Hot & Cold is a collaborative art zine project created by Californian artists Chris Duncan and Griffin McPartland. Each issue invites up to 20 artists – with more joining as word spreads – to participate in creating this hand crafted, limited edition zine. A new exhibition of their collected work has just opened in London…
Photocopied, stenciled, silk-screened, and stickered since its humble beginnings, Hot & Cold has worked with over 100 artists and has been shown at galleries all over the US. The zine has recently been acquired by New York’s MoMA for their permanent collection and is currently on display at the Zombie Surfers exhibition, at London’s very own Cell Gallery in Bethnal Green.
Zines are designed to stand out and often offer an alternative to slick, excessively contrived design. But what makes Hot & Cold remarkable is that it wasn’t a match made in heaven for the duo, who first created the zine in 2002. The fact that Duncan and McPartland are, as artists, aesthetic opposites is a driving concept behind Hot & Cold and is what provides the zine with its addictive charm.
The pair decided at the outset to emphatically agree to disagree about aesthetic direction – hence the title, Hot & Cold, which tells of how two different visions can creatively coexist. A new issue of Hot and Cold is released every three to four months, with copies selling out almost as soon as they are available.
There’s no theme to each issue of the zine: Duncan and McPartland simply seek pages from artists from within their community whose work they admire. The pages come preprinted and ready to assemble and the pair then package everything into lovingly hand-sewn arrangements with hand-printed covers, tucking in lots of extra tidbits such as buttons, CDs and DVDs. One issue even came with a handmade wallet.
Duncan and McPartland actively promote the works of the artists who contribute to each zine and with every new issue there’s an accompanying art show, displaying pieces from the zine and artwork made purely for the show, and a launch party are thrown – perfect to get those artists mingling.
Despite their increasing success with the project, it’s actually drawing close to the release of its penultimate issue, as the duo decided from the outset that they would produce only ten issues.
Duncan and McPartland’s next goal is to publish an anthology of all of the Hot & Cold issues and to curate a comprehensive group show of everyone who has ever contributed to the zine (if you’re in the US, this is definitely something to look out for).
A collection of Hot and Cold zines are on display in London at Cell Gallery’s Zombie Surfers exhibition which runs until June 2.
More at the Hot & Cold Massive website.