The Vacant Lot Team has become a welcomed addition to the ever-growing number of independent publishers out of Melbourne, hell bent on sharing this heavily documented artform through a number of print and stapled publications. Since setting up shop in mid-2014, the team have presented a number of sleekly self-designed, self-curated zines for a welcoming mass of graffiti worshipers. Battling through a number of recent name changes and growing pains, Vacant Lot has presented us with some great pieces for any hard earned archivist. For those keeping up to date, we have seen the crew-centric Disturb The Peace, a collection of sprayed hijinks featuring the exploits of 9 of Melbourne’s most active graffiti teams, plus the ongoing No Good series. Since it’s inception, the small publisher has also assisted in the release and distribution of other like-minded releases, from local photographers to already established print makers. Collectively, it’s been an impressive 2015 for Vacant Lot and this, the latest edition of their No Good Zine Series, shows that better things are on the horizon.
If you’ve read my reviews of Vacant Lot’s previously releases, you would know just how impressive the presentation skills these small run zines possess, with this release, being no different. 52-pages of pristinely printed, full colour pages are tightly wrapped in a hard card cover. The layout in simple and easy to navigate, with it’s feature article sitting packaged in the middle of it all. Having seen some of the pieces found in this edition in person, I can safely assume that the photos are an accurate representation of the real thing. As a submission based zine, it can be a difficult balancing act deciding just what ends up being in the finished product. The brain seesaws on a number of issues: Too much of this? Not enough of that? How many pages is this thing going to be again? But Vacant Lot manages to harmonise all of this into a tightly wound package, bursting at the seams with respect to the writers and their pieces. There’s a style party in the front, an exclusive photo feature from a travelling Melbourne legend and a stack of panels in the back, a trifecta of the best things graffiti has to offer: skills, exploration and the thrill of it all.
As an ongoing series, No Good has a lot to offer and one you should invest in, particularly at its low price. But more importantly, Melbourne graffiti fans should keep an eye out on this small publisher, as their no nonsense releases are only getting better the further we dig into its ongoing chapters.