JOSH JONES, EDITOR & CO-FOUNDER OF PROLIFIC art ZINE PAVEMENT LICKER CHATS ABOUT THEIR FIRST DECADE ON THE SCENE & the ridiculously great issue 10…out now!
Back in 2003, before blogs and broadband, before Dazed Digital and zines a plenty, Pavement Licker was born. Writer and editor Josh Jones and art director James Lee Duffy’s 52 page, black & white beauty was one of the very first to drop on the scene. Unrivaled and unmatched, Pavement Licker packed a punch from the first issue. Laced with sharp wit, everything from scribbles to prose and most importantly a shitload of yet to be discovered and widely respected talent from the literary, illustration, contemporary and street art world. From Banksy, EINE, David Shrigley, and writer Lauren Berry to Daniel David Freeman, Shepard Fairey and Tank Girl creator/Gorillaz founder Jamie Hewlett, the list goes on.
This year Pavement Licker toasts a decade in the making with the monumental and ultra slick Issue 10 titled ‘As I Faced The Nothingness’ which is on the stands now. I caught up with the lovely Josh Jones to chat about all things Pavement Licker, and celebrating the big 1.0. Here’s what he had to say……
Where did it all begin?
JOSH JONES: Pavement Licker began in the Marquis of Granby on Rathbone Place. We both worked together and James asked me if I wanted to put a ‘zine together with him. He’d already thought of the name Pavement Licker and I agreed. Then I took my hat off and poured a bottle of beer into it to ‘save it for later’. That’s a true story. I was shit faced.
What’s it all about?
Everything and nothing. We have no agenda, no theme or reasoning behind Pavement Licker. We started it as a place for artists and writers to be published (this was a time before people even had internet in their house, can you imagine?) and that’s what it has continued to be.
How does it all come together? What’s your process like? Is there music/incense?
We do a call out for artwork and speak to people we know and then we sit together and go through everything. We have to both like something for it to go through to the next round. It’s very much like getting into the Royal Academy. With slightly more swearing. There’s not much incense, but James has expensive soap in his toilet and I like to wash my hands with that and sniff them when he’s not looking.
Pavement Licker’s alumni and list of artists who’ve submitted work over the years is pretty illustrious and impressive to say the least… is there one artist in particular who’s sent work over that was the biggest surprise?
We have indeed been lucky enough for some pretty big names in art to give us some of their work. Jamie Hewlett, rang me up out of the blue and said, ‘It’s Jamie, where shall I send a piece I haven’t been able to publish anywhere else?” That was a surprise because I didn’t know him – I still don’t really know why or how he got my number. I have my suspicions. It was of a grotesque British tourist wearing a big sombrero, putting a condom onto his sweaty erection and it proudly went into Issue 3. And, of course, we’ve had a few mysterious download links sent to us and it’s been work from Banksy -I think we might be the only publication in the world to have had so many original Banksy contributions That’s a fairly incredible thing to happen and something we’re still very grateful for.
An artist that you’ve seen come up out of the zine?
We’re very proud to say we were part of the brilliant Kelsey Brookes’ journey into becoming a full time artist. He tells the story best here – https://vimeo.com/17195639 (watch it all). He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet and it’s been an absolute pleasure to see his career sky rocket – and deservedly so. Check him out here www.kelseybrookes.com
You’re no strangers to nudity, including a gorgeous, tattooed white hot Canadian in Issue 10! What’s been the most controversial piece you’ve had submitted? The most random?
*Goes through archives* There was a shitting one once. That was weird. We weren’t into that. There was a point where people who wrote things for us kept dropping CUNT into what they wrote because they thought it would be shocking and it started to get on my tits because it was so pointless. We made an unwritten rule to ignore anyone who did that.
How difficult is it to pick & choose/curate what to include in each issue?
We actually find that a theme presents itself each time we put something together. Maybe it’s our state of mind that leans towards something or it’s just what people are drawing at the same time Issue 9 had a punk music thing running through it for some reason and issue 10 is a bit acidy and we have no idea why.
Do you have a personal stand out piece in Issue 10 that means more/love?
Jamie Hewlett sent us a piece for this one, which was just incredible. There’s also New Yorker Lexie Smith’s Fist Camel Hump piece, which is really simple, funny and right up our street.
Over the years you’ve had a pretty rad list of fans who’ve been spotted reading a copy…. John Cooper Clarke, Ghostface Killah among many… whose left? Who’s the dream person if you could put the zine in anyone’s hands?
Hmm I dunno – Chad Muska digging it and then actually licking a copy was pretty rad for us. KAWS is a massive hero of James’ so if we could get a picture of him reading it then he’d melt into a pile of buttery tears. I’d quite like to see Barack Obama reclining with it when he has his first holiday next year. But we’re not really too bothered.
You’re both two of the busiest people I know in the business! At the moment what else are you both working on?
Quite a lot – I’m doing lots of zines and publications for various people as I’ve set up my own publishing company called Charlie Fury. I’m also finishing my comic called Johnny Whiskfingers, which I’m doing with the very talented artist Simon Davies ( http://www.simondaviesdraws.com/ ). Funnily enough, you can read the first spread from Issue 1 in Pavement Licker 10. James is being all art directy and making amazing design things, as well as teaching his new son and heir Sylvester Francis Duffy about punk music and stuff.
Do you manage to sneak some time to read other zines? Which ones?
KnockBack (although that’s going online now) and Gums n Tongues – check those guys out (not for the faint hearted). There was one called Sad Goalkeepers, by a guy called Ed Cressdee, which was just pictures of goalkeepers looking sad, which made me laugh a lot.
Looking back over the past decade do you have an issue of Pavement Licker that sticks out over the rest?
Issue 3 features Banksy, Jamie Hewlett, David Shrigley, Ben Eine, Kelsey Brookes and Jon Burgerman among others. That’s pretty special isn’t it? They’ve all gone on to do fairly well. I’m not just saying it but I really like Issue 10. Really a lot. Maybe too much.
What did you do to celebrate the big 10?
We rolled over and I let James be the big spoon for a whole hour. There is a plan to get smashed, eat a load of ribs with a few long term contributors when we’re all in London at the same time and make Mr Bingo do the washing up. That’s actually going to happen.
How has Pavement Licker changed/evolved since your first issue?
Better paper – the first few were printed on hijacked photocopiers in people’s offices. We once used all of the toner in all of the photocopiers at a very large oil company’s office on a Sunday because one of our writers had a keycard. HA FUCK YOU OIL COMPANY.
Well, we’re doing a book of all 10 and it is awesome. There’s an article someone wrote in Issue 1 about this thing called Google and how he uses it at least a once a day. Can you imagine the innocence?
Where do you see the zine 10 years from now?
Wheezing in a corner reminiscing about the good old days and eyeing up a bottle of codeine.
You Can Buy Pavement Licker Issue 10
right now here!!!! http://pavementlicker.bigcartel.com/
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Words by Tracy Kawalik and Josh Jones
Images Courtesy of Pavement Licker | *Camel above by Lexie Smith