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Behind the zines: Thomas Philip Bold

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To celebrate the launch of our zine range, we decided to delve into the underbelly of this DIY world and go “behind the zines”, picking the brains of zinesters who regularly adorn paper pages with doodles, sketches, scans, mark makings and handwritten notes.

First up, we talk to Londoner, Thomas Philip Bold. Working in a variety of mediums, his work often experiments with different medias, indulging his pleasure in the process of creating itself. However, he is  probably best associated with my use of sketchbooks, with his social media channels full to the brim with photos and scans which offer up a window into the pages within.

“I love sketchbooks and use them daily. I often see my sketchbook, once filled, as a completed piece of art in itself. So why not scan and use a ton of the stuff inside them for zine making and for others to enjoy.” 

– Thomas Philip Bold

Why do you think zines are awesome?

I like the rawness. I like that you can do whatever you like with them and distribute them however you like. I like collaborating on them with like minded individuals and I especially like the DIY approach. I feel there is a real solidarity and respect between zine makers with trading zines, collecting them and posting them round the world. It’s really inspirational to see and be apart of.

When did you start creating zines?

I’ve always been into art, music and skateboarding, and zines have always been present in these scenes.  I wanted to create my own, so I did.  In fact it was more of a little comic strip but it was cool. I drew it all out and went to the library to photocopy it and proceeded to give out these tiny little zines to anyone that would take one.  

I then moved onto making skate zines filled with my illustrations and skate photos. I have made 35mm photo zines of my travels too. I would trade zines and swap stickers with like minded zinesters and artists.  More recently I like to play with different printing methods and work alongside various printers to get some really fun and interesting results. However, I still like going to the local library and photocopying a ton of drawings.  

seek and destory, zine, Thomas Philip Bold, Awesome Merchandise

We’ve heard you have a pet snake and a hefty collection of plants, do these ever creep their way into your work?

Yes in fact I have four pet snakes – 1 corn snake, 2 pythons and 1 boa constrictor. I’ve been obsessed with snakes since I was young and I often use snakes in my illustrations.

I was amazed at watching them on nature programs and the concept of snake charming was this mysterious way of making a deadly cobra dance however, I no longer agree with snake charming now I know what is actually involved but at the time it was magic. I actually did a zine some time ago of snake charmers and a different zine about snakes using patterns and shapes they create.  

I also love plants and anything garden/plant related. I like growing them, they are something I enjoy to be around, its therapeutic for me.  I like the shapes and patterns within leaves and flowers and the structural properties they can have.  I also have a large collection of cacti and have kept them since I was a child. Now I’m a member of the British cactus and succulent society and cactus and succulents have recently featured heavily in my work in a stripped down and often very playful style. However, inspiration for my zines can come from anywhere.

You teamed up with us to print your latest zine, “Search and Destroy’ can you tell us what the inspiration behind this zine was?

Search and Destroy zine is basically a lot of scans from my sketchbooks put together into a zine. I deliberately chose to use a lot of my mixed media and collage pieces using random segments of images and mark making to get some really interesting results. I want it to be almost fragmented and dream like for the viewer – a visual experiment and out of sync, a lot like a sketchbook itself.

The title originates from a time I was in Berlin and went to visit a skateshop a friend worked at. The name of  name of the shop was “Search and Destroy” and I had a page in my sketchbook devoted to the shop. That particular page was one of the one scanned sketchbook pages and it just seemed to work for this project.

How do you distribute your zines?

I mainly sell my zines on my online store, although I have a few stocked in various independent art galleries, coffee shops, skate shops and bookshops too. I work very closely with a good friend at Flatlands Press based in Chicago who regularly tables at zine fairs and represents my zines there. I also champion the of trading zines through my social media and usually have them on offer at my exhibitions.

What tips or advice would you give someone thinking of making a zine?

Just have fun and experiment.   

Any plans for your next zine?

I have a few plans. I’ve been working on a series of contemporary pieces that I want to put together possibly to accompany my future exhibitions and I have a new one in the works for the next Chicago zine/art book fair.

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