The word fanzine comes from the two words, “magazine” and “fan”. This is exactly what motivated Anders Nygård when he created one of Norway’s biggest arts fanzines. The idea behind the name, Faceless Artist, is according to Nygård related to the lack of visibility of artists in media, and the horror of being a no-name artist. We spoke to the creator of the contemporary art fanzine whom now launches its 11th edition at Whitechapel Gallery in London this month.
How did you come up with the idea of creating an arts fanzine?
I came across an avant-garde/noise music fanzine called Personal Best four or five years ago. It had some good interviews in it with some fascinating personalities. After reading it, I felt a strong connection to that obscure music scene. More, I think, than I did with the Norwegian arts scene at the time. That is where the idea for starting my own fanzine with artist interviews originated. I felt that the art scene could benefit from a publication like that. I have always loved reading interviews. Especially anything related to art, film or music.
This is the 11th edition of the fanzine (three to four editions published each year). Can you tell us a bit more about how it has developed since the start?
It started with me buying a dictaphone three years ago and then just diving into it. I had quite a strong sense of what I wanted to do from the get-go. I started with 40-minute long interviews recorded on my dictaphone. Later I started doing email interviews. The email correspondence would go on over a period from 1-2 months. Too intense for some artists. I also bought a b&w printer and produced the first four editions at home. The toner did not stick properly to the thick paper I used for cover so I had to iron each cover on both sides to lock the toner into the paper. I do produce my fanzines with professional machines now, so that is no longer a problem.
“I try to avoid too much talk about the art scene and other artists. The focus, I would say, is the artist and his or her work.”
Faceless Artist focuses on portraying artists based in Norway. How has it been working with them?
Fantastic! I love doing the interviews and digging deep into the different artists’ way of thinking. For me it’s a great way to learn and also get to know some great people. I am interested in the artistic process and what leads the artist to the final product. So I would say most of the conversation is about what happens in the studio. I try to avoid too much talk about the art scene and other artists. The focus, I would say, is the artist and his or her work. The fanzine culture for me represent something physical and tactile. That is at least part of the appeal. Artist books seem to have a better reputation than they had before. That they are taken more seriously within the art community
You are launching the 11th issue of the fanzine this month and presenting it at Whitechapel Gallery. How did the collaboration with them come about?
The Whitechapel Gallery have arranged London Art Book Fair for some years now and the Fair has a good reputation. I applied to be part of it this summer and was accepted.
In the newest edition you feature the conceptual artist and curator Josefine Lyche. How did you end up choosing her?
Back in 2015 when I started the fanzine, Josefine was running this gallery in Oslo called LYNX. I knew Josefine from when we went to the Art Academy together. So I asked her if I could have the launch of Faceless Artist no.1 at her gallery and she said yes. I had been talking to her about doing an interview with her since that first launch, but we just never got around to do it. Before now. Josefine have been a very active and succesful artist since we graduated the Academy. She is a conceptual artist that works with a wide array of colourful and sprakly materials. In this edition of Faceless Artist you can read the intense email correspondence between Josefine and me that was going on for a month and a half.
Do you have any plans for future work in the UK?
I do plan to find places in London that will promote my fanzine. Art book fairs are a great place to meet new people and get invitations to other events. Events like this usually include lots of socialising and beer drinking. It will be interesting to see what the future holds. I try to be a YES man going forward. Hopefully that will help me on my merry way!
Faceless Artist Edition no.11 will be launching at Whitechapel Gallery between 6th – 9th September. Read more here: