Blood is thicker than water. Not if you ask the art collective Blood Becomes Water, which has been releasing limited edition publications about contemporary art since 2010 and also works in the field of illustration and graphic design
Blood is thicker than water. Not if you ask the art collective Blood Becomes Water, which has been releasing limited edition publications about contemporary art since 2010 and also works in the field of illustration and graphic design. It was founded by two longtime friends Raya and Rossi, both from Sofia, and in 2014 they were joined by Robin from the Belgian city of Tournai. Since then the collective has quite naturally settled between the capitals of the two countries. Together they have built a large platform of likeminded artists, with whom they create various zines and similar formats, as well as organizing various artistic and musical events. From September 10-20, they will celebrate their tenth anniversary with the BBW DECADE DANCE event at the Intro Gallery. It will include an exhibition and the launch of the second issue of their fanzine The Bulgarian Issue, which features works by ten artists. We spoke to them about zine culture and place role in it.
Can zine culture develop in our country? How did you start publishing in this format?
Of course, more and more zines are being made in Bulgaria. Our own first steps in this format were prompted by our experience abroad and our desire to have a Bulgarian publication that collects and distributes various artists – including us – in this format.
What do you find inspiring about zines and what are the biggest challenges for independent publications today?
We are inspired by the idea of working as a team in a DIY manner, and by the creation of an archive of artistic works and experiments. There are many challenges –the current one is COVID 19. This virus raises questions about our safety and our interaction with objects, pushing us even harder towards the digital.
Tell us about the printing techniques you use.
In addition to digital printing, we have so far used screen printing, risography, and spray-paint. In The Bulgarian Issue # 2 we combine all of these techniques for the first time. We also worked with a set of metal typesetting letters, we used a Heidelberg press for the printing itself, as well as linocut and cyanotype.
You have traveled a lot and participated in various festivals and events. Which meetings with artists and audiences have made a strong impression on you?
The one-month art residency in China is perhaps one of our key experiences. We researched the topic of tetraphobia, our final publication and exhibition for the residency was about that topic. This project gave us a boost to do more independent projects as a collective. And the CRACK festival in Rome was a big challenge. It is held annually in the occupied fortress and social center Prenestino. The space was exceptional with its different studios, theater, rehearsal spaces and underground maze. There was a kitchen and a shared outdoor bathroom with solar water heating. There was pizza you could barter for a fanzine. There were also concerts with bands like Sexy Sushi and Anklepants. It's an interesting community and cultural center where we made many new friends.
Tell us about some of the interesting creative collaborations you have been part of.
One of our most interesting zine collaborations was in issue # 6: Humanimal, for which six pairs of artists had to work together on the visual material for the publication, as well as a music album added in the form of a CD. At first we were not sure what the result would be, but in fact we got one of the best and original projects we have ever done.
What can we expect from your exhibition in September?
The exhibition presents The Bulgarian Issue # 2, as well as works by featured artists – Dzhingibi, Rosie Eisor, Vikenti Komitski, Mihail Novakov, Pastedko, Boris Pramatarov, Raya Rayax, Sa6ettu, Technobeton, Trapers. There will be new works from the collective and special merch on the occasion of the anniversary.
*** You can find the posters at the BBW DECADE DANCE exhibition at the INTRO Gallery September 10-20.