For some, zine collecting is a hobby – no different from picking up an album on vinyl, or finding a pair of rare sneakers. For others though, the collection and distribution of original print material is both a passion and vocation. The mysterious founder of Left Out Press falls into the latter camp, and has established an Australian-based online store that specialises in both printing and selling hard-to-come-by graffiti publications. Founded early last year, Left Out has attracted fans of print and paint alike through their release of original titles from the likes of Melbourne’s Jets and Pzor, and Paris’ Ilk and Keno – as well as stocking an array of rare and small run titles.
When did you start Left Out Press?
Around the beginning of 2013
What was the motivation?
I’d been making short run publications and had a lot of friends doing their own, and through a couple of small zine fairs we found out that people were into it.
I thought it could be worthwhile to put out short run editions and have them all go into the hands of people who are interested, so I did it.
Why launch a print venture in an era when it’s never been harder?
I think people care about interesting publications more than ever. Traditional print magazines and books may have fallen to the convenience of the internet, but DIY publications that offer something that you can’t get on the internet still matter.
With sites like instagram and tumblr having been around long enough now, art, photography and graffiti on those platforms is so disposable. You hit ‘like’, ‘reblog’ or maybe make a comment, and then scroll past it and it’s gone. People seem to be going back to things they can hold and appreciate for longer than a fraction of a second in an endless stream of content, like a zine.
You seem to walk the line between representing local and international publications, is that balance important to you?
Definitely. I try and balance overseas and local both in the publications we put out on Left Out Press and in what we sell on the store. The first publication on the store was submissions from all over the world, and since then I’ve put together a release with JETS & PZOR from Melbourne which sold out in 24 hours, one with ILK & KENO from Peace And Love Crew from Paris, and recently reissued a zine by RETRO from the KGB crew from Sydney. It’s not really a conscious move though, I’m as interested in local guys putting in work as I am in overseas heavy hitters.
Graffiti and DIY publication seem to go hand in hand, why do you think that is?
As much as it’s largely a personal pursuit, graffiti is about getting your name out there. With a lot of the work being largely impermanent, it’s cool to have a permanent publication documenting it.
Are you a hoarder of print material?
Definitely, I’m a hoarder in general, it’s getting out of hand. Once I hear about a publication that interests me I have to have it, and I’ll eventually get it from eBay, Yahoo Auctions or a weird message board.
What’s the best piece in your personal collection?
I have a few Barry McGee zines which are definitely up there and No Bad Days: Issue 1 is great. As books go, Martha Cooper’s Tokyo Tattoo 1970.
Anything you’re hunting for, but haven’t got yet?
Back to the hoarding, I’m trying to cut down on the hunt to obtain more and focus on putting out more at the moment. But I did accidentally give away my personal copy of the JETS & PZOR zine. So if anyone has an editioned copy they want to send back, send an email. Weird, I know.
Do you think the internet has fundamentally changed the DIY print landscape?
Definitely, it’s become a place to meet like-minded people who are interested in zines and who publish their own work. It’s like the 30 people who are into DIY publishing in each town around the world can talk to each other and show their work, it’s cool.
There are obviously pros and cons, as someone who runs a webstore dedicated to print material – how do you feel about it?
The zines are definitely a reaction to the disposable nature of work online, but we use the internet to promote and sell them, so it’s strange.
But all the Left Out stuff has been really well received and it’s really cool to see people getting into what we do and DIY publishing in general. That’s all thanks to the internet, otherwise no one would know what Left Out is.
What’s on the cards for Left Out in 2014?
Publishing wise, doing a big local publication that will take a while to compile, but once it’s out I think people will be into it. Also hopefully doing our first hardcover book with a couple of pretty influential European writers. On the store there’s going to be a bit more apparel from overseas brands, we just got Have A Good Time and Homerun from Tokyo and there’s a few more on the way as well as more rare markers and collectables. Trying to push Left Out as far as possible in 2K14 so keep watch.
This article originally ran in ACCLAIM issue 32 – the Team Player issue – available here.