They started it… and we'll finish it (Signed by both)

Richard Prince,They started it… and we'll finish it (Signed by both)

Richard Prince
They started it… and we'll finish it (Signed by both)

Photographs: Richard Prince, Sebastian Zach

Publisher: Innen

20 pages

Pictures: 29

Year: 2015

Price: 250

Comments: Saddle-Stitch Sofcover Binding, 13 by 19 cm, Zine, Black and White photocopy, edition of 200 Numbered. Signed by Richard Prince and Sebastian Zach.

Filmmaker Zach Sebastian and art provocateur Richard Prince have teamed up in a collision of motorcycles, American spirit and anxiety, for new zine They started it… and we’ll finish it. Published by Innen Zines, Sebastian initially approached Prince over email with a handful of photos and a pitch and quickly got the ‘thumbs up’. With images reappropriated from an unreleased film that Sebastian made about a community of Americans in Dayton Ill (south of Chicago) who believe that Japanese people are buying up their country and want to fight back. “I’d been sitting on these photos I took, they came from a documentary I shot about a small rural community that believes the ‘Japs’ are buying America. So to show them who's boss they organise a huge party where they set fire and destroy a large amount of Japanese cars and motorcycle. When I took the photos I was thinking about my own views of America. The fantasy, the clichés and the true character and spirit of the place.”

“Regardless of what you think or feel about these images or people, whether it’s ironic, stupid, scary, cliché, sexy, nostalgic, crazy, whatever, just know they’re out there fighting the system the only way they know how” – Zach Sebastian
Prince liked the idea of recycled imagery and found memories and curated the pictures that Sebastian should use. He remembers, “Zach sent me these weird shaky prints, rambling about WWF, monster trucks and looking at dirty magazines as a boy. I thought our work would work together, so why not?” To create the images, Sebastian says he photographed VHS frames on the TV from the footage, lending them a warped and disturbed feel. The title itself is another nod to America’s history and its relationship with the Japanese. “‘They started it… and we’ll finish it’ is an old World War II saying – ‘Smoke em’ if you got em’. Old classic one-liners that sum up how Americans feel to this day about a lot of complex issues. It started at Pearl Harbor and ended in Nagasaki ‘You started it, we’ll finish it’. Like ‘you pussies couldn’t finish the job so we’ll show you how it’s done’,” explains Sebastian, with Prince adding, “The title fits perfectly – it’s very loaded.”

With the images peppered with quotes like “We destroy foreign cars because we want to show them. Americans don’t back down” and “People will always push them out. That’s our community. We all help each other and we’re tired of paying other people’s way” that were commentaries taken from the people featured in Sebastian’s documentary footage, Prince remarks, “It's interesting to me to see how the work changes with or without context. Zach kind of did the opposite of me – he took photos of his own work and then had it developed in a cheap lab. Giving the work the sense that either of us could have done it.” Sebastian adds, “Regardless of what you think or feel about these images or people, whether it’s ironic, stupid, scary, cliché, sexy, nostalgic, crazy, whatever, just know they’re out there fighting the system the only way they know how – and that’s by throwing a 50 keg party and destroying as many Japanese cars as possible.”


Richard Prince,They started it… and we'll finish it (Signed by both)

Richard Prince,They started it… and we'll finish it (Signed by both)

Richard Prince,They started it… and we'll finish it (Signed by both)

Richard Prince,They started it… and we'll finish it (Signed by both)

Richard Prince,They started it… and we'll finish it (Signed by both)

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Richard Prince,They started it… and we'll finish it (Signed by both)