First Blood, Part III - March 2005 (with Todd Bratrud, Mike Davis, and Sky Rossi)
Set of 4 handmade and handbound books showcasing artwork by Todd Bratrud, Mike Davis, Sky Rossi, and Aaron Horkey.
Packaged in a gocco printed slipcase, each book includes text and images, screen-printed works, stickers, Polaroids/photos, drawings and other hand made elements.
Hand assembled by Letta Christianson for Burlesque of North America, 5 March, 2005. Signed and numbered out of 35.
Horkey’s and Bratrud’s books were later re-issued as “Magpies and Other Vulgarities”, bound together with a ribbon and featuring a new cover and a little colophon between the two books.
While the set contains work from 4 separate artists, my photos focus on Aaron’s contribution. If anyone starts OMG Bratrud, I’m happy to send you some pictures. Aaron’s book reproduces select ink drawings from 2003 and 2004 - Hot Cross, Andrew Bird, Converge, Sunn O))), and many others. In total, the book has ~22 pages of illustrations with several that fold out to capture large prints. From the cover page (last image), you can see that Aaron’s book is titled “Teratornis”. One last bit of trivia, the ring of flies from the cover page actually makes a reappearance on 2013’s Old Town Ghosts album. It was actually printed onto the vinyl.
The Fellowship of Tim Collection
It’s a great honor to present this guest post from Tim Smith, showcasing some of Aaron’s earliest work. Huge thanks to Tim for taking the time to share his recollections and amazing collection.
Who Are You?
My name is Tim and I am from Windom, Minnesota. I was the editor of Sea of Seed fanzine from 2000-2004 and Fellowship of Tim from 2004-2011. Both projects were lucky to have contributions and cover artwork from illustrator Aaron Horkey. I sold Horkey merch at art shows in 2003 and my art collection includes some rare, OG, and one of a kind items.
Some members of the the EB Art Guide community have asked me for any memories about those early Horkey art shows and the stories behind any artwork or images that come from that time. The following is a response to that request. My intention here is to eulogize my collection publicly and provide background on those 1999-2004 years for inquiring minds. This is all from my own experience and the pieces of history I acquired during those times.
I met Aaron Horkey skateboarding in Windom in 1999. I was mail ordering a lot of different punk and hardcore records at the time, and I came to find out that Horkey had been doing the same for many years, but was on a whole other level in varied tastes and interests. Some mutual friends played in a few different punk rock bands which eventually led to road trips from Windom to Mankato and Sioux Falls to go see shows. I went to college that fall.
In the winter of 2000 I received an ornate package from Horkey which contained the Mangina Steve’s Bayou cassette and a ton of stickers and cool images and some copies of Life Sucks Die Magazine. That summer back from college, Aaron and I traveled to some music fests and a handful of indie rock shows in the region. Since music and record collecting dominated my imagination, late that summer I told him I made a fanzine that emphasized a rural midwestern perspective and I gave him a draft copy and asked if he would draw a cover for it. I was blown away by the cover art for Sea of Seed #1. When he asked how many to make, I said 50 since it was my first zine and I thought that would last me forever. They were pretty much gone in a month. The cover was blank yellow cardstock with a die- cut rectangle that featured the Sea of Seed title, upon opening the cover it revealed the Grain Silo landscape with clouds and corn rows in the foreground. Aaron created the covers himself and the printing and assembly was done by yours truly.
I went back to college. That summer I traveled with Horkey to more music fests and hardcore shows and went to work on Sea of Seed #2 which featured blue cardstock covers and the first Gooco Print by Black Osprey Studios with gold metallic ink for the Sea of Seed logo with the “woodtick” and “red clover” image. I think 150 were made.
Sea of Seed #2 contained an early ad for 420X10 Records.
Below is the master for a quarter sized zine released 10-31-2001 in Sioux Falls during a final hardcore show for the band Spirit of Versailles. The bands Caligari, Exam, and several locals also played the Halloween show. I made 50 of these 4.25x5.5 zines and they were free at the show. The covers were orange cardstock with this master image below photocopied on the front, solid black.
