He’s got some comics out with No Brow, a great publisher which you should check out if you haven’t yet.

imageI picked up a copy of this little zine on his website. It’s about 30 pages and A5 format. Beautiful red cover with one of my favorite works from the zine. The zine got an introduction to it, a Spanish written text. In a personal note Irkus told me to to worry about the text and enjoy the fight instead.

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The whole zine features fighting/wrestling women, and to me has got a crazy mix of American wrestling culture and the Kamasutra going on. According to Irkus it is “full of fighting women bodies agienst the fallus culture”. So i guess i was close.

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The zine is still for sale on the website of irkus for just 6 euro’s. So don’t let it slip and get your copy as well.

Author: Irkus M Zeberio
Publisher: self published
Website: www.irkus.net

Een jonge reporter aan de hol - een sex parodie op Kuifje

If I remember correctly i bought this comic book at a local flea market somewhere quite a while ago already. It was in pretty bad state already, but it so absurd, I bought it right away. It’s a sex parody comic on Tintin. Easily one of the best comics I have in my collection.

The whole story is completely insane, and completely full of porn and bad word jokes. It starts off on a regular Tintin set, and sort of follows the characters behind the scenes. It quickly turns into Milf porn, gay porn, SM, beastiality, cumshots and even some very inappropriate old pervert with a young girl. We learn that the detective duo Jansen & Janssen (Thompson & Thompson) is actually one part hot chick cross dressing as an old detective guy and that they are doing it together. Crazy.

Supposedly, or so the internet tells me, the comics dates back to somewhere in the 1980’s when the ‘Bastaard uitgeverij’ was publishing a few of these sex parody comics. The comics have only been published in Dutch language, and were sold under the counter. Other parodies were made of ‘Asterix and Obelix’ and ‘Suske en Wiske’.

Author: -
Publisher: Bastaard Uitgeverij

Shit - Senor B.

Back in the days, fotolog.net was were it was happening. Graffiti and street art people were hanging around here sharing photo’s. A maximum of one photo a day, and a maximum of 10 comments a day for the free version. When looking back on it, it was crazy that this site was so popular. Appearently it was huge in Brazil as well, judging by all the spam from Brazilian accounts and young girls being young girls on the internet.

On this website i followed an artist called Senor B. He was doing some street art stuff, and graffiti stuff at the same time. One day he released a zine, and was giving it away to people who commented first i believe. I was one of the people that got a zine sent. The theme of the zine was based around shit. And with a beautiful brown cover, Senor B nailed it right on the head.

The zine is from 2006,features 28 pages and holds mainly photography, along with two sketches. Black and white photo’s of derelict and abandoned buildings all decorated by Senor B with throwups and some pieces. Also many by his other moniker, Burns. Solid all the way around. I wonder what this guy is up to now, haven’t heard anything recently. I believe he was from Germany.



Author: Senor B
Publisher: Self-published

The New New Amsterdam - Mike Perry, Rich Jacobs, Lil’ Shy and others

In April 2009 the exhibition Amsterdam loves New York took place in Amsterdam, to celebrate the 400 year old connection between the two cities. Artists from New York and Amsterdam were put together in a amazing space, right in front of the Central Station of Amsterdam.

The exhibition was organized by Ultra de La Rue (which has recently opened a very nice boutique store in the Red Light District). But unfortunately a few of the graffiti artists that were arranged for the exhibition fell through at the last moment. Something about American graffiti artists not realizing on time that they need a passport in order to travel to Europe. Who knew?


I was working at RELOAD magazine at the time, and the organizer, Afaina, got in touch with me if i could knew any New York based artists who would like to come over to Amsterdam to work here for two weeks. The exhibition was only two weeks away at this time. I got in touch with Mike Perry, whom i had just worked with on a cover for the RELOAD magazine. He jumped at the chance, packed his bags and flew right over.  He got an exhibition space, was put up in a hotel, was greeted with open arms and had a very reasonable per diem. What more can you wish for?

Other artists in the exhibition were; Rich Jacobs, Taylor Mckimens, Ellis Gallagher, Chris Stain, and local based artists such as Morkcy, Raymond Lemstra, Lok Jansen, Lil’ Shy, Wayne Horse and Jeroen Koolhaas. Mike Perry especially was in a productive streak, banging out a lot of original drawings for the exhibition. Just before the exhibition started, he put his per diem together and banged out this little zine for the opening of the exhibition. I remember biking around in Amsterdam to find a copy shop who could copy it last minute.

The zine features almost all artists in the exhibition. Not everybody was present on the day the zine was created. It mostly features work from Rich Jacobs and Mike Perry, and can really be seen as a sketchbook. On one of the pages Rich Jacobs draws up some Dutch baseball logo’s, “or some indian art deco tags? (you choose)”. While on another page he’s left to explore the letter E. Mike Perry in the meanwhile explores more of his patterns, cupcakes and other typography experiments.


