- Title = Venomous Feathers No. 1
- Date of Release = November 2021
- Publisher = Venomous Feathers
- Editor = Fergus Nm
- Number of Pages = 32 pages plus printed covers
- Format = Digitally printed in colour
- Print Number = First Printing of 150 copies
- Paper type = X-Per Card aka Acid Free Card
- Printed In = New Zealand
- Price = $NZ10 —
Venomous Feathers, the first curated zine from New Zealand artist and editor Fergus Nm‘s new publishing outlet of the same name, features several artists that push the boundaries of taste and form – Namely:
Ila Pop, Fergus Nm, Churchdoor Lounger, Alexandra McFarlane, Eléonore Kenis & Kenny Ozier-Lafontaine, Archie Fitzgerald, Sailor Stephens, Holly Firesheets, Joshua William Mackie, Thomas E. Richards, and Olga Lapin.
Working as a cohesive visual experience, each is given space in the zine to hammer out their own unique, often chaotic, artistic visions.
Being aware of Fergus’ art and interest in the Neo Decadent movement, it is easy to see how the various artists in VF became involved, as each of the pieces within feels reflective of his tastes and themes.
Certain pieces are bound to appeal to others differently, but there is not a submission that feels out of place or lifted by another artist…
The cover by Ila Pop, is divine yet twisted in its mash-up of pop culture, eroticism and commercialism in a way that elevates it above any such labels. It is a perfect enticement into the zine and a great display piece, her two other works leaving just as strong an impact.
Ila has developed a style entirely unique unto herself, and it is easy to see why she has developed a cult following.
Next, the zine’s editor Fergus Nm continues and develops his familiar themes of peculiar landscapes, playful cryptids and conceivable acts of violence – All delivered with his unique eccentricities. His pieces boasting visions of twisted architecture that seem to be both melting and expanding at the same time – A glorious vision!
Fergus excels in crafting surreal landscapes where the smaller details draw the observer into picking them apart – Searching for familiar forms in large collage pieces.
The back cover by Fergus is a personal favorite of mine, a wonderful excess of blood red with a large decapitated deer head hovering above sanguine visions of meat and clocks.
With VF showing Fergus’ art at its most defined and accomplished from to date.
Following the cover and first two pages of works by Fergus, the zine explores interesting textures through the art of Churchdoor Lounger and Alexandra McFarlene.
Churchdoor Lounger creates complex textures both glitch heavy and supersaturated – A meltdown of familiar form into a pastel haze.
Comparatively, the art of McFarlane is serene with its forms crafted from water-soaked paints – Evoking a primordial attraction in their simple forms.
From there collaborative art duo Eléonore Kenis & Kenny Ozier-Lafontaine offer a dizzying double page spread of two decaying ghouls revering in violence and pop-culture.
It is a playful piece loaded with pop-culture references that stand somewhere between mockery and adoration. The details are phenomenal – Who would not want to own the second volume of “Pokesex”.
The next inclusion from Archie Fitzgerald is an apt inclusion, with his art approaching the same kind of controlled chaos that makes Fergus’s work an utter delight to pick apart.
However, there is a differing in artistic approach as Fitzgerald’s work is spread out and narrative driven. With his textures and iconography being used as a way to guide the viewer between mini-stories of monstrous creatures, alien landscapes and mini-tragedies – The viewer’s initial lack of cohesion turning to delight as they explore the various nooks that hide characters and text.
Moving along in the zine, the peculiar collage work of Sailor Stephens takes glamorous images, adorning them with absurdity and placing them in front of industrial, ramshackle landscapes.
The contrasts and sense of humor perfectly in line with the zine’s tone.
From there, Holly Firesheets keeps the vibe going with her abnormal beauties that offer a peculiar mix of glamour, violence and horror.
Her fetish piece that melds colorful, cartoonish lambs with a buxom, bondage gear clad beauty being a personal favorite.
Next the zine shifts back to the softer tone that framed its beginning, with the work of Joshua William Mackie and Thomas E Richards, respectively.
Mackie offers up cartoonish creators drawn with childhood exuberance. His figures, slightly alien in nature, come across as warm due to their soft shapes and bright colors – Yet maintain mystery in their unfamiliarity of form and layout.
Richards, on the other hand, is focused primarily on textures and layering that produce alien landscapes. Although one piece features collage work that sucks you into a 1990’s aesthetic, with worn images that look lifted from mall advertisements of the time.
The works of both are an idyllic way to bookend the zine.
Closing out the release, Olga Lapin gives the zine a final death blow. Black, dreary panels and uncomfortable textures booting the zine off into the great unknown.
It is death on the page, in the most complimentary manner possible.
Overall Venomous Feathers is a beautiful, cohesive project that is enjoyable from start, to inevitable decay.
Beyond the quality of the work itself, the zine benefits from feeling perfectly constructed in both quality and flow. If I was not a purist I would be cutting and sticking the art to my wall or framing it.
Maybe buy two so you can be comfortable in mutilating it for your own aesthetic ends…
- Venomous Feathers – Instagram
- Venomous Feathers – Online Store
- Fergus NM – Instagram
- Fergus NM – 2020 Interview with The Aither
- Fergus NM – Review of Fergus’ 2020 zine ‘Seraphim Sighted Cherubim Delighted’ by Adam Symchuk