When I originally approached Droid 907 about his latest zine, Sex or Suicide (Either Way You’re Fucked), it was described as simultaneously the most honest book about graffiti and a collection of lies. This inability to distinguish which stories are strange enough to be true or perhaps so outlandish that they must be fabricated heightens the experience. From tomes written on a buffed square of an abandoned facade to gritty, type-written pages, Droid explores the limits of his medium, in both graffiti and storytelling. Through these pages, the often enigmatic but ever present force of New York graffiti slowly peels back the layers behind his “Droid” persona, or perhaps adds more if the stories are in fact fabricated. With 40 pages of travels, redacted locations, and a cover silkscreened by Bushwick Print Lab, S.o.S. is Droid’s most visceral text to date.
Following a few month span in the artist’s nomadic lifestyle, readers are placed in media res, with no prior knowledge of the author’s relationships with those he encounters. You are suddenly left on the side of the tracks with no contextualization, in an anarchistic manner that mirror’s the text’s aesthetics. To help illuminate the backstories of a few of these individuals, as well as his own artistic practice in creating Sex or Suicide, Vandalog conducted a brief interview with Droid.
Over the last two years, Gaia has traveled the world, from Europe to Asia, South America to Africa, and all across the United States, not to mention he also brought in artists from across the globe to Baltimore for his mural festival Open Walls Baltimore. Gaia’s effort to connect his street art with the historical context of its location has resulted in homages to architects, images representative of carefully researched histories, and murals that have meaning to the people who will interact with them everyday.
Recently, Gaia published a zine entitled “Second Cities” that speaks to the street art experience; both of the artist and of the audience. He addresses the dialogue that is created by street art in its physical context. With that context, readers follow Gaia with a personal anecdote on how he disguised himself as a construction worker and attempted to put up a large wheatpaste on a failed housing project in Chicago as cops watched.
Gaia illustrates the importance of cities’ infrastructure and the frequently interesting yet ill-regarded histories of the places he tries to beautify.
The best part of all is that the zine is available and free for download here.
As an avid fan of ‘zines and independent publications, I particularly love the ones I come upon on my visits to Colombia, SA. Produced and edited by Marcelo Arroyave, Sursystem is among my favorites. Marcelo. on his recent visit to NYC, explained that Sursystem’s mission is to create and reflect the artistic fusion among distinct cultures, one of the positive effects, he maintains, of globalization. Featured this fall in independent zine festivals in Paris and in Buenos Aires, Sursystem includes many images — and stickers — crafted by artists who also maintain the streets as their canvas. Marcello reports that Sursystem is seeking talent for its upcoming issue. Info follows:
WOW is a graffiti crew founded in Utrecht in 1989 who started spray-painting Dutch trains with their work. Their colorful, large and detailed pieces, the likes of which had never been seen before in The Netherlands, made an incredible visual impact. Having only ever previously been published in black and white the latest issue of WOW is now printed in full color.
War Of Words collects 20 years of urban graffiti from this ground-breaking group in a full-color limited-edition book to celebrate their 21st anniversary. Just 1500 copies of War of Words have been printed. 325 copies will be available for sale at The American Book Center and a handful of other exclusive points around the world. After reserving a few copies for themselves, the group burned every single remaining copy of War of Words from their print run. You can see them go up in flames in the video above.
UK based underground culture and graffiti zine Not Guilty has just released it 3rd issue for August 2010 along with this fresh new video, seen above.
This months issue focuses on the culture surrounding trains, subways, urban exploring, rioting and more across 56 full colour pages. You might also be interested to know that this issue includes specials with ROFD rcls and SIAR plus stories of London subway missions, sketches, action shots and much more.
Nothing to Declare is a new zine coinciding with David Choe’srecent show of the same name. It features a story byJason Jaworski, based on various paintings by Choe. The zine is now available now through Lazarides’ Beverly Hills Gallery and is limited to a run of 187. Check out some of the pages below!