David King’s Secret Origins of the Crass Symbol




& Pens presents,
A book release and exhibition for & Pens Press latest title,

Secret Origins of the Crass Symbol by Dave King

An exhibition featuring graphics from the book (including the Crass Symbol),
photographs and stencil pieces.

On display, September 14 – October 14, 2013

More info on the book here:

“Dave King was born in London not long after the Second World War, when there was still food and clothing rationing and children played in mysterious and hazardous bomb sites, between rows of bland and un- damaged terraced or semi-detached houses. It was a grey world which didn’t see much color until the economy finally improved in the Sixties, which were nothing if not colorful. To avoid a job as a bank clerk, King went to Art School (where he met Penny Rimbaud and Gee Vaucher, later of Crass.) For the next ten years he worked as a graphic designer and art director before “retiring” to the communal house that eventually became home to the band. He then moved to New York and fell happily into the Downtown music scene of the late Seventies, joining the band Arsenal. He did illustrations for the Museum of Modern Art and the logo for downtown club Danceteria as well as graphics for many bands. His band then moved to San Francisco in the early Eighties (a very interesting time in the California punk scene), becoming Sleeping Dogs, which appeared (as did Arsenal) on Crass Records. Today Dave King still lives in San Francisco, still designs logos and works on his own graphic, photographic and film projects.” – Boing Boing



Life is Sweet : Interview with Nat Russell

Here we are with our second ever interview on this bloglog. For this special installment we have shared words with one of my favorite guys working out there, Nathanial Russell. This super positive gentleman is a jack of all comedic and psychedelic trades with paint, pencil and all mediums in between. In 2012 & Pens Press published his Public Notice zine, a hilarious zine that you should check out if you haven’t yet, it’s guaranteed to inspire a good crack up.

So here we are, let’s jump right into things:

&P: Name and location?

NR: Nathaniel Russell  Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, Earthmoonmusic-mockupnew-styles-for-rainbow

&P:  You’ve been busy this summer, tell us about some of the projects you’ve been working on.

NR: i had an exhibition of my fliers and short videos at the Indianapolis Museum Of Contemporary Art in June. it was the first time i’ve shown that body of work in a gallery setting and i think it worked pretty well. the iMOCA and Service Center were very supportive and really made the whole thing happen.

-i was part of a group show curated by Evan Hecox at Joshua Liner Gallery in new york that i went and checked out. i got to see some good friends and meet some new people, too, which is always the best part of these kind of things.

-i went to Huntington Beach to work on the bowl for the Van Doren Invitational, a skate contest put on by Vans. they built a cement bowl on the beach during the US Open Of Surfing and 5 artists, including myself, got to paint it up. it was exciting for me in one way because i got to meet or be in close proximity to so many people i have admired since i was a kid, people who had a real effect on my path in life. the best part, again, was meeting and working with such a great group of artists and the good people who work for vans. it was a family affair.



-i’m helping with the graphic side of things for the Mollusk Jamboree that’s taking place in Big Sur  in September. i made the poster, some new shirts, and my band will be playing at it.

-i’ve been working on a series of wood cut-outs for the Service Center here in Indianapolis off and on all summer. the cut-outs will be in their community garden and all around the exterior of the building. we’re working up to an event in October and it should be pretty fun.


-just finishing up recordings for a record of songs this week. pretty psyched about it. i’ve been hanging out in the basement recording drums and singing and it’s been a real treat. it’s great when that feeling comes around and you can really grab it and enjoy it for a while.

-in the midst of all this i’ve worked on some freelance-y commercial jobs and some collaborations with some of my favorite artists that should see the light of day this fall and next year sometime.

when it’s written down it all sounds like it’s way too much, but i really don’t feel that much busier than normal. i’d rather be working on something than not, but i’m working on that.


&P:  That’s all sounds fun and pretty inspiring. You work over many diverse platforms, do you have a favorite way of working?

NR: it all comes from the same place. i think i need a balance of forms. it’s good to work big, like on a mural, and then work small, or to see something you thought of as small become large. i like to see things grouped together, in a context of themselves, and that lends itself to books and zines. i think the root of it is i like so many ways of making things: drawing, painting, collage, writing, books, sculptures, records, murals and i just want to do all those things. whether or not anybody wants to see them or that i am successful in the making of them is another story but one that is less important than the actually making of the thing.


