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Not to mention that the limited press runs allow Greybull to keep the emphasis on their primary concern — artistic integrity. “Like with Teenage,” says Wild. “Right now, a big publisher would never even think of publishing that book with a black and white cover, just never, but that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
Aside from the release of Teenage, the Greybull Three keep busy both together and apart. Wild is finishing work on a book for the L.A. Philharmonic about the Frank Gehry–designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, while Alonso and Eisner — who collaborate on six features a year for The New York Times Sunday Magazine — have been working with trend forecaster DeeDee Gordon to put together the premiere issue of Look-Look, a not-for-profit magazine comprised of photos, drawings, paintings, poetry and prose submitted by young people from around the globe. “It’s the kind of project we feel aesthetically in sync with,” says Alonso. “The material being used is from nonprofessional young people, and we’re getting a chance to help elevate them and get it out into the world. And what’s even better on this is that the money that’s being made will go back [in the form of grants] to the young people.”
Greybull will also participate in “Re-Presenting the Black Panthers” at the UCLA Hammer Museum, a film series and symposium sponsored by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. A lecture on Saturday, November 8 by Kathleen Cleaver, Eldridge’s widow, will include a slide show of images from Greybull’s 2002 release Black Panthers 1968.
That Black Panthers came out a year ago and Alonso has doggedly continued to work the project speaks volumes about Greybull’s raison d’être. “For us, it’s a desire to keep the subject alive for as long as possible,” he says. “It’s not really about book sales. Our book will more than likely be out of print by the time of the event.”
Wild puts an even finer point on it. “There’s a lot of photography that you just kind of look at it and that’s it. When you spend as much time as we spend on a book, it can’t be about a topic that we think is trivial. We have to be engaged socially and culturally. I mean, if you look at the subjects we’ve worked on, they’re all pretty loaded in regards to where we’re at culturally. What we look for is something that we think actually resonates. It’s just too much trouble otherwise.”
Good Art Comes In Small Packages
Want to launch your art collection, but only have about twenty bucks of disposable income? In that case, a little underground art mag in East Hollywood has answers for you.
Every three months or so from a covert storefront, Scott Andrew Snyder and his wife Tracy Forman crank out a “site-specific” art publication called Arkitip (“Archetype” was already trademarked, so they opted for the phonetic version). The mission, Snyder says, was not only to give artists a medium in which to be totally creative, but also to provide consumers with a product “more affordable than a single original piece of art but still collectable and original in and of itself.”
Started in 1999 with not much more than a Docutek copying machine and a hand stapler, every issue of Arkitip offers 12 pages to each artist it features, and also spotlights a single showcased artist who creates front and back cover art and an “art supplement” done in collaboration with Snyder. Past supplements — they come polybagged with each issue — more than worth the magazine’s $20 price tag have included a Phil Frost mini-beachball, a Mark Gonzales mobile and Kevin Lyons’ Tupac Shakur drink coasters.
Arkitip printed only 50 of the first issue, but collector and advertising enthusiasm has enabled Arkitip to stabilize at a steady run of 1,000 where, for now, they plan to stay put; big enough for a market presence but still small enough to retain both financial and creative control. “My hand is tired enough numbering 1,000 copies each issue; I can’t imagine 10,000,” laughs Snyder.
Snyder’s last straight gig was as art director for Joyride snowboards, known for its artsy graphics and ads, and Forman worked at ’90s indie-mag publisher Raygun Publishing, Fader magazine, and briefly ran her own consulting and custom publishing company. Combining their connections, they primarily draw from an underground talent pool that’s currently popping up in big-league galleries and museums all over the world. Arkitip alumni include Harmony Korine, Barry McGee, Rostarr, Kaws, Evan Hecox, Mike Mills, Space Invader and Ed Templeton, to name just a few.
The Arkitip format provides ample whitespace for these artists to go wild with work created exclusively for the magazine. Flipping through any issue is like checking out a micro-museum retrospective or even a freshly-bombed warehouse as opposed to more conventional publications where maybe the artist is given a single spread to exhibit his or her skills.
Eighteen issues since they bound those first 50 by hand, Arkitip is complementing its word-of-mouth base with an emerging online presence, including “Arkdistribution,” which will enable choice artists to sell their wares through the company’s Web site. As the magazine continues to fly off the racks at local aesthetic hot spots like Hennesey & Ingels, Rudy’s Barbershop and the MOCA store, Snyder and Forman plan to sink profits back into the product. Says Snyder: “I don’t think it will ever be Hermès bags [as the art supplement], but you never know!” Either way, the determined duo is basking in a kind of round-the-clock, sweat-equity heaven: “I am a huge fan of magazines,” Snyder says. “And if I didn’t make Arkitip, I’d be its biggest fan.”
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