Magazines are a cornerstone of any local and international graffiti scene.
Independently published and distributed, these thin lined collection of stapled pages are more affordable to produce then most books, while usually granted a longer lifespan then the cheaper alternative, the zine. With the currant state of printed matter dying by the day, seeing a newly printed stack, hot of the presses, still sends my hard earned dollars straight to the source, showing that there is still light, creeping through this hollowing tunnel. Akin to the vinyl record resurgence, the physical attachment of these releases ensures it’s value and staying power for many years to come. Melbourne alone has had it’s share of magazines standing the test of time, such as Hype and Death From Above. But we are now in a time where technology and access to larger scale printers are a lot easier then those the proceeded it. Because of this, we have seen of influx in printed material from the local graffiti scene, with releases like: Don’t Sleep, Street Struck and mountain of zines following suit. Among the influx, offering a more raw and strictly local approach to the resurrected format, Crunch Time appeared on the scene sometime in late 2012. Opening proceedings with features on Sens, Jetso, Pzor and Clive automatically put the publication in another field, one void of the technical artistry the more approachable side of graffiti holds, instead focusing on those who set out to put all their strengths into writing with speed and overall efficiency. Suitably named, the series has gone on to be a hot commodity over the years, hosting spreads with the likes of: Greco, The PAA Crew, Saipen, Scarface, Binge, Sleaze and many, many more. These names are integrally associated with the past, present and future of Melbourne graffiti, but for many reasons, rarely provided the well deserved spotlight. Having released sporadically over the passed 4 years, the team at Crunch Time capped the series off with their latest edition, sold strictly through online retailer: Mind Head. A fitting example of the trademark style associated with it’s previous releases, issue 6 secures the publications importance to the local scene for years to come, highlighting some of the cities best examples of graffiti and vandalism for those looking for it.
During it’s 6 volumes, it is clear that this magazine simply isn’t for everybody. Even the most hardened of graffiti fans might flip through, cover to cover, never intending on pursuing it any further. That’s not to say it’s contents are lackluster, but instead a more focused rendition of what is being show across Melbourne’s diverse streets, that may not reach everyones preferences. There is a definite theme across all the issues, a note of style shared across a number of Melbourne’s night lurkers, mixed between the traditional and (again) those who paint like somebody is watching. For the bombing quota, thick bold letters are matched with export style outlines and deep 3D finishes, it’s a style of work honed by those who paint to get up. For the piecing examples, much of the same, but executed with extreme precision, along with unmatched style and simplistically clean colour palettes. Whether it’s on trains, walls, bridges, awnings, bins, trucks, fences, billboards, anything that will let paint stick to its target. And while I enjoy the meticulous piecing from some of this cities finest writers, I will never tire of the relentless attitudes, displayed by those who give more by (seemingly) doing less. This part of the visual ethos, is current through each issue of Crunch Time, one not commonly used across a number of other publications and it’s the reason why I have bought every issue since number 1. Coming from experience, it is impossible to cover the entire spectrum of graffiti in one city alone, so if anything, this outgoing series has done it’s best to display an alternative to Melbourne and beyond. But throughout it’s short lifespan, Crunch Time has also shown great diversity and connections found in piecing, bombing and the collective idea of getting up in general, as clean cut legends such as Click, Ulcer and Frits sit pages away from the rawness of Jetso, Nokier and Smel. I’ve yet to find another run of recent magazines willing to show this selection of variety between it’s covers and it’s why I will hold each issue with care for years to come. Running this website for the last 5 years, I have become a self proclaimed archivalist, not only with the images I take across this city, but with pieces. along with the many other zines, magazines, DVDs, prints and everything else that makes it worth going on and on. Crunch Time have decided that their time is up, but I believe it’s influence and interest will last for many years to come.
Congratulations and thanks to the team at Crunch Time, for this excellent series over the passed 4 years. When it comes to graffiti, magazines and books will always defeat the infinity of the online space, as it is a definitive stamp on a particular point in time of culture that never slows down. If you would like to get a copy of the final issue (and a couple of the older ones) head over to the link below, don’t be hasty as once these are gone, they are well and truly done.