Zine Culture: Mark Gonzales

Mark-Gonzales julien lachaussée(above) Photograph by Julien Lachaussée Words by Elizabeth Pollard

Skateboarding legend, Mark Gonzales, has been producing art for almost forty years; which in my mind categorises him as one of history’s greats. Ok granted, that would have made him 5 years old, but if you’re familiar with his work, he has developed a style that emulates his youthful and hyperactive personality. A writer, poet, illustrator, photographer, film-maker and painter; creativity obviously comes naturally to Mark, but I guess you have to expect it from such an anarchic skater. Spilling onto all surfaces you can imagine; from bowler hats to museum postcards, zines seem like a very organic place for his work to live. The lo-fi form of self publishing made communicating across underground culture more interactive, swapping ideas about trends, collaborating and creating communities.

Traditionally, zines were made popular as fan-faction in the 60’s, and later on the punk scene of the 70’s, although the idea of self publication was around a lot earlier than that. The DIY ethos of the zine, in both process and production, is core to its definition. With the ability and access for anyone to publish these days, means the line has started to blur as to what defines a zine. Regardless, in recent years zines have seen a phenomenal revival across the graphic, fashion and political industries.

[On making zines] “That’s what I like doing the most. It is the most free thing to do. I can write anything and just put it in a zine, and then it’s out there. It is like blogging but on paper. It is what I started to do before the computers were all popular. I probably started to make zines in the early 90’s. The first zine I made was in Europe, in Amsterdam or in the Hague. It was pretty fun because photocopiers were thought of as something that you used for being serious. For this show I have made 50 in total but I have given away a lot already. I give away my artwork a lot.”
(Gonzales for Interview Magazine, Emma Reeves, New York)

When remarked by Reeves that she would love to see all of his zines together, he replied: “That would probably be impossible. There are so many of them.”. Positioning experience above material possessions is exactly why, at 43, The Gonz is still a hero of the skate world; his energy, his work and his lifestyle is completely authentic. He is the carefree attitude that the SoCal scene represents.

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Mark Gonzales InterviewInterview Magazine

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Mark Gonzales zine

Mark Gonzales zine

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