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Ink Spots

Beer Dicks, Pearly Butts and Eazy-E – A Chat with 'Loose' Zine

We spoke to the three-man team behind our new favourite zine.
Jamie Clifton
London, GB
Photo: Liam Bailey

A lot of artists like a loose brief; it gives them licence to do essentially whatever they want. Which is perhaps how the first-time zine makers behind Loose – freelance creative team Joe Goicoechea and Charlie Warcup, and designer Sam Hamer – managed to convince a host of names as illustrious as Richard Kern and Ricky Powell to contribute work to issue one of their new project.

It also helps that they clearly have fantastic taste in illustration and photography, putting together a zine full of art from people working in wildly disparate styles, but managing to line it all up in such a way that it makes perfect sense.


I had a chat with them about all that, which you can read below.

Photo: Ricky Powell

VICE: The concept of the zine is "48 interpretations of the word Loose". Why loose?
Loose Zine: Loose is our name and it's the attitude we like to embody with any of the stuff we do. We don't like our stuff to be too rigid, too formulaic. We think the looser we keep things – the less rules we give the stuff we put out – the better it will be. The zine is a great example of where a whole bunch of stuff you wouldn't necessarily put together can come together and look sick.

Did you have any expectations of what you'd receive, or were there any specific themes you were hoping for when you set that brief?
There were no real expectations for the things we'd receive. There are certain styles and aesthetics that fit with what we're doing, but the actual content within the images was way beyond what we could have comprehended.

Are you going to keep that same theme for the next issue?
We haven't looked too far into the future, but we imagine we'd like to continuously produce these "Loose group zines", with the theme being "loose", but we're also going to look into publishing more diverse stuff. Potentially photo or art zines of just one person's work. It's all up in the air at the moment, which makes things exciting for the future.

There are some great artists in there, and a real range. How did you choose who to approach?
It was a mixed bag, as some were approached and some came through submissions. We received over 100 submissions, which was super sick, and then the people we approached were just people we dig. Our approach has always been to make and do stuff that we would want or want to go to. If we don't like it, then there's no point in doing it. It's as simple as that.


Was everyone you approached keen, or are were there any ones who got away?
Yeah, we had plenty of people get away. We literally shot for the stars with some of the people we asked, so we knew some of them were just completely out of our league. We've found approaching people through their Instagram pages has been the most effective. When people do reply, they're generally very keen to get involved, which lets us know we're doing something right, if these people we admire so much want to work with us.

Photo: Mike Spears

Yeah, there are some pretty big names in there, and there's no advertising – presumably people were just up for doing it pro bono?
People are keen to get involved in a project they like, so nobody was being paid for their involvement. It was up to them whether they wanted to throw us some work or not, and it's sick to know people like Richard Kern and Ricky Powell are up for collaborating with us. It's worth noting all the money we've made has gone straight back into our upcoming project.

We seem to be in a pretty rich time for zines at the moment; there's lots of high quality stuff out there. Why do you think that is?
There's definitely a lot of really great stuff kicking around at the moment. It would be hard and probably stupid of us to put our finger on exactly why. We guess the same reasons people have always made zines apply to now. Nobody can tell you what to put in your zine. You make it. You say what you want. It seems young people are finding more of a voice than they used to, and the zine is the perfect medium to put your opinion across. Maybe there's a bit of that, or maybe people just like putting their sketchy drawings down into a book.

You've held an exhibition and made T-shirts already. What's next? Do you have aspirations to turn the zine into something more?
We're making things up as we go along, to be honest. That comes back to the idea of Loose, and the minute we lose that, become too organised and set everything in stone, we might lose what we have. In a year we've gone from putting shitty stickers on bottles of wine in the park, to a super successful group exhibition – featuring one of our heroes, Ed Templeton – released our first publication, and now we're working towards a major solo exhibition at Hoxton Arches of Slaves guitarist, Laurie Vincent. We're big fans of Slaves and even bigger fans of Laurie's paintings, so it's sick as fuck to be helping him put on his first major exhibition in London.

Thanks, guys – best of luck.


To get on the list for the private view of Laurie Vincent's exhibition, on the 10th of August at the Hoxton Arches, RSVP here. The show then runs until the 15th of August.