A magazine is a fantastic source of inspiration and a conduit for discovering art. There’s an invigorating feeling stemmed from holding a mag, absorbing the art in its bind, and even pulling pages to make unique collages and masterpieces yourself.
Photographer, Andreas Laszlo Konrath, and designer, Brian Paul Lamotte are clever craftsmen who know the feeling all too well. The talented duo are responsible for founding Brooklyn-based publishing house, Pau Wau Publications, in 2009 when they began producing Konrath’s photography projects into zines. The company has published the work of many great artists like Adam Krause, Alessandro Simonetti, Andreas Laszlo Konrath, Andrew Kuo, Ari Marcopoulos, & Brian Paul.
Art Zealous sat down with Lamotte & Konrath to discuss the art of print publication and the artists’ many creative adventures.
Art Zealous: Print publication offers a personal, tactile experience. What’s your favorite part about printed materials?
Andreas Laszlo Konrath: The physicality a zine or book offers is so reliant on a sensory experience that it really is unique to each and every person with how they touch, handle and interact with the object. There’s something so satisfying about the smell of printed materials to me – and the way ink sits on the paper or how it is absorbed by it.
Brian Paul Lamotte: The fact that you can create a beautiful object and share it with an unforeseen amount of people in an incredibly intimate way. Much like art, books can transfer us to a place or time that is completely singular to the viewer. My experience with a book will inevitably be much different than yours but the object or book that connects it is essentially the same physically.
AZ: Your business produces limited edition publications of contemporary photography & art – what kinds of pieces do you like to publish?
ALK: I think over the years our taste has changed or refined gradually – the most important thing for us is not to become too stagnant or to repeat ourselves. Right now the work we’re interested in has changed from when we started nearly 8 years ago. The way we produce has also adapted and shifted – sometimes we want to just bust out a limited edition of 50 copies on the Risograph, something crude and raw, and then sometimes we want to really spend some time with an artists’ work, and produce 500 copies of a hard bound book. I suppose each project has its own life and we think it’s best to produce something that fits with the imagery itself.
BPL: The ones that challenge us, both from an aesthetic and conceptual point of view. If we’re not continuing to push ourselves and the artists we work with there is little point to continue.
AZ: Pau Wau Publications presented Zine Time, a one-day pop-up exhibition featuring work from 20 artists at the MoMA. What was it like working with the MoMA?!
ALK: The back story is that our good friend Lele Saveri, the curator of The Newsstand project down in the Lorimer St. subway back in 2013, was asked to partake in the show Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015 at the MoMA. They made an exact replica of the space as an installation within the show. We’d been contributors to The Newsstand since it’s inception, and our main project there at the time was Zine Time – a vending machine that distributed 20 artists’ zines at random – Lele asked us to contribute to the MoMA installation.
We were asked to do a special event where people could come and use the machine, alongside doing a pop-up show on the exterior of The Newsstand façade. It was a really exciting opportunity as there are a lot of layers there – it was like a show within a show within a show. The original 20 zines we made for the first time were all sold out, so it gave us an opportunity to make a compendium zine of all 20, something that could respond to the old project and then how it sat within the new surroundings. It was a nice way to summarize something old and make something new from it.
The curators and install team from the MoMA were lovely and very helpful. Working with a team at that level was very different to what we were used to – we were excited, honored and humbled to get the chance to do that show.
BPL: Producing a vending machine which distributed zines randomly was something we talked about previously but it wasn’t until this opportunity arose that we actually realized it. It was a really great opportunity to work with previous collaborators as well as approaching a few new people. On a whole, working with the MoMA was fantastic, they we’re incredibly supportive and open to our approach. We’ve never really dealt with an institution in this capacity, particularly of that size, so that presented an enormous amount of challenges logistically which we had to overcome creatively.
AZ: What is your dream collaboration?
ALK: That’s a tough one. I’d love to work on something with one of the photographers that made me want to pursue it when I was 18 years old: Larry Clark, Nan Goldin, Wolfgang Tillmans, Richard Billingham, Nick Waplington, Lauren Greenfield, Jim Goldberg et al. But also, a huge part of our ethos is to collaborate with young up-and-comers that perhaps no one has heard of – it’s a nice feeling to be involved with someone’s first project and help get their work seen.
BPL: Ditto but if I had to pick one it would be Wolfgang Tillmans. I was fortunate enough to be in Berlin when he had a mid-career retrospective at Hamburger Bahnhof which had quite an impact on me both photographically and personally.
AZ: Favorite book store in NY?
BPL: Dashwood Books. The owner, David Strettell, has supported us since the start and beyond that their knowledge and passion of photography books is unmatched.
ALK: Dashwood is one of my favorites bookstores -they are the only exclusively photo based bookstore in the city. I also love Karma’s selection of artist books and am always down to pop in The Strand for literature books. I’m doing my best to always pick up books physically in person rather than online.
AZ: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
ALK: We’ll be at the LAABF next month, with a new Muses set (Volume 5) – one of our annual zine sets – this year it will include Francesca Allen, Nick Sethi, Michael Schmelling, Jody Rogac and Ari Marcopoulos.
BPL: We’re also working on a book of street photography with our friend Daniel Arnold based on a street in Greenpoint Nassau Ave, which he lives off and our studio is located near. Additionally, a nice little Risographed artist book with Luke Barber-Smith that is a collection of Photoshop masks he uses while creating his images.