When art and football magazine OOF first appeared back in 2017 I had two immediate, linked thoughts. First, the combination of art and football was compellingly niche. And second, how long could a magazine like that last?
Bringing together the two subjects was ideal for me—since I enjoy both—and also provided a case study of the surprises found in the indie mag world. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve mentioned OOF in talks about indie publishing. But would there enough material to continue filling OOF’s biannual issues?
With the arrival of issue nine we can now happily cast aside that doubt. OOF has established that there is plenty of material available at the intersection of art and football. As the Women’s Euros kick off, it’s our July Magazine of the Month.
The magazine’s visual identity is strong and simple, as this set of covers (issues 4,7,8 & 9) shows. The name is a strong one: ‘oof’ as in the sound of a ball being kicked, and also ‘OOF’ as in the Ed Ruscha painting, which the logo design mimics. The rest of each cover is just a canvas for the art, allowing for great, poster-like designs that work well even at the magazine’s diminutive 160x240mm page size.
The opening spread of the issue (above) echoes the cover, using the OOF type as an aperture for an image from later in the issue. There’s a simplicity to the design that perhaps appeared naive at first but has bedded in well: headlines in Gill, text in what looks like Avenir. Occasional colour, but mainly black and white, to let the art shine.
The cover of issue nine features a drawing by football fan and artist Ian Shrigley. He’s interviewed inside, talking about his mascot design for Scottish team Partick Thistle (above) and his love-hate relationship with the sport. The feature is an ideal entry point for the magazine: Shrigley has a fans’ understanding of the angst involved in watching matches as well as a clear sense of how football fits into his life and art.
I didn’t know Maria Lassnig’s paintings but really liked the series of footballers playing, presented alongside a profile of the Austrian artist. A clever mix of the real and unreal, they are cartoonish in colour yet express the movement and physicality of playing—check the facial expressions above.
Photography features too, with Émile-Samory Fofana’s series of iPhone shots showing how European football strips have become a fashion item in West Africa (above).
A curious thread running through this particular issue is the dislike of football, a confident theme for a magazine about the sport. This is most evident in the final feature of the issue, which tells the story of Ithell Colquhoun’s entry into a 1953 painting competition organised by the Football Association (above).
‘Game of the Year’ is an abstract painting that reflects Colquhoun’s apparent disinterest in football; as such the article is more about art and the artist than other stories in the issue. It’s this effortless knowledge across both poles —art and football—that makes OOF so impressive. It is not a football mag that nods to art, nor an art mag that nods to football, but instead really is the Art & Football magazine.
Editor Eddy Frankel
Designer Tim Clark