Off the cuff

Skateboarder, poet, artist: the zines of Mark Gonzales
Art | 22 October 2014

Mark Gonzales, ‘Special Booklet for Alleged Tokyo Show’ from Non Stop Poetry: The Zines of Mark Gonzales

To anyone even slightly familiar with the ins and outs of skateboarding, Mark Gonzales will be a more than familiar name. Heck, many tout him as the greatest skateboarder of all time, aside from his more obvious . But what’s less widely known about Gonzales is his hybrid creative talent as an artist and poet, celebrated in the new book Non Stop Poetry: The Zines of Mark Gonzales.

They’re skills that have been manifested in the zines Gonzales has been making as his own personal past-time since the early 80s. This was not just a fleeting hobby: Gonzales created over 145 zines (the exact number is unknown) over the years, his knack for unstructured verse and scribbled visuals forming a singular narrative that continued over the years in the path of artist publications made by the likes of Ed Ruscha and Raymond Pettibon. In fact, Pettibon and Gonzales had been hanging out in the early 80s, around the same time that Pettibon published the first issue of his Tripping Corpse artist book series. Gonzales went on to make his own – it all falls into place.

As far as the new book’s evolution hoes, it turns out that Printed Matter’s Phil Aarons had been hunting down Gonzales’ zines for years when he approached the skateboarder with the idea of compiling all of his works into a single volume. Aarons toiled steadfastly with Emma Reeves to curate a tight collection of Gonzales’ personal essays, conversational interviews, doodles and general off-the-cuff visual and textual ephemera.

Non Stop Poetry: The Zines of Mark Gonzales

For anyone who has followed Gonzales career, this book’s a must. For those who haven’t? Take this as an opportunity to familiarise yourself with another layer of skateboarding’s below surface history. For it’s the creative subcultures that skateboarding has become aligned with over the years that continue to make it such an integral part of youth culture today.

Non-Stop Poetry: The Zines of Mark Gonzales is available from Printed Matter.

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