Remembering Mo Cohen (1950 – 2020)

March 17, 2020

March 4th, 2020

Mo Cohen passed away peacefully in his sleep at his house in Hamburg on March 4th. Best known as owner and director of Gingko Press, Cohen was a larger-than-life figure in publishing circles. For decades, Mo could be found joyfully holding court at the Frankfurt Book Fair, wheeling, dealing and cracking jokes. Born in Tel Aviv, but forged in New York, Cohen cut his teeth as a bookseller working at East Side Bookshop, New Morning Bookshop & later at the venerable St. Mark’s Bookshop in the 70s and 80s before becoming a sales rep at Schocken books. By the mid-80s he’d met the love of his life and eventual co-founder of Gingko Press, Julie von der Ropp. After a stint as an agent and rep for Black Sparrow Press, Cohen co-founded Gingko Press with von der Ropp in Hamburg, Germany in 1985. In 1991 Cohen and von der Ropp launched Gingko Press USA, starting out in John Martin’s Black Sparrow offices. Martin was a long-time friend and inspiration. Mo’s reverence of authors and approach to publishing in general was greatly influenced by Martin’s legendary loyalty and the Black Sparrow model. Cohen is survived by his sister Myra and will be widely remembered for his quick wit, infectious laugh and unorthodox approach to publishing. Mo was laid to rest in Hamburg.

Reggae Vibes Magazine: Interview with Seb Carayol

May 13, 2020

This interview was originally printed in France by Reggae Vibes Magazine for Issue # 70, in circulation Apr-July 2020. It has been translated from French to English. You can order a copy of Rockers: The Making of Reggae’s Most Iconic Film on gingkopress.com.

Can you tell us more about this book, Rockers? Is it a simple autobiography, a photography coffee table book, a making-of of the film Rockers, or?

Sébastien Carayol: It’s a bit of all of this in one book! Besides his talents as a director which earned Rockers a screening at the Cannes Film Festival in 1979, Ted Bafaloukos was also an excellent photographer. Some of his shots taken in Jamaica appeared sporadically on record sleeves: Yabby You, Augustus Pablo, etc. And then, over the course of a decade a few books started to appear. Two or three self-published Rockers books, in Japan, with crazy formats (a very large and flat one, then another edition almost pocket-sized and very thick), featuring his photos of the film and other behind the scenes photos of Rockers… I was intrigued. I finally got to meet, a few years later, the person behind these books: Cherry Kaoru Hulsey, the NYC resident Japanese widow of film producer Patrick Hulsey who has all his photos, and their rights.

I found out from her that before he died, Ted Bafaloukos wrote an autobiographical text, a memoir spanning from his childhood raising goats in Greece, up to New York where he discovered reggae when it was very underground – his first show was an Augustus Pablo concert in Brooklyn that was interrupted with gunshots! – before he decided to go make a documentary in Jamaica… It turned out a fictional piece: Rockers. His autobiography tells everything, the good the bad and the ugly: pressure from guys in the kingston ghetto, how Ted he got kicked out of Jamaica by the government during his first visit etc… I’ll say no more!

Several authors are mentioned by the publishing house for this project. What was your role?

S. C.: It’s a bit of a hybrid. The publisher has me credited as “fire bringer” in the summary… Basically, Bafaloukos’ bio was so well written that I shared all of this with the American publisher Gingko Press, with whom I released a book in 2014. They later signed the project. I also chose the art director, suggested cover, etc. You could then define me as matchmaker, I suppose. But the real flames that really got the pot boiling, initially, are Ted’s widow Eugenie Bafaloukos and Cherry Hulsey, who had self-published the Rockers books together in Japan. I just put everybody together and made sure that the ideal book would come out.

This work will be published soon in English, do you think a French translated version could see the day?

S. C.: This bio from Bafaloukos deserves it! Especially since today there are several quality publishers in France, specializing in Jamaican music…

How old were you when you were discovered Rockers on a screen for the first time?

S. C.: Sounds a bit late to the game, I was twenty years old. With a friend from Narbonne, Claude Damas, we were stuck on the scene where Jacob Miller gets all upset from Horsemouth stealing a piece of chicken from him!

What scene did you enjoy the most in this film?

S. C.: There are two very strong ones for me: Burning Spear singing Jah No Dead a cappella on the beach, with Horsemouth listening attentively… I get chills every time, and even more when Ted tells the story behind the scenes in the book! And, on a lighter note, of course the nightclub scene when Horsemouth and Dirty Harry hijack the disco DJ booth to play The Techniques’ “Queen Majesty” instead: “Remove ya!”

