what mark gonzales does when he’s not skating
As most New Yorkers know by now, the MoMA PS1 ninth annual NY Art Book Fair opens today and runs all weekend at the Long Island City outpost. Presented by Printed Matter, it’s the world’s best one-stop-shop for artists’ books, zines, catalogues...
To celebrate the Fair's opening, i-D spoke with Mark Gonzales, named "The Most Influential Skateboarder of All Time" by Transworld Skateboarding. A master of several media, the Gonz is also an incredible artist and poet. Over the years, he's produced a prolific number of zines, both solo and collaborative efforts full of scribbled, coloured, and collaged images and verse, that were given away or mailed to friends and strangers alike. Printed Matter compiled over 145 of these zines in an unparalleled compilation titled Non Stop Poetry: The Zines of Mark Gonzales. We caught up with Mark before his signing to hear how it all went down.
How did this compilation happen?
I've been making these zines for a pretty long time. It's been a lot of fun and I've really enjoyed the creative process. I don't really remember when exactly, maybe like eight years ago, someone told me there was this one guy who kept wanting to buy the zines I had been making and giving to people. Then I started hearing from lots of different people that there was one person trying to collate them all together and release them all in one collection. Phil Aarons and Emma Reeves, the people that put it all together, have done such a nice job. When you turn the pages, the way the paper feels on your hands isn't excessive. It's not done cheaply, the ink isn't poor quality. Thrasher Magazine, the skateboard magazine I grew up reading, used to always upset me because it would always leave your hands dirty! But I love books, I've always loved the library.
What's your creative process like?
I wanted to be without any limits when I was working on these zines. I wanted it to be with no deadline or constraint. I would make zines and take them home and sometimes say, "these two pages have to come out," so I would unstaple them and re-do them and add the pages and re-do them all over again, whatever. Every one was an on-going project. It must have been hard for Emma and Phil to do their job! But I'm so appreciative, so happy that Non Stop Poetry came out. At first, I was sort of nervous, but it's very lyrical the way they curated different poems from different zines, they've changed and grown. They've picked out a lot of work that's just mine, but there's also a lot of stuff in my zines that's not. I borrow photos of Jack Kerouac or whatever, you know?
Do you remember the first zine you ever made?
Yeah, I do. I made it in Amsterdam. It had a fold out poster and a colour cover. My ex-girlfriend had a picture of her two aunts vacationing in Europe and I just thought it looked so cool, so happy, and I just thought it would make a great cover so I used that for the first one.
Can you tell us about your collaborative work? Who are some of your favourite people to work with?
I think the zine my friend David Lafon and I made together was really cool. I love his photos. He's an architect and a teacher, that's what he does now, but he used to take photos and they're very different. His photos and my poetry together compliment one another really well.
What about your projects with Harmony Korine? How did you guys meet?
We met a long time ago when he wrote the screenplay for Kids. Around the time he finished his script, we met each other and he was nice. I'm always ready to talk to whoever if they're nice. If they come at me in a positive way, I'll talk to them. But sometimes people are assholes and I'm like, "stay the fuck away from me!" you know? Harmony was just right on the verge of being a jerk and being nice, so I didn't know what to think of him when I met him. But he gave me his screenplay and I read it, and there was some crazy stuff in there, stuff that didn't even make it into the movie. I don't know how we started doing zines together, it just sort of evolved from our friendship. I think he's a terrific writer and I enjoy working with him whenever I can.
What's your favourite zine you've ever made?
I haven't made it yet.
Text Emily Manning
Photography Brayden Olson