This Saturday 13th May is Hamilton Zinefest at Creative Waikato – so we’re meeting some of the makers behind the zines! Today we meet Bryce Galloway, a Massey University Fine Arts lecturer, artist and zine-maker who spent his childhood in Hamilton, and now resides in Wellington. Galloway makes videos, music and the zine Incredibly Hot Sex With Hideous People – New Zealand’s longest running title, established in 2002 and now at 62 issues. Incredibly Hot Sex With Hideous People stems from a very “warts and all” ethos, employing drawn and written autobiographical narrative. Bryce makes & performs music, gallery-sited videos, and zines.
In his art, Bryce tries to “celebrate a tattier version of identity than usually found in the media: be that the identity of the artist as propagated by the entertainment media, or the identity someone constructs themselves, through social media. For me, being creative means communicating, telling stories and invigorating everyday life – but I’m happy to look at the art of people whose philosophy of creativity is quite ‘other’.
Mostly I make fun of myself: of awkward moments, of my hirsuteness and balding, my inability to spell, my terrible sense of direction, that sort of thing. But through music I might write different stories, e.g. in my one month bands I’ve written songs about the news media, about Baby Boomers and about ecological distress. I write songs about anything and everything, though nary any straight love songs.”
His own favourite piece is his writing in issue 61 of Incredibly Hot Sex with Hideous People. “It’s a vasectomy narrative that I think manages to be funny, visceral and poetic at turns.” But he also has a long list of artists he admires from the other corners of New Zealand: “The comics/zines of Brent Willis, Hannah Salmon, Hayden Currie, and Lucy Meyle. The art of Janet Lilo, Francis Upritchard, Coco Solid, Samin Son, Tom Kreisler, Peter Robinson, Sean Kerr, Ronnie van Hout, Georgette Brown, Andrew McLeod, and Kim Pieters. The music of Fantasing, The Skeptics and Pumice.”
I ask him about his current project. “On my 50th birthday I decided to manufacture a mid life crisis as art work. I got a giant gangsta tattoo which reads “mid life crisis” across my stomach and then proceeded to start a new band every month. Each band writes original material and undertakes a public performance at the end of the month.”
“I really can’t imagine being any other way,” says Bryce, when asked why he makes art. “As a kid growing up in Hamilton I was always drawing, playing dress ups, and making up codes and secret societies. And that’s what I still do now! I’m lucky to have an art lecturer job for Massey University that allows some time and resources for the making of art, but if I was working 50 hours a week as a clerk or in sales I’m sure I’d still have some sort of outlet; a sporadical zine or part time band.”
“Ha ha… here’s my vocational guidance pitch,” he starts off, when asked what led him to be where he is now. “After 10 years on the dole I had a CV full of performances, exhibitions, art writing and CD releases. It was enough to land me an art lecturer job. Since then, the combination of having kids and undertaking a Masters degree combined to shift my practice towards the autobiographical everyday.”
He describes himself as a “kitchen-table artist, an office-cubical artist, a bedroom-band artist… I’ve never been a “studio artist”, I make art where I eat, work and sleep.”
Bryce is looking forward to the release of graphic novel through Pikitia Press as well as that of Wendyhouse CD (a longtime collaboration with Daniel Powell) in conjunction with The Audio Foundation. “I’m working out how to tell the story of my tattoo and 12-bands project, be that doco, audio CD, zine, or exhibition…”
And what’s he looking forward to at the Hamilton Zinefest? “There’s too much to look forward to, and never enough time to do it all. Basically I have to decide whether I’m going to focus on selling zines an chatting with the public, swapping zines and chatting with zinesters, taking photographs, attending the talks and workshops, or hanging out at the craft table. And then there’s the after party!”
Find out more about Bryce Galloway and his work here, and check out the Hamilton Zinefest on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.