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Ted Feighan, Valley Cruise Press (Los Angeles):
The Valley was a Place We Could Smoke Blunts and Be Creative

Visit exhibitor Valley Cruise Press at the Vancouver Art/Book Fair, October 4 and 5 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

by Chelsea Rooney

Valley Cruise. The name conjures up estival images and verdant views. Washes over you a stain of indolence and laze. Smell the hot pavement. Let’s go for a cruise through the valley. Feel the sun burn your forearm as it rests on the windowsill of the car.

It sounds Angelino, and though the co-founder of Valley Cruise Press, artist Ted Feigan, now resides in Los Angeles, the name—and the press—were in fact conceived by him and artist Ally Quandt in Cleveland, Ohio. On a summer day in 2013. In a location where all creatives (outside temperance) have been coming up with hip and energetic ideas for generations: the patio of a bar in the summertime. Drink in the day.

The name was both conceived in and inspired by Cleveland. The valley of Valley Cruise Press refers to a lush forest where Feighan and Quandt spent the days of their youth. A string of Metroparks hugs the Rocky River whose mouth opens into Lake Erie. Like most Midwest cities built for production, Cleveland bore—bears—the brunt of deindustrialization and recession. “In a rust belt city like Cleveland, often times kids are in a position where they have to create their own inspiration and experiences because there aren’t a lot of places providing those opportunities.”

And deep in Cleveland’s preserved Emerald Necklace river valley, Feighan and Quandt found the natural hideaway they needed. “The Valley was a place where kids like us could go when we were growing up and smoke blunts and go spray painting or find a place to get together and be creative. It represents the motivation that we both have to make something that is completely our own, which is part of the mentality that encouraged us to create our own label.”

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In addition to publishing artist books, Valley Cruise Press also produces its own zine. Feighan and Quandt released the first issue of TFAQ in January 2014. The twenty-eight full-colour pages are truly stunning. Feighan’s ecstatic collage art cloisters together unlikely seatmates in impossible and surprising settings. Quandt’s dope skater-pop drawings offer instruction from perhaps the anti-Jenny Holzer: COLLECT BONES IN THE WOODS. BUY COKE OFF OF HELL’S ANGELS. SPRINKLE DMT IN YOUR BLUNTS.

We can’t always count on visual art to translate over the internet. However, to peruse the Valley Cruise catalogue and its diverse list of artists is exhilarating and refreshing. A reminder: art can make you laugh. Art can tickle. “Ally and I have pretty different taste for the most part,” says Feighan, “but we do overlap on a lot of stuff. We are constantly sharing work from different artists with each other and when we are both into an artist we try to work with them. I think our separate interests help to make the works we publish different and unique to us.”

It’s clear that while Feighan and Quandt’s personal taste may differ, they happily meet on a few fronts: colour, movement and play.

Images: Collage art by Ted Feighan, Drawing by Ally Quandt