A true accomplishment to any publisher is to make it to print. Take one editorial vision, no matter how subversive or niche the subject matter, and scratch out the cloud of advertisements, that’s the basic formula for people doing it themselves in the indie pub market. Every week, Mass Appeal spotlights the ambitious spirit of zines. Artist Cleofus is first up this fall with the second edition of Polito Vega. His print series has the bold and beautifully colored layout of a collection of fine art. Since many of the illustrations are of characters like Kurt Cobain (issue 1) or “Comic Book Guy” from The Simpsons wearing vintage Ralph Lauren Polo, the collection of images is a dream catalog for fans of the house that Ralphie Lipschitz built. Earlier this year, when his first issue dropped, Polito Vega sold out on Paypal. You can buy the new issue now for $12 which includes a collectable Mr. Magoo pin and a couple of stickers for your enjoyment. Peep a few words from Cleofus below.
Mass Appeal: Tell us a little about yourself as a publisher-slash-designer.
I’m originally a painter. Recently I’ve gotten into illustration and graphic design from working with Oscar Sanchez on 1992 flyers since 2006. This is my second Polito Vega zine. The first zine I sold on my website TimothyHemingway.com and Opening Ceremony. As of now the second zine is sold in Reed Space and my website.
What was the inspiration for creating Polito Vega?
Polito Vega was inspired by the various different characters I’ve met collecting Polo which remind me of the cartoons depicted. Some of the illustrations are a play on words from the actual piece like the Suicide Cobain from Polito Vega 1 which is Kurt Cobain wearing a Suicide sweater.
Are there themes for each issue?
The ongoing theme in each issue is Vintage Polo and the people around it.
What’s the meaning of the title?
Polito Vega is a radio personality on Spanish radio, nothing to do with zine, [I] just liked the name and its relation to the word Polo.
Is there a connection between the visuals seen on the Cleofus Tumblr and the zine?
No connection really. The Tumblr was a place for me to profile my line drawings as a personal reference and for all to see with some illustrations sprinkled in.
Why such bright colors?
I wanted something to compliment the characters and the colorful pieces they are wearing.
Out of your Polo Ralph Lauren collection, what’s your Holy Grail piece?
[I've] been into Polo since the late ’90s. My Holy Grail piece in my collection is a tie between my “Suicide” crewneck or my Wool Crest sweater.
Who are the people on the stickers?
The stickers have been something I did on both zines. On Polito Vega 2 Pab-Lo Escobar was depicted wearing a barbershop crest. It was inspired by my Colombian roots and the recent attention he’s been getting from his novela. Courtney-Lo was a continuation piece for my Suicide Cobain sticker. Courtney is depicted wearing a Ski turtleneck that relates to her past drug use and the slang term “going skiing.” [Laughs]
Which of your friends/associates would you cast in What’s New Mr. Magoo?
Have you seen mine dipped in LO? Oscar Sanchez isn’t quite NEW but a very influential character in my life and NYC. Oscar is a jack of all trades and does them all well. Whether it’s Art Director, Graphic Designer, Crowd Motivator, 1992 Mastermind, Stylist—all around Fly guy. Plus a lot of kids stole their whole kits from him.