This curious zine’s understated exterior is not a good indicator of its busy, seemingly random pages. This is not your average zine. There are almost no words, but instead it is filled with collages and single words, phrases, illustrations, and inserts. The zine seems to be constructed from different books or pictures and other mediums, and after reading the folded piece of paper inside the neon yellow envelope that is stapled into the book, I discovered this is true. The paper states that “this book was created for Design by the Book, a documentary project co-produced by the New York Public Library and Design*Sponge capturing the experiences of five New York City-based artists as they sifted through the Library’s collections in search of inspiration for their work.”
The artist who created the zine, Mike Perry, is a well-known graphic designer who has a very impressive and extensive resume. He has worked for MTV, Target, AOL, Microsoft, Playstation, Starbucks, and that’s just to name a few. Nike even commissioned him to design a limited edition running shoe for the 2011 NYC marathon. Perry has worked on various photo shoots as illustrator and artistic director, and had published books, been a guest lecturer and teacher, made videos, and has been featured in various magazines and books. He works in a variety of diverse mediums and his website details all of his work. Because of all of this, his zines are more like works of art than your traditional zine.
At first glance, this zine appears random, with no unifying theme. The covers are plain light blue printer paper. They are full pages instead of smaller sized like most zines. There are three circular stickers on the lower right hand side of the front, one of which says “LOST IN THE STACKS,” another which has two eye balls looking into the corner, and the other which is just a gold metallic sun shaped sticker with a serrated edge. The back cover has nothing but a sicker at the bottom advertising the author’s website, www.mikeperrystudio.com. When you open the zine, though, you begin to see complex images, such as spiraling geometric shapes, pictures of pies and trees, and silhouettes of children from a children’s book. There are various things paper clipped precariously inside, like a piece of cardboard that says “LISTEN TO THE FUTURE LEARN FROM THE PAST.” All of the pages are black and white, but the inserts are all very bright, neon colors. This perplexing, intriguing zine is unique – the only one I have seen like it – and it has a very artistic, creative appeal. It is full of shapes, lines, and spirals that make me feel like I am looking through a kaleidoscope. This style is not my favorite aesthetically, but this zine is very similar to the rest of Perry’s work and the kind of illustrations he does. It is very interesting to look at and can only be experience by turning its pages.