The Lines Are Drawn: Marco Land

Fin Murphy

Seeking out illustrators worldwide who release their work in books and zines is what this feature’s all about, and today our focus is on Mr. Marco Land.

Land - Bonn-born, currently in New York - pursues his creativity through a variety of mediums, whether it’s mixing typography and sound design in his Audatype Experiment or the photocopier-exploiting Abriss Sketchbook. He caught our attention with his recent zine Blutungen, the fruits of collaboration with friend Tim Dönges as they hung out in Berlin. Using leftover sketchbook paper and marker pens, the duo explored the possibilities of bleedings- the English translation of ‘blutungen’ – through imagery ranging from pop culture references to patterns.

Limited to 15 copies, it speaks to the fleeting, experimental capabilities of zine-making. We spoke to Marco about pursuing creativity in a variety of formats, the consistent influences in his work and what he has planned for the future.

Hi Marco. Where are you from, where are you based and what’re you working on at the minute?
I was raised in Bonn but I consider Berlin my home. I moved there in 2011 to study graphic design. Right now I’m living in New York City and I’m working at a studio that handles publications and identity for art and architecture. 

Image courtesy of Marco Land

Your portfolio spans design, whether it’s sound, typographic, illustration; what do you consider yourself to be primarily? Do you prize any aspect above the other?
For me, it’s all about the concept and idea. I don’t like to put myself in a box as a designer and focus on one thing only. As long as there’s a strong idea, I’m willing to push it through to the end, no matter the medium. But I have to say that trash and kitsch are really important to me and I try to incorporate even a small element of anti-style in everything I do.

Walk us through the background of Blutungen. Over what span of time did the project take to complete? How did Tim Dönges contribute?
Tim is a good friend friend from Bonn and he visited me in Berlin last spring. We’re always hanging out, brainstorming and drinking beer and we decided we wanted to do something with the pages left over after sketching. I actually wouldn’t even call it brainstorming because everything was very natural. We just wanted to come up with something we could take to print the next day and so Blutungen was born. It’s the German word for “bleedings”. The pages are made of the papers underneath our sketches where the ink had bled through. Essentially, we did it overnight.

Quite a lot of your work implements technology; what was it like returning to really basic materials?
I don’t want to be restricted to one thing and not everything needs to be complicated. Even basic materials can be used to create good content. It feels like playing. 

Image courtesy of Marco Land

What would you say you took away from this endeavor?
Making books is a sort of therapy. It’s fun. I can make a lot. I like giving them to friends. It’s about hanging out.

You’ve utilised zine-making for a few projects. How is the medium unique in what it allows you to achieve creatively?
It’s always nice to have something physical you can hold in your hand. With zines the end result is much more personal.

Finally, how do you tell when a piece is finished?
When I feel satisfied I know it’s finished. What’s nice about zines with strong ideas is that they can always be expanded upon in the future. My newest personal project is something I’ve explored through taking pictures of removed graffiti. That’s coming soon.

Anyone you’d like to shout out?
I’ll be back in Berlin this July. Shout out to Deniz, Timbo, Lilly, Matti and of course Tim Donges. And all my friends in New York, especially Anthony, and my girlfriend Cristina.

Follow Marco on Tumblr and Instagram!



Unconventional by Tradition

Discover how urban creatives helped us design our new packaging.

Read more