Why do you think this film is considered a benchmark for a lot of reggae lovers?

S.C.: Because Bafaloukos really found out how to capture this golden age of sorts – the Jamaican music scene of the 70s. It’s really a fiction that doubles as has a documentary.

Unlike rap or rock culture, that of reggae is weakly represented on the big screen through fictional films. Do you have any idea what could explain this?

S. C.: The fact that the global cinema industry is centered in the United States can explain this unbalance. The few fictional films that do come out of Jamaica find it difficult to find distributors, I think.

Do you have some titles to us advise (except documentary films)?

S. C.: So there’s one I love, which I showed a very small part of in my 2017 exhibition Jamaica, Jamaica!: it is called REW/FFWD, an amazing film object, both an artistic film as well as documentary fiction, which tells the story of a Canadian journalist sent to Jamaica, when his car breaks down in the middle of Trenchtown – forcing him to meet the real people of the ghetto. It is a small bizarre masterpiece… all the more intriguing, it was directed by Denis Villeneuve, who is now a very well-known to science fiction filmmaker (he made First Contact, etc.).

You dedicate part of your life to share with as many people as possible your passion for reggae (journalist specialist, film and books, curator…) Can you already tell us what will be your next reggae stamped project?

S.C.: Right now, I am living through a bit of a dream: my Jamaica Jamaica! exhibition is currently mounted in Kingston, in Jamaica’s largest National musuem, the National Gallery of Jamaica, until June 28, 2020. [Editor’s note: It will be extended to December 2020 due to Covid pandemic] Go deh!

Artist at Home: James & Karla Murray

May 7, 2020


James & Karla Murray are the photographers behind numerous Gingko releases, their latest being Store Front II – Mini Edition. You can view their work on jamesandkarlamurray.com and Instagram. James & Karla have also been filming their walks in New York City in an effort to highlight small, independently-owned businesses who could use help during this time. You can watch their videos on their YouTube channel.

How are you spending this time? Are you creating art “as usual,” or is there a variance to your routine?

We have been extremely busy during the lockdown in New York City, continuing to document the small unique independently-owned businesses and trying to help raise awareness of their necessity as they truly are the lifeblood of the various neighborhoods of New York City and they are struggling now more than ever to survive. We can’t think of a better way as a New Yorker to come together during this difficult time. If anything we have been photographing and creating videos for our JamesandKarla YouTube channel even more than we ever did before as we really feel its a race against time to document the places we love.

What’s been the biggest challenge for you, and how are you handling it?

The biggest challenge as an eyeglass wearer is to try to NOT have our glasses fog up while wearing a face mask outside!

What advice would you give to anyone struggling to create right now?

Our best advice is to stay positive and keep creating what you love!

The Murray's home work space
The Murray’s home work space

Do you have any advice for someone looking to optimize their space at home for a good work/play balance?

Since we have always worked from our home small studio apartment, the best advice we have is to try to keep it uncluttered as possible and give your dog plenty of room for “zoomies”!

How can people support the arts community during this time?

People can support artists by buying artwork from them. We are currently offering limited edition prints of many of our photographs as a way to earn money especially since our work as architectural and interior photographers has been put on indefinite hold.

The Murray's rescue dog, Hudson
The Murray’s rescue dog, Hudson, posing with some of their prints

What do you hope people take away from all this? Do you think the arts community will look different as we transition back to “normal”?

We hope that our work will bring awareness to the unique character small mom-and-pop businesses add to the streets and neighborhoods of New York City and the sense of community they provide. These storefronts have the city’s history etched into their facades. We also hope that viewers will frequent small businesses so that they will continue to survive for many more years.

Sadly we do think the arts community will look different as so many cultural institutions and arts-related non-profits are struggling to stay afloat as their doors are closed to visitors and even when they reopen, they most likely will only be able to accommodate a limited capacity of visitors.. They will need to find ways to reach large audiences virtually.

Some stills from their NYC walks
Above & below: stills from their NYC walks

Some stills from their NYC walks

Some stills from their NYC walks

Artist at Home: Hannah Stouffer

April 28, 2020

Hannah Stouffer is the author and editor of numerous Gingko releases, her latest being Lust for Light. You can view her work on hannahstouffer.com and Instagram.

How are you spending this time? Are you creating art “as usual,” or is there a variance to your routine?

