I got this zine in the mail when I worked at Surfing Magazine. We did a zine submission contest for a RVCA prize kit and I forget what happened but we never got the goods so we never announced a winner (full disclosure!). This zine Junkzine 1 was the clear winner in my eyes. The hand done, scotch taped cover, the simplistic line work and concept was superior to anything else that came in. And there were a lot.
This was submitted by Gregory Siff in 2007. Check the inside cover, his MySpace url is on there! I have hung onto this in my collection for a while and thought it would be fun to dust it off and shed some light on it. I reached out to Gregory to see what he’s up to now and to see if he even remembers submitting this to Surfing Magazine back in the day.
WHAT YOUTH: Give us a little Bio. Who are you, where are you from, what do you do etc.
GREGORY SIFF: I am Gregory Siff. I am an artist from Rockaway Beach, NYC and live and work in Los Angeles. I paint to feel good in life.
Where were you at 8 years ago when you made and submitted this zine to Surfing Magazine? 8 years ago I was in a part of my life which was the hardest yet. My Dad passed away in 2007 and I wasn’t gonna lock myself up in the dark and go to sleep. I was really trying to self soothe myself by making things drawing, painting and looking for the answers in what it means to be alive and do something with that chance. I decided to travel, meet people and find a rebirth in the character that had already been me up until this point. My dad loved the ocean and we live 2 blocks down from it. He always swam in the ocean every morning and we moved to Rockaway because my mom loved it. I would boogie board and long board when the waves would allow and I would pick up Surfing mag to see the photos. The still frames made the waves looked like sculptures. Like you could freeze the best part of the wave, the best part of life. I wanted to do that with where I was at that age, to freeze time with my dad. However, I found that in art you could capture moments forever and they could not be erased.
Did you ever expect this submission to come up again? Especially 8 years later? Or did you think it was long gone and forgotten about? Never. Even after I made the zine and sent it off I thought that was it. The reward was making a dope issue that said what I wanted to say and that was that. Even my friend, artist Chris Stanton, pointed out to me that my Junkzine made it to the contest page of the magazine. And now that you are coming to me makes me happy that I am still making cool shit and doing it for a living, traveling the world and painting to live. This is where I want to be and brings me closer to him every day.
What do you do now? Have you continued to pursue art and zine making? I paint walls and canvases. Sometimes I paint on bodies and jackets. I also like to take polaroids and photos with my Holga camera. I made one more Junkzine, #2, the hamburger issue. I really dig painting hamburgers. The perfect muse.
Do you collect zines or magazines? What is it about print and making books that interests you? I collect books, art and prints. Making books interest me because it’s legacy. That book will be on the shelf after we are gone. When someone opens it, I hope my eyes open somewhere out there.
What other artists/designers influence you today? The work that influences me today is action painting of the old masters, Pollock, DeKooning and Rothko, the fearless kids that I paint with at Crossroads School in Santa Monica and at Community programs throughout Downtown LA and all of the artists in Los Angeles who make the city a rad adventure to participate in. Lots of walls are covered with paint here. It’s inspiring to push and go the extra distance.
What are some of your favorite sites you visit regularly?
-Interview by Scott Chenoweth
A few spreads from Junkzine 1: