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Gary Card: Happy Breakfast

Work / Publication

Set designer Gary Card’s monstrous new zine

When we last spoke to fashion’s most prolific set designer and chameleon creative Gary Card, the masking tape sculptor, illustrator and all round artist had his sights set on a rotating roster of projects including sets for FKA twigs and Marta Jakubowski, and a personal project which found him making an a hundred-strong army of twerking figures. Now, Gary’s ever-evolving vision twists into the shape of a zine.

Printed to A5, what Happy Breakfast lacks in size, it makes up for in colour: Gary’s part in the mid-‘00s new rave scene is splashed across 22 pages in gungey greens, ink stain blues and near-neon yellows to stage the dripping backdrop to a nightmarish collaged cast of Gary’s signature monsters.

“I guess Happy Breakfast was about freeing myself of the constraints of the ‘less is more’ sensibilities that we work with every day, embracing a style that I thought I’d left behind many years ago and creating something I truly love — colourful chaos, full of life and unlimited potential,” Gary tells It’s Nice That. The zine’s OTT aesthetic may come a shock to those au fait with Gary’s pared back set design for Roksanda or east London concept store LN-CC, but he’s keen to point out that with the zine, “I never set out to create something consciously ‘bad taste’, I just feel it’s a step away from the ‘taste’ constraints I work with every day as a set designer for the fashion industry.”

Originally conceived as a commission for Japanese publication Them magazine, Happy Breakfast was turned into a zine “in its own right” by Katie Bagley and Ferry Gouw’s nascent small book and zine publishing project New World International. “I love zines, I was obsessed with them as a kid: the temporary nature of them is exciting,” Gary explains. “For me though, the goal is to make something more permanent. I feel that a book is grander and so much more ambitious. The first zine was an experiment to see if there was an audience for such a project. Now we’ve discovered our audience, I’m excited to see if they would be receptive to it in book form, but it will take a couple more zine volumes to work out. The most exciting thing about it at this stage is that it’s all wide open.”

So what can we expect from future issues? “I recently had a silly idea that each volume would be a different meal with a different feeling, like ‘morose brunch’ or something but I’m sticking with Happy Breakfast as I just love how it sounds: I love the quaint optimism of it. The next volume is going to follow the last in style and technique, developing those ideas and expanding them, now I’ve established an aesthetic with the first one I’m interested to see where it goes and if I’ve made unconscious rules that I’ll adhere to, or if it will just be a creative free for all.”

For now though, Gary is catch up working with an “amazing toy company” on designs for a series of toys based on the acid trip cast lurking in the pages of Happy Breakfast. “I pitched some ideas and we’re working on some designs,” he says. “I can’t say too much but think abstract collage clowns, slightly Paul McCarthy, slightly Toxic Crusaders, cute and unnerving cartoon mutants.”

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Gary Card: Happy Breakfast

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Gary Card: Happy Breakfast

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Gary Card: Happy Breakfast

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Gary Card: Happy Breakfast

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Gary Card: Happy Breakfast

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Gary Card: Happy Breakfast

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Gary Card: Happy Breakfast

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Gary Card: Happy Breakfast

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Gary Card: Happy Breakfast