Searching for meaning, Justin Blyth’s Iconograph Magazine presents comtemporary symbols and rituals.
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Evolving from the digital endeavours started by Them Thangs, Iconograph Magazine is an ongoing print series that presents an eccentric and eclectic collection of visual media and literature while exploring the contemporary use of Ritualistic Iconography. With open eyes and mind, the multi-disciplinary creative Justin Blyth looks for symbols and rituals in the everyday. For the recently published sophomore edition, curation duties were shared between its founder and a trio of like minded friends, Justin Van Hoy (who sadly passed away and to which the issue is dedicated), Hassan Rahim, and Andrew Pogany. The result is a limited edition document that features work from thirty two artists from around the world including BITNB artists Joel Evey, Carey Haider, Andrew Kuykendall and Dan Monick alongside a literary portfolio with writing from Barry Graham, Larry Fondation, Maya Stocks and more. Over the course of its eighty pages, the reader is taken on a journey from the mundane to the remarkable, the beautiful to the shocking. Ever hungry for meaning, i-D Online caught up with Justin to chat symbols, sources and stories.
From Them Thangs to Iconograph Magazine, what inspired the move to print? When you started Them Thangs, did you dream of making a print publication? It’s just been a natural progression. A blog is for fun so that’s how it all started, and my background is in design so I’ve always been making zines and whatever. A few friends got involved this time around and we tried to take it a step further.
What do you think the print publication can offer that the blog couldn’t? A chance at legitimacy? The cliche is that print is dead, right? I guess a magazine has a visceral quality that creates more of an experience. And of course it’s limited, so not everyone can see it!
How do you source the material? The theme ‘Ritualistic Iconography’ sounds very specific but really it can be a lot of things. We have rituals and symbols everywhere around us every minute of our lives. So we tried to interpret that in a broad way. This issue was curated by myself, Justin Van Hoy (RIP), Hassan Rahim, and Andrew Pogany. I’d say 75% of the magazine is sourced from our friends, but there are a few people we contacted directly because we wanted to include their work.
Which stories, symbols or images from in the first two issues do you think best encapsulate your vision? We have a set of photographs Max Snow took of his father which are really haunting. I don’t think he’s shown those anywhere else. My buddy Daniel also had a DMT session transcribed which we have in there as a written piece, which I love.
What’s the strongest piece of iconography that you’ve ever seen? That’s really an impossible question. I like the high fashion use of greek mythology and culture… Hermes, Medusa as the face of Versace, all of these crazy baroque scarves and jackets…
Which fanzines/magazines did you grow up reading? Thrasher, MAD, Can Control, Arkitip, Lowdown, Vice, Big Brother, Mass Appeal, Tokion, Grand Royal, Straight from the lip… and my dad’s Solder of Fortune magazines.
What excites you about tomorrow? Seeing my son in the morning!
Do you have any advice to pass on to anyone else wanting to start up their own magazine? Not really, I have no idea what I’m doing.
Text: Steve Salter
Photography: Courtesy of Iconograph Magazine