This full-size magazine is an amphibious ode to frog and toad heroes past and present. Written by Dara Khan and drawn by Sanaa Khan, it leaps from satire to poetry to short-fiction, complete with illustrations.
The Khan siblings grew up on the antics of Mr. Toad of The Wind in the Willows, Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad, Jim Henson’s Kermit, Pete Seeger’s Foolish Frog, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Genghis Frog, and Mr. and Mrs. Bighead of Rocko’s Modern Life. Dara’s favorite short story is “Super-Frog Saves Tokyo” by Haruki Murakami.
BRAND X #1
32pp; 5.25” x 8”
Risograph Printed on newsprint by Tiny Splendor in Los Angeles.
Edition of 100
I’m psyched to finally release a beautifully printed zine filled with some of the handmade collages and ideas that I’ve been working on for the past year. A few things I am obsessed with are fear tactic marketing, consumption, corruption in high places and the smoke and mirror culture that we live in…and COOL GRAPHICS, so take a look and grab one while you can.
About the printing: The lovely folks at Tiny Splendor Press were indeed collaborators in the production of this art zine. Their risograph printing process, creative binding and our decision to use newsprint not only gives Brand X a unique one-of-a-kind quality and handmade look and feel, but plays to the materials used in each of the individual collages represented in the book.
FLORA & FLORA ZINE NOW AVAILABLE TO BUY AT TINYSPLENDOR.COM ($5 + shipping)
A colorful folio of floral forms! These illustrations by Kenneth Srivijittakar and Sanaa Khan are inspired by depictions of flora found in flash tattoo art, turn-of-the-century letterpress ornaments, canned goods labels, Indian miniature border motifs, William Morris wallpaper patterns, Japanese woodblocks, sari prints, and geometric patterns. Risograph printed in Los Angeles in 5 colors.
NEW SHIRT IN THE ONLINE STORE
By Sanaa Khan. Like puns, Astro Boy, and the Castro district? Then look no further because we have the perfect shirt for you or your favorite leather daddy.
20 + shipping
Tiny Splendor is glad to finish up the zine Brand X by Baltimore based artist, Jim Lucio! The first page of the zine states, “A Product of Shit”, a strong message that really sets the mood of what the viewer is going to devour. With moments of satire, there’s a strong political play printed on these thin newsprint pages. These series of collages make a curious consumer think twice of neat stacks of enclosed Americana goodies.
Read on for more info about Jim Lucio, his work, the zine and about his awesome site — homoarts.com
Tell us a little about yourself Jim.
I grew up in California and moved to San Francisco in the mid-80s. Eventually I moved to New York City and after a while I started working as a graphic designer and production artist for places like Estee Lauder and Nickelodeon where I was a background designer on Blue’s Clues. A year after 9/11 me and my artist husband, Jeremy Crawford, moved to Baltimore where we now live.
What are your daily routines?
Up until the early part of this year, my routine was a 9-5 grind. For four years I was the Visual Arts Coordinator for a huge 3-day outdoor arts festival here in Baltimore…I made a somewhat bland institution cool, then I quit. Now I’m exploring my options and making more art than I ever have before. I usually get up between 6:30-7:30am and am really just enjoying life right now. Walking my dogs, working in my studio and planning a nice dinner is more than I could ask for.
Do you have any art making routines?
Basically, when I start work, I just start sifting through the piles of materials around my work table and see what kind of ideas pop into my head. Usually my ideas revolve around subverting advertising and presenting a product or idea my way instead of the way we’re forced to look at it through the media. Sometimes I just cut color or pattern or lines out because I know I can use those in some way. I have lots of little boxes filled with different types of cuttings so when I have an idea I’m trying to pull together, I often sort through those boxes to help bring the idea together. I also often watch Prisoner: Cell Block H while I work. It’s an Australian women-in-prison soap opera that I fell in love with as a teenager. I was so happy to find every episode available on YouTube, so I have that playing as I work and listen to these women fight with each other and stir up trouble. It’s a blast! Hahaha.