2002 was a really heavy year. I had some legal troubles and moved into a dumpy downtown Windom apartment. The Windom Police Department declared an all out war against Meth and there were a ton of drug arrests and surveillance operations in Cottonwood County. I was physically, mentally, and spiritually sick from excessive drinking. On top of all that, I took my Life Sucks Die #8 Cover Poster illustrated by Horkey to the Frame Shop below my apartment to be framed and the next day the police raided the shop because the owners were selling Meth out of the business. Honestly, you can’t make this shit up people. It gets better. The junkie woman who was arrested on felony drug charges attempted to frame my LSD Poster the next week and totally ruined it and she called up Aaron distraught and asked for a replacement so that she could finish the job. Meanwhile I was caught on surveillance going into the frame shop the day before the drug bust so the police thought I was buying meth when I was just trying to get my damn poster framed. Some snitch tried to set me up on a drug sting the following month and I started to hang with some crazy hick neighbors and talk like Charles Bukowski. Suffice to say that in 2002 there was no Sea of Seed zine. I did manage to go to some hardcore shows that year which produced the piece below by Horkey. This ‘untitled’ bone sums up 2002 for me. To my knowledge there is no other piece like it.
'untitled' A. Horkey – year. 2002 collected, 2003 signed
The piece below was collected by Aaron Horkey in 2002 at a Forstella Ford, Mahkato, The Assistant, Showering Ashes hardcore show at a farm near Mankato Minnesota promoted by Init Records. The artist collected the object in the adjacent grove to the barn during a lineup change. It was about 95 degrees and extremely muggy weather and the mosquitoes were biting like crazy. Punk Rock. It was a real miserable night until Mahkato and Forstella Ford played in the late evening. After the show Aaron took this bone from some animal carcass and placed it on my dashboard and there it stayed for almost a year. I asked him to sign it on a later road trip to some other obscure hardcore show of which I do not remember in 2003.
This year brought about the creation of Sea of Seed #3, with a Gooco printed cover by Aaron on Black Cardstock, 100 copies.
Sea of Seed #3 featured this early ad for the Narwhal Art Show.
MASS ART Beantown Zinetown - Boston MA March 29th, 2003
This Merch Price Sheet below is from the 2003 Zine Convention at Mass Art in Boston. Sea of Seed #3 was released and I kept getting the stink eye from angry feminist for selling copies of LSD #5 that Wes gave me.
Narwhal - Windom MN July 13, 2003
I worked the merch for this show and it was a big crowd of art fans from Minneapolis and Mankato. I remember some of our friends from Mankato showed up and they were on mushrooms and could barely hold it together which was very funny to me. I was busy selling T-Shirts, Posters, Buttons, and Stickers. I think it was the biggest art show opening the Remick Gallery had ever seen up to that time, including the gallery opening for the late Robert Remick. On a side note, I curated the entire Robert Remick art collection at the Cottonwood County Historical Society as an intern from 1998-1999 under the museum director Linda Sanders.
After the Narwhal show I hosted an after party at the Phat Pheasant Pub, Windom’s premier bar and supper club where people had drinks, played pool, and Mike 2600 got down on the turntables. The next month Shingo from Megafauna came to Windom on the Greyhound Bus. After spending the day in the gallery and meeting Aaron, I gave Shingo and his special lady friend a ride back to Minneapolis because there is no return bus until the next day.
Badmans Art Show - Mankato MN October 24, 2003
This show featured the work of George Thompson, Pete Hodapp, and Aaron Horkey. The flyer says it all. I sold merch in the corner while Jawbreaker’s 24-hour Revenge Therapy play constantly through the whole night and the show was populated by a lot of the Mankato skateboard scene and local artists and friends. It was cold for a late October night.
Hot Cross / Lickgoldensky - Sioux Falls SD April 24, 2004
Aaron and I sold posters for this show. As you can see by the merch tick sheet, they were not in as high demand as they are now. Let this be a lesson for us all.
2004 - Sea of Seed #4
2004 - Fellowship of Tim
I started writing the Fellowship of Tim (FOT) in 2004 after getting sober. It was intentional and therapeutic. Aaron designed the cover logo for the 20th issue compilation. That summer I made issue 21 which featured pieces about skateboarding and hardcore shows. Several more issues followed until 2011.
What is your favorite Horkey memory?
Back in 2002 a traveling fundamentalist end of times preacher came to Windom and his church mailed out all of these really gnarly flyers talking about the apocalypse. I told Aaron I was going one night when I was half in the bag. So the next thing you know me, Aaron, and Bruce are en route to the Windom Area High School lecture hall for a full 2 1/2 hours of preaching by this southern preacher in a seersucker suit. He was kind of reminiscent of that preacher in the show Carnivàle except fatter, older, and from the south. Bruce and I both brought Bibles and we were fact checking the guy on his quotations and Aaron was just writhing in agony towards the end. We just couldn’t leave, it was very weird. They passed the hat a few times so they could raise money to build some giant megachurch down south where they prophesied the second coming would occur
Why are you doing this?
