Hot and Cold, the collaborative art zine made by Chris Duncan and Griffin McPartland is releasing it's final issue on September 11th, 2009. Over the last seven years, the zine has snowballed in popularity gaining international recognition through it's intricately hand-assembled pages and large scale gallery exhibitions - most notably at The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and San Francisco's Luggage Store. Hot & Cold has hosted a good chunk of the up and coming artists creating work today, and most recently, solidifying it's place in history, was acquired as part of the New York Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection. I sat down with it's creators and spoke with them about the unique and interesting phenomena that is Hot and Cold.
At what point did H&C start, and what was the initial impetus for starting it?
Griffin: Believe it or not, Chris was needling me to do a zine, about all I had in the plus column was that I used to make a few. I tried like hell to say no and did a few times but was caught off guard one night after we had a huge dinner at my house and said yes to his non-dish-doing-ass.
Chris: September 11th 2002 was when it started, I was just about done with art school. At school you have assignments to keep you busy. I had absolutely nothing lined up after I graduated and thought it would be great to make a zine, both to keep myself busy and to participate with what was happening around me. I had never done one but had always wished I had. Growing up in the hardcore scene I felt like everyone I knew was in a band, had a label, did a distro, booked shows, or made a zine. And there was me, not really doing anything but going to shows. I had a strong urge to contribute. So we hung out a Juice Design a couple of nights after hours, scanning and what not, and then we had a zine. Paul Urich and Brett Critchlow were instrumental in our first effort.
Where did the name come from?
Griffin: Opposing styles. I was drawing dicks and Chris was drawing birds at this point. Again, I have to give the credit to Chris. The secret is out as to who the creative force here is...
Chris: Griffin's answer is perfect. Calling it HOT AND COLD was the deal sealer. Griffin was very hesitant to the idea of us making anything. I was, and at times still am, very serious about art. I felt a need to construct a platform for me to not take myself so seriously, and Griffin provided that (and generally still does). He'd make jokes and talk shit about everything, so it made sense like two opposites coming together. That was seriously the only reason it all came together. That dinner, by the way, was thanksgiving, and I did do the dishes that night.
At what point does it end?
Griffin: At the tip of it now. September 11th, 2009. Exactly seven years since it started.
Why only do 10 issues?
Griffin: Because 01 looked bad (this is little known) on the first cover design. We sat back rubbed our chin and flipped the film around to show 10 and Chris said, "fuck it, let's count down from ten!" And that set forth this count down which actually made it easier to produce each issue even more convoluted than the last since we had an end goal. Also that is how some of, in my opinion, our best decisions are/were made, under the gun of money and time.
Chris: I always forget that was the real impetus. During our whole trip everything that we've done has come from something not working out. That 01 vs. 10 was the beginning. I feel like every choice we have made stems from an idea or goal we had that didn't really pan out. It feels good to be able to roll with what ever you are handed and try to make something rad out it. We have learned how to make some great lemonade.
Did you envision doing it for a set amount of time? Did it end sooner or later than anticipated?
Griffin: I remember we wanted to do it more frequently, then the project turned into what it is and we were seeing that each issue took hours of touching and re-touching so we slowed it to more of an annual zine which suited our lives more. As a result, I think that it also built a quite momentum that way, not shoving it down throats or petering off into obscurity at the hands of two flakes. This also touches on the idea of having an end in sight from the start. I was part of a zine before doing F-Word, that just lost steam and sat 80% finished on zip discs. Having an end established from the get go imposes some foreshadow of guilt if you should bail out ahead of schedule.
Chris: It has been an organic process. The more elaborate the issues got, the slower it has taken for them to be released. We never had a time line. We naively chose the countdown method without ever considering anything other than what the next one might hold. That's what has made it fun. Letting it build on it's own and when the time felt right. That being said, I LOVE the fact that it's taken seven years to complete the project. What a great number. Hot and Cold is ending right when it's supposed to. "It took you seven years to get this far, I thought you committed for life."
