PRINT Summer 2014

Nick Zedd

Page from Nick Zedd, Shaolin Comix, no. 2 (1992).

I MADE SHAOLIN COMIX in New York during the ’90s with no money, using a ballpoint pen on paper, handing out copies to friends. They were based on the life of a friend named Shaolin, who designed clothes for Peruvian Connection. She would spend hours sitting on the floor of a tiny one-bedroom apartment drawing hundreds of intricately patterned outfits for her boss, who would then remove any trace of originality in order to market knockoffs to people in the suburbs with no taste.

Shaolin had an inferiority complex but was generous with money and paid for limo rides and restaurants, feeding an entourage of hipsters and aspiring rock stars. She let the saddest creatures move in with her, and they’d suck money out of her in delusional, narcissistic exercises of drug-induced decadence. They made great targets for satire, though, so I exposed and exaggerated their hypocrisy with joy. This record of Shaolin’s comical misfortunes offers a more truthful portrayal of life in the bars, clubs, and cheap apartments of the early 1990s than do the polite memories and airbrushed reminiscences that some cling to today.

I made these comics with no illusions, only a compulsion to shine a light on that moment in time, a decaying counterculture that those in power were systematically trying to wipe out.

Nick Zedd is an artist based in Mexico City.