The flyers of ‘Missives’ zine are innately ephemeral, but endure



Art zine, Andrew James McKay, 32 pgs,, free

Like pretty much everyone who moved to Toronto, it wasn’t long after arriving that I noticed the flyers. “WHAT I LEARNED FROM LSD,” the acronym rendered in a massive Arial Black, next to a series of hot pink print-outs shouting “HOT MALE MODELS NEEDED” with similar boldness. They were, I was quick to learn, the work of Reg Hartt, the eccentric film buff, flyering entrepeneur and last remaining flagbearer for the legendary Rochdale College. Hartt runs a semi-legal cinema in his Toronto living room, the experience of which is impossible to describe here. The point is, behind the oddball flyer that catches one’s eye is a world, an invitation, and a choice for whosoever notices it (and, as Hartt once told me in a failed interview, “the right people notice them.”)

The allure of this ever-resilient yet innately ephemeral medium is the subject of Missives, a zine produced as a catalog for a gallery show of the same name at Masters Gallery Ltd. in Calgary, Alberta. A dense and somewhat theoretical introductory essay by McKay is opaque at first, but ultimately makes a case for whimsy and mystery when paying attention to these man-made roses. Each page depicts a flyer in its national habitat, presumably all from real life. They each and all begin to spin off into vibrant speculation in one’s head, despite being grayscale close-ups by the artist full of busy hatching and motion but without much other context. Spend some time with this one.