Travel back to the New York rave scene of the 90s with Colpa Press’ new publication

Designed and printed by Luca Antonucci and David Kasprzak, NY Rave Flyers 1990-1995 Volume 2 comprises the personal collection of flyers from British DJ DB Burkeman.

23 July 2020

Colpa Press is the collaborative art practice of Luca Antonucci and David Kasprzak, brought together in unity to work on projects spanning publishing, design, printing and curating. Founded by Luca and Carissa Potter in 2010, Colpa has since had works exhibited with SFMOMA at the FOG Design and Art Fair, as well as the NY Art Book Fair and The LA Art Book Fair, to name a few. From computer gaming to art books, what really caught our attention was the most recent publication of rave flyers, titled NY Rave Flyers 1990-1995 Volume 2 the sixth book in the series from the UK, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Adding to the collection over the last four years, it seemed like an inevitable turn for both Luca and David. Luca, for example, moved to San Francisco at the age of 13 in 1997 and “immediately took to the rave scene in the Bay Area and even DJ’d for a few years in high school,” he tells It’s Nice That. Shortly after graduating from San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) in 2010, he began working with Carissa and later launched Colpa. “I always made zines and got into printmaking at SFAI, but I fell in love with publishing after grad school,” he continues, noting how the medium fulfilled everything he sought out from the process of making art. “The community was strong, people would nerd out about their interests and you didn’t have to wait around for approval to have a show – it actually reminded me a lot of the rave scene.”

Not long after, Luca met David in 2014. Immediately drawn towards each other for their love of San Francisco and making books “that sort of replaced exhibitions”, the two met on common grounds for how they view books as a “primary vehicle for art”. As such, they wanted to tell their city’s story; “even if it was just through these very small slices of life, which led us to publish our first rave flyer book, San Francisco Rave Flyers 1991-1993,” he says. Clearly creating books for the love of the process, the two now spend their time split between working with visual artists and representing local history through cultural ephemera.

GalleryColpa Press: NY Rave Flyers 1990-1995 Volume 2

David and Luca are both artists themselves, so tend to approach every project with this perspective in mind; David fronts the design and Luca on the printing. Alongside their own publishing projects, they also design and print for clients which takes up a good half of the working day. “I print on a Risograph, which is a stencil duplicator that was actually used a lot back in the 90s to make posters and flyers, as well as on a digital press,” says Luca, “which I’m excited to say we just got our own one of, after years of printing at SFAI.”

As for NY Rave Flyers 1990-1995 Volume 2 specifically, this came about after meeting British DJ, DB Burkeman, who’d seen their previous books from the collection. Offering his own personal collection of flyers to publish, the duo jumped at the opportunity. “He sent us a bunch of flyers so we approached it, and the other rave flyer books, as an editing and sequencing project – really just trying to represent as many distinct styles as possible while identifying certain trends and motifs,” continues Luca, pointing out how DB is also a designer who even makes his own flyers. “So we really just wanted to tell his story graphically.”

An image that resonates most with Luca is the Bliss flyers, due to the fact that they represent a photocopied look that echoes a certain nostalgia for punk rock flyer design mixed in with the aesthetics of the rave scene. “And then the die-cut of the pill really just drives it over the top!” Otherwise, it’s the Brilliant detergent boxes that “really do it” for Luca: “I love it when you can see a confluence of desktop publishing, which was just taking off at the time and the sort of handset flyer/poster design which had been around for decades.”

Rather than trying to piece together the rave scene narrative from an entire city, their goal here is to tell the story from one raver’s perspective. This is because the broader narrative is “varied” and each of these variations is “special and unique”. Luca concludes: “We are just looking at flyers that someone kept from the parties they went to or spun at, or that they designed. I think that is the link between the books: personal experience. The flyers tell a different story, a visual story.”

GalleryColpa Press: NY Rave Flyers 1990-1995 Volume 2

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About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she was interim online editor in 2022/2023 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima. 

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