Recently, I was reading Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Culture and Value and found myself marveling at the following paragraph; “Engelmann told me that when he rummages round at home in a drawer full of his own manuscripts, they strike him as so glorious that he thinks they would be worth presenting to other people. (He said it’s the same when he is reading through letters from his dead relations.) But when he imagines a selection of them published he said the whole business loses its charm & value & becomes impossible…”
This text compelled me to rummage through my personal belongings and I made the decision to sell all of my remaining fanzines and make my collection of Aaron Horkey artwork available for purchase to the collector community.
Any last words?
I am eternally grateful to the Horkey family for the friendship and support over the years. Four years ago I returned most all of my collection to Aaron when I went back to school to study philosophy after receiving an academic scholarship. Aaron sold a few prints he had given me which helped finance part of my living expenses so I could read Aristotle for three years and write a thesis on Aristotle’s Ethics and Addiction. I am continuing my graduate education so my selling of the zines, art showcards, flyers, and OG masters is the next phase of development in my quest for eudaimonia.
Life is Short, Death is Certain, Eternity is Forever.
Fellowship of Tim #25 - Spring 2011
Part of the long-running “Fellowship of Tim” zine that Aaron contributed to over the years, this issue features Aaron’s logo work on both the front and back. Further details are shrouded in mystery and the Fellowship of Tim site seems to be offline for me. As of this posting though, a few copies have popped up on eBay for a very reasonable price. I wouldn’t hesitate if you’d like one.
While it’s nearly impossible to track down some of Aaron’s older skate decks, some of the stickers are bit easier to come by. Shown above are stickers for Santa Cruz, Flip, Spitfire, and Consolidated. One note on the last stickers - I’m not sure if it’s authentic. The design is Aaron’s but I haven’t seen any other copies of this one floating around.
Sacred Hoop - Minneapolis 2001
Information on this is pretty scarce, but it’s the oldest Horkey print in my collection (printed in 2001!). The main image is from Aaron’s painting for Sacred Hoop’s Sleep Over album, and it looks like Wes added some elements as well according to the text in the lower right hand corner. My copy is pretty beat up, but it somehow seems appropriate for such a rarity.
Eater of Dust - July 2013
From Mega Fauna:
18” x 18.5”
5 color screenprint (including 1 metallic) on Lettra Pearl White 110lb 100% cotton stock.
Regular edition of 220 with 18 APs
Variant edition of 100 with 12 APs
Printed by Ben Lafond at BRLSQ, July 2013
After its debut as the cover illustration on Old Towne Ghost’s 12” EP, Aaron released “Eater of Dust” as a pair of art prints. The regular edition is in blue, while the variant is in grey. Both feature a beautiful embossed Black Osprey seal, and are printed on high quality cotton paper. While not shown here, there is also an extremely rare “scarlet edition” of the print. Aaron hand-painted a unique moth on each copy of the scarlet edition. Be sure to check out the Mega Fauna post for photos of each mini painting.
Graveyard - Minneapolis 2013 / The Siren - February 2013
Via OMG Posters!:
If you’re around Minneapolis this Wednesday, you’ll want to head over to the Triple Rock Social Club to see Graveyard and buy this amazing new poster by Aaron Horkey (though not sure how many will be for sale). It’s a 20.5″ x 39″ screenprint with metallic inks. More information on the poster, and on “The Siren” (art print version), will follow (including online sale info). For now, enjoy!
Aaron’s full mastery was on display with this pair of prints released early last year. From the shadow falling across the floor, to the scales of the snake, to the incredible illustration on the bottles, every detail is painstakingly and perfectly illustrated. The lighter print on white paper is the gig poster version for the show, while the darker print on steel grey is the art print - entitled “The Siren”. Besides the paper and ink colors, the prints feature different bottles - the event details on the gig poster, and one of Aaron’s signature helmeted birds on the art print. The art print bottle also contains the text “Jag är född till ändlös natt” as an additional nod to Graveyard. Translated from Swedish, it reads “I was born to endless night”.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - December 2013
From Mega Fauna:
Regular edition of 487 pieces with 18 APs
14 screens /17 colors (including 2 metallics) on French Construction Whitewash 100#C stock
39” x 19.25”
Variant edition of 233 pieces with 12 APs
7 screens/9 colors (including 3 metallics) on French Speckletone Chocolate 100#C stock
39” x 19.25”
Printed in Minneapolis, MN by Ben Lafond, December 2013
Aaron closed out 2013 in style, teaming up with Mondo to release another print in the Lord of the Rings series. Be sure to check out Mondo’s blog post for some great images. The Two Towers is a perfect companion to Aaron’s Return of the King from 2012 - echoing the layout and lettering of the earlier release. For me, the variant edition on the brown paper is the real standout - the amount of gold metallic ink on it is astonishing to behold.