The best street culture magazines part one...
We love a good magazine here at four three six, and enjoy nothing more than getting lost in the pages of a great title over an evening. Although there's an abundance of information online sometimes it's nice to immerse yourself in a bit of print, a format that doesn't have the constant interruptions of a computer or tablet. Here we've compiled a list of our favourite street art, streetwear and electronic music magazines. Some of these magazines are pretty hard to find, but if you try a good independent magazine shop such as Ideas on Paper in Nottingham, or Wardour News in London they should either have them in or be able to get them for you...
1. VNA Magazine
Very Nearly Almost or VNA magazine has been going for ten years, starting off as a zine and working up to it's current format of 150+ pages in full colour. There are great features and interviews with street artists every quarter and previous cover stars have included Futura, Robert Del Naja (3D) and The London Police. As well as the main features every edition has regular sections including Diggin In the Crates which looks retrospectively at an artists career through photos, galleries of street art from cities around the world, and 'The Goods' - a section that features the best in street culture related books and merchandise (which in the past has included four three six wearable releases). Quite simply this is essential. If you look REALLY hard you may even be able to find a copy of VNA lurking in the shelves of your local WHSMiths, but as the mag doesn't feature a celeb on the cover they generally have no idea where to put it!
The original outsider art journal, Juxtapoz has been in circulation since 1994, their remit is to "document and make accessible the creative life". With a range of well written and thought provoking articles on art, music and fashion written from a US standpoint, Juxtapoz also embraces photography and the more experimental side of art. Their book reviews are always worth looking out for to pick up some under the radar titles for a longer read.
3. 50 Shades of Spray
Apart from the having possibly the best name out there, 50 Shades of Spray has a really cool concept. A proper DIY zine every issue has a different colour as it's theme and brings together all different styles of graffiti using that colour. Submissions are open, and once the next issue's colours are announced artist send in pictures of their works to be included. As well as loads of great pictures there are interviews with different graffiti artists each issue. So far Blue, Green, Pink, Chrome and Yellow have been the featured colours, and each issue comes with extra goodies from stickers to sweets.
4. King Brown
This one's a bit of a holy grail and super hard to come by, however Wardour News in Soho occasionally have it in, Purchasing a copy of this is a bit of a leap of faith as it comes in a sewn up screenprinted paper bag so you have no idea what's inside. Once the bag is opened however it's full of delights from postcards and posters to sew-on badges, this is one well thought out package. The magazine itself is an Australian art and culture magazine, mainly focused on street art and has a range of interesting and sometimes a little bit mental articles and interviews. You're pretty much guaranteed to find some new great artists within the pages of this magazines, if you can find it...
5. Jacker Magazine
A bilingual title, with articles in both French and English, Jacker magazine is French publication focusing on all elements of street culture. The articles inside include features on illustration, skateboarding, graffiti, tattoos and streetwear and some pretty awesome music playlists for both hip hop and techno. We've only seen one issue of this in the flesh but it featured a skateboarding nun on the front cover, which can never be a bad thing...
Another publication to come out of Australia T-World is more like a coffee table book than a magazine, encased in a hardback cover and covering up to 300 pages. This is quite simply the best resource there is on t-shirt, culture painstakingly put together by editor Eddie Zammit. The latest issue features a ton of interviews and articles with people involved in every stage of a streetwear t-shirt, from the concept and art to the distribution and marketing, and also features city guides of where to find the coolest threads in different cities around the world. Breathtaking in it's detail this one is well worth hunting down.
Buy it in the UK from AnyForty
A primarily music based magazine with a focus on hip hop, Bonafide also covers electronic music and the odd bit of art. It's tagline is 'documenting concrete culture' and the London based publication steps up with a wide variety of articles. There are names in there you know, but a lot that you won't know, however in a few months when you hear about an artist and wonder where you'd heard of them before - it was most likely in Bonafide. The issues come out somewhat erratically, but it's well worth keeping an eye out in your local mag shop for this one, and at a fiver it's a bargain.
That's half of our magazine stack covered, we'll follow up with part two next week...