Verdant x Pavement Licker
Our latest project is an exciting collaboration with the world-renowned Pavement Licker ‘zine. It’s been documenting underground art for most of this century, it’s totally independent and exists purely to promote up and coming artists and writers to a wider audience. Saying that, they have an incredible list of alumni who have contributed to their pages over the years. We caught up with the guys behind the ‘zine to see what’s up.
So, Pavement Licker, I guess the first question is “who are you?”
Oh hi there, How’s it going? Well Pavement Licker is a ‘zine that’s been documenting underground art since 2003. It was founded by graphic artist James-Lee Duffy and writer Josh Jones with the idea that it would enable artists and writers to be published somewhere (this is before we had broadband in our houses — can you imagine such a time?). They were drinking in the Marquis of Granby on Rathbone Place, and Duffy mentioned he wanted to start this ‘zine. Josh thought it sounded good, poured a beer into his hat to save it for later and they got on with it.
You’ve been going for 17 years — who’s contributed to the ‘zine?
Bloody loads. Each time we do an issue we put a shout out on our social media (or on the OG street art website, The Wooster Collective, before we all had smart phones), and it’s been a genuine pleasure to see work from all over the world get sent in. We only have one rule for what goes into the issue and that’s that we both have to like the piece. We’ve had a few times that one of us has really wanted a piece to feature but it’s got vetoed. Abiding by that iron-clad rule has helped because it stops massive arguments. In terms of artists you may have heard of, we’ve been lucky enough to have had contributions over the years from well-known folk like Jimmy Cauty, Banksy, Pure Evil, Emmy The Great, Shepard Fairey, Jamie Hewlett, Kate Moross, Paul Insect and David Shrigley, alongside exciting newer names like Alex May Hughes, Patrick Morales-Lee, Chrysa Koukoura, Borderlines, Babak Ganjei, T.Wesley Snead, Fred Coppin, Emily Malice and more. We actually did a massive 568 page hard-backed book of the first 10 issues a couple of years ago and it was crazy seeing all this underground art from the past decade and a half. We felt very proud. That book sold out twice over but we’re thinking of doing another run of it.
Where did the Pavement Licker name come from?
Good question — this was entirely James’ idea. He reckons he was whistling Aphex Twin’s ‘Window Licker’ while looking at a pavement and it popped into his head. He might be the only person to whistle that song, it’s hardly ‘Sitting on the Dock Of The Bay’ is it?
So why make a beer?
We’ve always thought that Pavement Licker was a good name for a beer or a rum. Then in early 2020 before the world properly caught fire, our good friend Jim Wright (who does a lot of Verdant’s design work), introduced us to Adam who co-founded the brewery, on a barge bar by Paddington Station. Adam had a stinking hangover but he bought us lunch and a beer (thanks again, by the way) and we discussed a way of promoting our artists to a new but receptive audience. So we didn’t really make the beer — we wouldn’t even know where to start. The good folk (i.e. the experts) at Verdant did all the science and hopping.
How does the collaboration work?
So Verdant made the beer and we created the labels. There are 24 cans in a case so we figured we’d label each one with something different. Each can has one of our favourite Pavement Licker contributions on it. Just like Pokemon, you gotta catch them all… except you don’t need to go wandering around parks and the streets staring at your phone and celebrating when you find some pixels. You just need to go to the Verdant website or a good bottle shop and you’ll find a delicious beer with some art on it on an easy to reach shelf.
And there’s a ‘zine to collect too?
There is indeed. The limited edition zine features all the can label artworks and has a little biography of the artists so you can go discover their work, and follow them and hopefully buy their stuff so they can eat nicer food. The ‘zine was actually Adam from Verdant’s idea and to make it extra special, we and he, and Jim the designer did a very special collaboration cover. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Verdant — we’ve been allowed to swear and everything. The cover of the ‘zine is like nothing a booze brand we’ve ever worked with has let us do. Thanks Verdant!
We'd like to say thanks to James & Josh, we are equally as excited to release this project to the world. We have all been practising whistling along to Cornwall's very own Aphex Twin all week - it's much harder than you may imagine. As for the brewing, the beer is in the tank and will be packed and released on Wednesday 17th June.
The beer will be released in a 6 pack and a 12 pack with a copy of the Zine and is limited to 800 copies only via our web store. So you had better be quick on those buttons next week.