Good memories!

Author: Mike Perry, Rich Jacobs, Lil’ Shy, X-O, Morcky and others
Publisher: self-published

Car Crashes & other sad stories - Mell Kilpatrick

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I believe i bought this book on one of my first trips to Barcelona, quite a while ago. I remember doubting to buy the book or not, mainly because of the size and my baggage allowance for the flight back. Not for the prize because it was really cheap, which was perhaps because the cover sleeve is slightly damaged. Also some of the pages have a almost sand-paper like texture to the paper, which provides for an extra chill while browsing through the book looking at the pictures of these car crashes.

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The photo book immediately grabbed my attention because of the at times very graphic and violent car crashes and the almost blunt portrayal of these accidents. All photo’s are shot in between the late 40’s and 50’s, which means that all the cars are, as we call them now, American old timers. It provides for a stark contrast of the image of the American dream and the unexpected and horrible accidents, which is further enhanced by the black and white photography. An unusual combination now, but at those times unfortunately a common sight.

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Mell Kilpatrick, the photographer of all these images used to work in the Orange County (California) news scene, providing photo’s to news agency’s but also to the police departments and insurance agent’s. Remarkably he’s never enjoyed any formal photography training, but used to work in the movies, where he developed his eye for images. He didn’t pick up a photo camera until much later and started out photography as a hobby. Rumor was that Mill Kilpatrick simply showed up at the Santa Ana Register, unsolicited, showing his work. He soon became a member of its photographic staff even though no one remembers actually hiring him.

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Author: Mell Kilpatrick
Publisher: TASCHEN

CAP - Crew Against People

I found this book at Arken, a contemporary art museum near Copenhagen, Denmark. It came as a surprise to me, when browsing the obligatory and completely uninteresting graffiti and street art selection of the museum book shop. All of a sudden i found a copy of this book on sale.

The book features a large portion of the work from CAP (Crew Against People), a graffiti crew from Prague. Their work is anti-graffiti, by playfully making fun of each and every convention and unwritten rule of the graffiti scene. In fact they are not even using spray cans for their wall paintings. To me this is the purest form of graffiti. Rebellious and innovative.

Probably my favorite pieces are the painted tree logs, which they use to cross other graffiti writers. It’s a very powerful image to paint something as boring as a dead piece of wood over the ‘real’ graffiti. Another one of my favorites is featured below and shows a karate guy kicking the C, while making the P himself, or a ballarina completing the A with her ballet pose. Simple, but you didn’t think of it.

The book is about 250 pages with full colour photos and features a selection of the crew’s work. In the middle of the book an apendix is included. Not only does it feature a complete index of all images but also the artists manifesto, which touches some interesting subjects regarding the graffiti scene, but also the art scene and the creative scene of Prague in general.

It turns out that your in luck, because the book is still for sale, on their website. It’s only 20 euro’s including shipping within Europe. Don’t let this one pass.

Author: CAP
Publisher: Big Boss
Website: http://crewagainstpeople.org/

Cho’s trip to the post office - Niels Bonde

I picked up this zine (or perhaps it’s more of a self published book) at the Mollegade Boghandel, a little quality bookstore in Norrebro, Copenhagen. Eerie enough it was the day after the recent school shooting in Newtown, America by Adam Lanza. It provided a very current link with this zine by Niels Bonde, and published by the Danish 'Space Poetry'. It counts a total of 100 pages.

The zine describes, in an chronological order and extreme detail, all the events that led up to the school shooting at Virginia Tech campus, which took place at 16th of April in 2007. 32 people were killed and another 17 wounded. It is said to be the "deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history."  The zine starts off with a map showing all the movements of Cho on the day of the 16th of April, following every trace. It’s very factual and provides an insight into the entire event, the police response, but also everything leading up to it including his teenage years at elementary and high school.

Perhaps the most chilling facts are listed in the back of the book, where all the notable school shootings in the states are listed and span over a total of 7 pages (from 1966 to 2011). Meanwhile all notable school shootings in Canada span only half a page, and the same counts for South America, Asia and Australia combined. Europe spans a total of 1 page. Food for thought in the current discussion of gun control in the States.

In the end of the zine there is an interview with Niels Bonde, author about the zine, where he was asked why he started this project. In which Niels described that it was the carefully created media package that Cho send out to NBC NEWS. It contained a DVD with videos, photographs and a manifesto. The fact that Cho made a trip to the post office to post his media package two hours after his first kill and forty minutes before his high school shooting is scary and gruesome.

Author: Niels Bonde
Publisher: Space Poetry
Website: www.nielsbonde.com