September 23rd 2015 marked the release of my own version of an artist-led visual arts zine, ‘Swarm’ #1. Here are some of the responses so far...
“...a fascinating compendium of cool!”
“The book has been beautifully produced and I am delighted to have been part of your enterprise.”
“It's really good, love the way you've assembled it!”
“It's always good to see the variety of work produced by a disparate group of artists (or, similar but not the same as you say), so that in itself is fascinating.”
“I've been showing it off to a select few people and they've all thought the whole thing was amazing!”
swarm (n)– a temporary collection of bees, containing at least one queen that split apart from the mother colony to establish a new one; a natural method of propagation for honey bee colonies.
Through a competitive, megalomaniac driven act of plagiarism, 'Swarm' visual art zine was born. A shameless hybrid off-shoot of its 'sister' zine 'Hive'! 'Swarm' is a compact version of 'Hive' in which a group of artists are united together in producing a visual art zine of their work to a set theme proposed by the editor (in this example, me). Each invited artist produces X number of copies of their page (X = total number of artists taking part) and sends them to the editor who compiles the zines and sends each artist a completed copy back in the post.
Maybe I got greedy, maybe too ambitious, but being part of 'Hive'* had feverishly inspired me and that what the art world was missing was, well more art! The aim was therefore to make my own zine with friends whom I'd met/known over the years who could 'Swarm' together and celebrate each others work! On a perhaps more sentimental level it was also an opportunity to showcase the talents of my peers to whom I owe a great debt of admiration and thanks for continuing to inspire me.
The theme for ‘Swarm’ 1# is ‘similar but not the same’ and features the creative juices of the following: (as pictured left to right, top to bottom) Chris Chapman, Phil Kingslan John, Mike Calver, Helen & Ama Gatland, Sue Hazelwood, Paula Forster, James Marsden, Elizabeth Earley, Erin Awon, Mike Cawthorne, Faye Dennis, Scarlet von Teazel, Natalie Parsley, Claudia Haffner and Graham Seaton.
Each participating artist also received a 'Swarm' badge (pictured above) and there are only 15 copies of the zine itself as it isn't designed to be reproduced or sold. The physical copy exists as a way of owning and participating in something that is unique and quite intimately special. To those involved its purpose to provide a fun outlet to make work, share it and discover new artists! However for the first time I have also uploaded an online version so as to share the zine to a wider audience. The quality of image and printed feel of the physical 'real' book of course cannot be reproduced digitally but I hope it will perhaps inspire others for what I hope will be a future edition of Swarm!
You can view the Online version of Swarm 1# by clicking here: http://spannerintheworkz.blogspot.co.uk/p/swarm.html
* Previous Post about 'Hive' on: http://spannerintheworkz.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/here-are-my-bees.html)