About your art work — How did you come across your collage source?
I guess you’re asking where I get my materials…I have always been a big fan of ephemera, old paper, photography and printed materials. As a teenager I started collecting horror and exploitation movie posters and that was probably the start of my obsession with paper. Movie posters and movie advertising has always been a huge inspiration. I love the lurid quality of exploitation and the bold, screaming nature of the copy.
I will also stop in my tracks at the first sight of yellowing, aged paper wherever I see it. The bulk of the material I use in my collages are from the 30s-70s.
Why vintage ads?
Vintage paper has much more character and appeal to me than a page from a glossy magazine or even the average newspaper printed today. There’s texture, different print qualities, deterioration, mold, mildew…I love all that. But the actual use of vintage imagery has not been easy for me to deal with actually. I struggled with the fact that vintage ads have a very overtly retro identity to them which I sought to avoid. There was so much kitschy 40s and 50s throwback graphic design done in the 80s that I felt I couldn’t use it without feeling like it had been done many times over already. What started to work for me was that I got over this feeling that each piece of paper was special or precious in some way and dealt with that by turning my computer off and started making work by hand. I had to make a very conscious decision to go totally analog in my design and construction…no scanner, no Photoshop…just scissors, an Exacto knife and adhesives. Then it was all about trying to obliterate anything that felt was too,too retro and move forward from there.
What’s the significance of boxed and canned goods?
Magazines from the last century are filled with advertising that feature canned goods. Canned and frozen foods are presented as an economical and time-saving convenience. I look at most canned goods as an excuse to be lazy and something to feed your family if you don’t like them. So the idea behind my Canned Goods was to actually present them the way that I think they really are…gross and unappealing or just fun and totally useless. Just today I was in a thrift store and found a can of old play food, a plastic can of La Choy Chop Suey Vegetables. It just sounds so disgusting to me and quite funny too…I often wonder how shit like this exists and why people eat it. This is why I just started putting the word “Shit” on some of the cans because that is really how I see a lot of products that we see on grocery store shelves. I’m also kind of a foodie and love to cook so, to some degree, my message is that I really want people to eat better and be more thoughtful about what they put in their bodies. There is nothing more heartbreaking to me than seeing a grown adult parent with a grocery cart filled with garbage for their kids…Lunchables, colored fruit drinks, soda, frozen dinners, horrible cereals and processed shit. These kids eat it and think, “This is good. I will have kids and feed this shit to them too and we’ll all be fat and clueless about what good food really is.” The bad food addiction starts very early. There’s a family of sloths that live around the corner from me and I see this woman walking with her kids every day and I swear I have NEVER seen her without a Big Gulp under her arm—she really does not hold it, she keeps it under her arm like a newspaper and I have literally watched her kids get fatter over the past year. These kids are trendy though and keep their Big Gulps in little carriers. It’s so sad.
The other side to this is that I adore packaging and advertising. I love dissecting messages and trying to determine who a product is being sold to and what they’re really saying. There’s a Buick commercial that plays a lot right now on Hulu and it starts by showing a well off white couple looking through their window commenting on how “The Garcia’s got a new car.” And to me that’s trying to appeal to Mexicans, saying “Even YOU can afford one.” I pick apart advertising wherever I see it…TV, magazines, subways…it’s kind of a sport that I love and hate, but it does inspire my work.
How do you put together a “canned good” and how do you go about with word and phrase choice to “complete” a can or box?
It’s pretty organic and my ideas are always changing, but usually I’m just inspired by something and attach some words or ideas that do not belong with the main image at all because I honestly don’t think we’re ever really getting what we’re told we’re getting whether that be the way food is processed and presented or what we hear in the news as fact. We’re always being lied to. I would love labels like you see on cigarettes to start appearing on food like, “This will make you fat.” or “This canned meal will give you the shits and cancer.” We don’t even give our dogs canned food. We make every meal for them and I attribute their longevity, happiness and good health to their diets…and our love :)
How is sexuality, politics, consumerism brought out in your work?