Which artists participated in the Hold & Cold over the years?
(*Complete gargantuan listing of issues and artist involved located at the end of interview)
Which galleries and or venues hosted the release parties and Hot & Cold exhibitions? Needles & Pens, The Show Cave, Buzz Gallery, Juice Design, Otsu, Lump Gallery, Eleanor Harwood Gallery, The Luggage Store, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Baer Ridgway Exhibitions.
For the final issue, number one, the largest H&C to date, what can people expect?
Griffin: They can expect to wrestle this thing out of the bag, it sure wasn't easy getting it in. I counted somewhere around 15 inserts and 170 pages and about 3" thick.
Chris: Okay, there are two seven-inch records by Soft Circle, the Urxed, Tommy Guererro, Namesake, Amy Franchencini, Wilson Diaz (and no mp-3 or digital downloads, so pull out your record players). Posters by Reed Anderson and Will Yakulic, smaller zines by Griffin McPartland, Ryan Wallace, a dvd by the TM Sisters, a map that leads to radness by David Wilson, handmade pages by Monica Canilao and Dan Tierney, a bandana by Mat O'brien, stickers, buttons ...a lot of things. This one is our best effort yet.
I've heard rumors about the possibility of an issue #0 also being released in the near future. Can you please dispel this rumor for the public?
Griffin: Indeed the case, but you must redeem the ticket you get when you buy issue #1 and you will get #0 for free. That is for the completists should they be paying attention...
Chris: Yes, so basically if you buy issue one, you get issue zero. There are two ways you can do this: The first and best one would be to buy issue one sometime between September 11th and the 19th, find the voucher and your David Wilson map. Follow David's directions to the ribbons/Hot and Cold organized gathering on September 20th Bring your voucher and we will give you issue zero. You might also want to bring some food or drink as the gathering is somewhat of a potluck. There will be music and radness. David has been building a fort all summer in preparation for this. epic times. ribbonsribbons.blogspot.com The other way would be to mail it in to the address on the voucher - less fun, but totally acceptable.
What's the furthest, or in your opinion, the most exciting place on Earth that Hot & Cold has reached? Any random feedback from anyone in Uruguay or, a museum director for Reykjavik?
Griffin: Stockton. Vic Blue lived there for a bit and he has at least 7 issues. There is also the UK, but what have they got over Stockton other than culture?
Chris: I would say the NY MOMA, and Indonesia.
You guys have successfully, unknowingly or not, captured and documented much of the contemporary art happening in the last 10 years, would you say that it was an exceptionally unique time in history for creativity?
Griffin: Seeing that I am a garbage man I'm going to let Chris handle this one.
Chris: I think all times are unique. There might be moments of things being overly derivative, or influences being far too apparent, but I feel very comfortable saying the past seven years that we have been doing this has been a special time. So much has occurred, so much history has been made in this short time, our time, and we have had a very small part in documenting some beautiful, raw, romantic and fucked up responses to living in this day and age. As far as where we, or anyone who has contributed to Hot and Cold goes and their/our place in history - who knows. My thoughts are with the future. This answer feels like a cross between a Youth of Today song and some Goonies quotes.
Anyone that this project would not have been possible without?
Griffin: Chris Pew, Chris Duncan and 1984 printing. Support of local venues, friends and interested parties.
Chris: The only thing I would change in Griffin's answer would be my name for his. And also raise a glass to Greg Lind, he was able to get our project into the NYMOMA. And last but not least, the funding we received for this issue from a Southern Exposure Artist's grant called Alternative Exposure.
Besides wiping the sweat from your brow, what will you be doing the day after the final H&C is released?
Griffin: Nursing a hangover and missing my wife and child.
Chris: Getting ready for the next event which is September 12th at Baer Ridgway as well. Coconut is playing around 5 o'clock. ...Then David and Mariah's engagement party, congrats you two!