&P: We love your the zines & publications, do you have a new one in the works?

NR: i have one brewing, i think it’s been brewing for a while. i think it will be more like a book: longer and a bit more deliberate. i would say 2014 if we’re being realistic and optimistic.


&P: Looking at all the lists you post from your sketchbook what would your list of the “Top 10. Most Amazing Lists” look like?

1. records/books i should get that i have not heard of or should reconsider
2. ways to be rad in every day life
3. what to make for dinner
4. best words to use right now
5. top ten people that want to give me a cabin in the woods in northern california or ojai to live in
6. cool dogs
7. secret chords
8. trick tips
9. painters that everybody sleeps on
10. cookie recipes

&P: What are you working on right now or have coming up in the future that you are looking forward to?

NR: right now i’m finishing up a bunch of miscellaneous illustration-y stuff, some reissue LP designs, and in the beginnings of what i hope will be a new group of things for an art show. my hopes for the future are: that i get my music recordings made into the vinyl format and sent out into the earth, that i do a new show of some new work in the near future, and that i continue to be able to make things as i like them and for them to be appreciated on some level. i just want to stay busy and healthy and try to do the best stuff i can.

&P: One last thing, can you tell us what a day in the life of Nat Russell looks like?
Thanks Nat!

This Sounds a Bit Like Goodbye


This Sounds a bit like Goodbye
by Stefan Marx (Hamburg, Germany)

Stefan Marx‘s latest and greatest publication, This Sounds a bit Like Goodbye, is a continuation of his travel drawings of the people and places he visits.  

DSC_0253For this series New York was his host. 

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Over the course of 156 pages paperback pocket-sized book, Stefan’s quick and gestural portraits depict shops, sceneries and funny impressions of  individuals. You can tell the energy of the characters are sometimes done in just a moment while others seem like he had time to sit and revel in the details of his surroundings a bit more.

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This Sounds a bit like Goodbye is Stefan Marx’ 16th publication with Nieves. We are hoping he travels to LA for his next one. 

Available in the Bookstore here.

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SFAQ Issue 14 Release Party this Saturday


Come on down to &Pens for our unofficial grand opening event this Saturday night 6-9pm
“SFAQ [International Arts & Culture] is pleased to announce a release party for Issue 14 in Los Angeles at the brand new &Pens Press Gallery and Bookstore, from the owners of Needles & Pens in San Francisco. Musical Performances curated by Tyson Vogel of Two Gallants.”
Issue 14 includes: Paul Schimmel, Ryan McGinley, Don Ed Hardy, Mark Flood, Robert Bechtle, Hijikata Tatsumi & Buto, Bonnie Ora Sherk, Sandy Kim and much more.


Picturing Dreams with Bertrand Fleuret

Since we are a little belated with our blog posts from the holiday weekend we decided to combine Monday Meditations and Poetry Tuesday by introducing an inspiring and unique book that represents both worlds: The Cliffs by Bertrand Fleuret.


French photographer Bertrand Fleuret, born in 1969, is a maker of beautifully produced photo books. The Cliffs, published by JL Books, continues the exploration of his earlier work in Landmasses and Railway’s by combining imagery and imaginary worlds, leading the viewer through surreal pathways with poetic narrations.

The inspiration behind The Cliffs was to reconstruct a vivid dream of Fleuret’s that began with him standing by a wall of dark cliffs. When he awoke from the dream he still found the imagery completely vidid and compelling even after being long awake. The collection of color images and written accounts of the dream reproduces the sequence of events he experienced both awake and asleep. 

Available here.


DSC_0262“I am standing by a wall of dark cliffs. They form a circle of about 100 meters in diameter.”

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Hand Drawn Magic


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Yesterday we were excited to open a new shipment and find Poemotion had arrived!  This beautiful soft bound interactive book features a collection of graphic patterns, hand drawn by Japanese designer Takahiro Kurashima. These drawing are magical as they have the capacity to delight and bewildering viewers of all ages.