I talked a bit about how I feel about consumerism. I hate that we are so lazy and that advertising takes advantage of that and makes us more lazy. The fear-mongering attached to medicines, cleansers, detergents, etc. is also infuriating. Advertising has made people feel like they can’t even think for themselves…like someone else has the answers, but we forget that they’re trying to sell us something and that they’re always twisting our arms and creating fear when it doesn’t need to exist. It seems that the powers that be want to keep us stupid so their twisted agendas are not noticed and that we continue to be pawns in a very sick game of chess.
Every advertiser knows that sex sells…I do too. It’s fun..throw some tits on it and call it a day..hahaha. I guess when I use sex in my work though, it’s not very sexy. I prefer to laugh at sex. Sexy models and sex in advertising is so boring. I’d rather put a sexy model on a burlap sack advertising horse manure than in an ad for a new fragrance. What I am doing is really just offering a different perspective, one that in many ways is more honest.
Brand X, explain Mr. Lucio? I’m curious of this title and what you have to say.
Brand X is just the label I chose to apply to some of my ideas and my way of getting some of these ideas out there. I think the name expresses my angle pretty well…my own brand that advertises and comments on things the way I want to comment on them. I did a series that was inspired by Black Friday, the supposed biggest shopping day of the year. When I thought about it, I just saw vampires and bloodsuckers and by using that imagery, I felt I was being more true to what Black Friday really is. That is Brand X.
Tell us more abouthomoarts.com
Homoarts.com is kind of an experiment. I discovered that the domain was available and felt compelled to do something with it. I started interviewing gay artists and showing their work on the website. I put a good amount of work into it for a few months, but lately have not had the time to really do it justice.
Over the years, I’ve worked with so many artists and presented stuff that was pretty much for a straight audience, keeping in mind that public art and festival presentations should be family friendly, so getting away from that was refreshing. I think that it’s super important to keep gay culture alive because it has been so co-opted, watered down and even ignored by gay people to some degree. There are gay characters on popular shows, gay marriage is not a shocking concept anymore and in the process gay people no longer need to hide, but we blend in and virtually disappear into a straight landscape—even gay bars are closing. New York is ridiculous these days…everything’s closed! Our sexuality doesn’t matter, but our vision and voices do and that’s kind of what I was doing with HomoArts. I think I need a partner to keep it going though. Help!
Anything else you would like to add?
I love to collaborate, just as I did with Tiny Splendor! I love that you guys worked your magic with the printing and I was happy to let you take control of the look and color choices as they appeared in the zine. If there’s anyone who would like to collaborate I would love to hear from them. I’d like to see some of my designs on ceramics, fabric, prints, t-shirts…Let’s do something cool! I’ve always felt that pooling talent brings out incredible work that could not exist otherwise.
A sample of some of the brand new zines we’ll have at SF Zine Fest! Come on by.
We’ll be in Golden Gate Park from 11-5 Saturday and Sunday 8/30-31. 1199 19th Ave & Lincoln Way, San Francisco. Free event!
Clockwise from top right, Los Dos by Maren Preston, Sunless by Danny Shimoda, Psychozics by Max Stadnik & Sanaa Khan, Frogknot by Dara & Sanaa Khan, Flora & Flora by Kenneth Srivijittakar and Sanaa Khan, and Best Buds by Jeffrey Cheung (a print pack)
Wheeee summer in Santa Cruz means it’s time for the Anorak Assembly! Prints, paintings, textiles, ceramics, jewelry, stories, typography, panaceas, jams, oddities, wonderment, and ZINES!
If you’re in SF go check this out tomorrow! Thanks to Needles & Pens for carrying our zines to 8Ball. http://www.8ballzinefair.com