The End Is The Beginning: "Hot and Cold" Fanzine
By Julie Gerstein
The end is near for artists Chris Duncan and Griffin McPartland. Okay, maybe not for Duncan and McPartland, per se, but for their longtime collaborative artist fanzine Hot and Cold. After seven years and ten years, the San Francisco-based curators and friends are calling it quits―exactly as they planned.
“This final issue is being released seven years to the day that the first issue was published,” says Duncan on the phone from Oakland. Hot and Cold began when Duncan finished art school in 2002 and was looking for something to do. Why not a fanzine, he thought. “I grew up as a hardcore kid and packaging and skateboards and records had a huge affect on me. When I got older it made sense to reference those things in their own way,” he explains.
He went to longtime friend McPartland to embark on the project. “Griffin and I have the exact opposite aesthetics. But regardless of whether we always liked or cared about the same things, we always had a great friendship. That made working together easy. “
The pair decided on the project’s parameters―Hot and Cold would consist of ten issues, starting with number ten and ending at one, because “There were so many examples of bands making one or two really epic records and then just refusing to die.” Putting a finite number on things would force quality control.
The first issue was released on September 11, 2002. It was a compendium of some of the pair’s favorite artists and closest friends. “We would be hanging out with artists and makers that were rad,” says Duncan, “and then we would extend an invitation to them.”
Everything in Hot and Cold is handmade. “In the age of computers there’s a separation from any sort of handmade aesthetic. The hand is disappearing,” says Duncan. Plus, he continues, “We’ve always had more time than money, so we just rely heavily on what we can do with our time and not what we can do with our money.”
For the final issue, Duncan and McPartland did have some financial help, thanks to a grant from Southern Exposure. The money helped fund two 7” records with music from Tommy Guerrero, Soft Circle, Urxed and Namesake; a DVD from Miami artists the TM Sisters; and original handmade works from Reed Anderson, Daniel Tierney and Monica Analando.
“There is absolutely no theme to the issue at all,” insists Duncan. But there is a copious amount of work―more than 25 artists contributed to the final issue, including Tammy Rae Carland, Cynthia Connolly and Brion Nuda Rosch.
For Rosch, Hot and Cold represents an ideal meeting of “two folks making an effort to share art with a community of like-minded individuals.”
Kent Baer, cofounder of Baer Ridgeway Exhibitions, where Hot and Cold’s final show opens on September 11, agrees. “Chris and Griffin truly understand the spirit of the collaborative process,” says Baer. “Collaboration requires a belief in the various talents, ideas, and capabilities of those who surround you. Both Chris and Griffin demonstrate this act of faith with an open-minded approach that ensures each artist is given the room they need for innovation and personal voice.”
For Duncan it’s much simpler than that. “Each one is just its own little moment.” And in the process of putting it together, says Duncan, he’s grown more fearless. “I’m just not afraid anymore. I’m really proud of what we’ve done and who we’ve worked with and how much people have given. It’s really restored my faith in people. I’m sure I’ll miss it, but I feel if there’s ever a time Griffin and I need to do something together again, we will.”