Following the theme of “School of Seeing”, a motif that resonates throughout Lars Müller publications, Takahiro’s book explores the ways in which optical overlays, patterns and shapes can create motion.


By sliding the screen included in the book across the pages the viewer activates a moiré effect, allowing for complex forms to develop by setting shapes in motion and graphical patterns to vibrate.


In the era of digitalization this book shows that interactivity is also possible in the format of an analogous, bound book. 

Available in our analog bookstore or online here.



Here is a great video demonstration of Poemotion we found from PORT on Vimeo. Directed by Nick Thompson, edited by Neil Drummond and with music by John Barber

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/40808542]


Tuesday Poetry: Elegy for the Carnivorous Saint

For this week’s post of Tuesday Poetry we decided to highlight a zine tribute to the inspiring poet, Harold Norse.


Harold Norse was one of the last of the major Beat poets whose idiomatic works became landmarks of gay writing. As Michael Carlson described, Norse was “…beat before the Beats, hip before the hippies, and out of the closet long before gay liberation.”


 The End is the Beginning – Elegy for the Carnivorous Saint, A Memorial Collection for Harold Norse 1906-2009 was compiled by Tate Swindel, a family friend of Norse’s. The zine features poems, letters and essays about Norse written by:

Paul Bowles
Neeli Cherkovski
Mel Clay
Ira Cohen
Jack Hirschman
Gerard Nicosia
A.D. Winans
Eddie Woods



In F.A Nettelbeck’s poem “One More Vacancy At the Beat Hotel” he writes:

“the end
is the beginning”

was Harold

last words

dieing on a
Monday at 92

with his pages

up like a
blanket against

other voices down
the hall


The dedications of love and admiration are for any fan, or first time encounterer of Norse’s, amazing to experience. Many of the stories shared shed light on his electric personality and allow you to peer briefly into the scared world shared by beat poets. Their relationships served as inspiration for generations beyond their’s and you can feel the loss in the words written to or about Norse in these pages.


When you pick up a $4, black and white xeroxed zine and it makes you emotional, inspired and curious to learn more you know you have encountered something special. After reading through The End is the Beginning I delved into Norse’s memorial website which is filled with memories, photos, books and records. If you want to learn more about Norse I encourage you to visit: www.HaroldNorse.com

Elegy for the Carnivorous Saint available in the bookstore here.


Not included in the book, but something to share of Norse’s, is a poem from his time in Tangier recalling the visions and ecstasies shared with his young lover.

To Mohammed On Our Journeys

I was the tourist
el simpatico
and your brother offered you
and also himself
I forgot about your brother
and we took a flat in the Marshan
with reed mats and one water tap
about a foot from the floor
and we smoke hasheesh
and ate well and loved well
and left for the south
Essaouira, Fez, Marrakech
and got to Taroudant
thru the mountains
and bought alabaster kif bowls
for a few dirhams and watched
the dancing boys in desert cafés
kissing old Arabs and sitting on their
laps, dancing with kohl eyes
and heard the music down in Jejouka
in the hills under the stars
the ancient ceremony, Pan pipes
fierce in white moonlight
by white walls
with hooded figures
stoned on kif
for eight nights
and the goatboy in a floppy hat
scared us, beating the air
with a stick, beating whomever came close,
Father of Skins, goat god,
and the flutes maddened us
and we slept together in huts.

Monday Love: Jason Logan

Festus, by Canadian artist and illustrator Jason Logan, is another gem published by J&L Books that we are particularly stoked about having in the & Pens Press shop currently.


Published in 2010, this handheld hardcover publication depicts the classic figure of the frontiersman in various incarnations.


Logan made these works while traveling to the Klondike Institute in the outer reaches of Yukon, by the Alaska border.


Loose, colorful and confident, these thirty-five variations on the frontiersman carry through the book in different forms as the hustler, magician and logger just to name a few. Feeling like a mixture of incantations and studies Logan’s characters feel simultaneously iconic and refreshing. He’s traveled in his own path and loving this work feels like rooting for the underdog. 

Available in the bookstore here.