Toilet Paper is perhaps the most bizarre, shocking, and borderline-subversive publication I’ve ever picked up… And I love it. A bi-annual magazine, it’s the child of (super-talented) artist Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari. I highly recommend any self-respecting creative to pick one up, as my words can hardly do their work justice. It’s simply an experience you have to hold in your hands and observe with your own eyes. But that doesn’t mean I’m not stubborn enough to try (heh).
There’s no mistaking an issue of Toilet Paper for anything else on the shelf. One glance at their iconically brash covers and the brand will be forever be burnt into your brain. Their work has gone on to adorn everything from clothing to kitchenware (more on that later).
My first encounter with the mag was in NYC’s Strand Bookstore, when a friend pointed it out. I probably spent the next 20 minutes totally absorbed into each page and every piece of photography. For you see, Toilet Paper is strictly photography; page after page of beautiful full-page spreads. It’s simple in conception and execution, yet manages to somehow strike a balance between “completely fucked up” and tasteful.
Cattelan and Ferrari aren’t shy to push boundaries. “Every issue starts with a theme… Like love or greed,” says Cattelan. From there they explore a variety of outlets, eventually landing on a series of well-crafted and thought-out content. Cattelan elaborates, “we keep homing in on what a Toilet Paper image is. Like distilling a perfume. It’s not about one particular style or time frame; what makes them Toilet Paper is a special twist. An uncanny ambiguity.”
That’s the charm about the magazine, every picture has some sort of slant, places your brain would have never conceived of ever going before. It’s because of this that I stress Toilet Paper as an invaluable asset for any creative’s bookshelf. Browsing the pages is like exercise for your thoughts; you’ll begin to consider new ways of approach.
Whenever viewing Cattelan’s impressive body of work, I get the sense that he’s one step ahead, that he knows something that I don’t… I say this because Toilet Paper has been extremely successful from a pop culture standing. Their aesthetic is one that I come across often nowadays; Ferrari and Cattelan’s publication must’ve helped propel it (remember? Always a step ahead). It’s fresh, it’s edgy, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it wreaks of contemporary. Don’t agree? Then consider their collaborations with Paris based fashion label Kenzo, MSGM, or the various album covers they’ve designed.
Which brings me to their most recent project: kitchenware with Italian design firm Seletti. The collection looks fantastic, evoking times of yonder and bearing some of Toilet Paper’s most famous shots. Each piece won’t break the bank either, with prices ranging from $15-$25. Currently for sale in select Parisian shops, they set will be ready for worldwide distribution by late September. So keep your eyes open, which won’t be tough considering Toilet Paper’s off-beat images are hard to miss.