My routine is fairly similar, with a lot more time for self-care, refocusing and reassessing the old normal that we had become comfortable with. I’m still doing a fair amount of creating, emailing and upkeep, but enjoying the extended periods of time I now have for basking in the sun, stretching, preparing meals and face-timing friends. I didn’t realize how important this all was, or how much I was lacking in dedicating an equal amount of time to returning to myself.

What’s been the biggest challenge for you, and how are you handling it?

Of course social outings are limited, or non-existent. I lead a pretty isolated career, though I do love grabbing lunch or happy hours with friends, going on hikes or to the beach, catching an art show and running into everyone. There is no replacement for a lot of this, though I’ve been trying the digital route, or just enjoying the solitude.

What advice would you give to anyone struggling to create right now?

Don’t put pressure on yourself. Try something fun and new, give yourself room to experiment and don’t take the creative output too seriously. This isn’t a time to be hard on ourselves, if anything we should be learning about ourselves more and growing out of that. Growth can feel kinda funny, sit with that and maybe try to harness that energy to making some funny feeling work.

Creative Coping Series
Hannah recently started a “Creative Coping Series” in which she mailed out 50 paintings to her friends and followers. Keep an eye out for the next round on her Instagram.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to optimize their space at home for a good work/play balance?

I looooove optimizing space. Get some plants, or pick up some flowers from the farmers market. I’m also a big fan of succulent trimming, or local plant sourcing to warm up a space. One of my favorite things to do is tape up or hang a bunch of inspiration on the walls, or on a whiteboard. This can be anything – mine is usually past work, postcards, xeroxes or magazine pages and old things I’ve collected. I like to try to do my non-work rituals in a separate space, like reading, exercising or eating. Make your corner, table, room or space feel special for that.

Hannah's work space
Hannah’s work space

How can people support the arts community during this time?

If you’re able to purchase work from your favorite artists, now is the time to do it – even if it’s just a pin or a poster. A lot of artists have some sort of merch for sale, or shoot them a DM and ask them if they do! A lot of work is heavily discounted, or proceeds going towards a good cause at the moment, it’s a win-win for everyone.

What do you hope people take away from all this? Do you think the arts community will look different as we transition back to “normal”?

I think this refocusing and reassessing of our day to day is critical. Hopefully some of this transition will carry on and balance out some of the societal things that needed adjusting – for example cost of living, rents, expectations of work hours, supporting local businesses and the need for self-care. I think stepping back into this there will be a greater appreciation for everything, I don’t think we realized how good we had it, it’s easy to take our comforts for granted. There’s gonna be a whole lot of intimacy, quality hangs and hugs – something to look forward to.

Hannah's dog, Taki
We asked each artist to send a picture of whatever last made them smile – here’s Hannah’s dog, Taki, enjoying some sun.

Artist at Home: Sean Äaberg

April 23, 2020

Sean Äaberg is the artist behind new release Acid Vomit!. You can view his work on goblinkomegamall.com and Instagram.

How are you spending this time? Are you creating art “as usual,” or is there a variance to your routine?

I had a severe stroke in september of 2018 where I spent three months in the hospital & have been on the mend since, so the quarantine, while unusual & limiting hasn’t been so different for me.

What’s been the biggest challenge for you, and how are you handling it?

I’m just trying to be there for my wife & kids in whatever way I can, I think I’m handling it pretty well.

What advice would you give to anyone struggling to create right now?

This is undoubtedly a transitional & unsure period of time, like, no one knows what things are going to be like in the future, no one. So, given that, I feel like if you’re having a hard time being creative right now, that makes sense given how up in the air things are, but it’s also a great time to build some good work habits, make some kind of schedule & be disciplined.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to optimize their space at home for a good work/play balance?

I feel like your workspace needs to be reflective of what kind of person you are, so it really depends, like some people really do well with distraction, others don’t, i think you’ve got to know yourself first.

Sean at work
Sean at work

How can people support the arts community during this time?

I think the primary way is monetarily, as usual.

What do you hope people take away from all this? Do you think the arts community will look different as we transition back to “normal”?

I hope people are able to evaluate their priorities & get them straight, like it is said, “never let a good crisis go to waste.” As far as a return to “normal” goes, I hope again people evaluate their priorities & do things worth doing because I feel like people have gotten way off mark.

Sean's work space
Sean’s work space

Artist at Home: Rudy VanderLans

April 20, 2020

Rudy VanderLans is the photographer behind the “Still Lifes” series and new release Anywhere, California. You can view his work on emigre.com and Instagram.

How are you spending this time? Are you creating art “as usual,” or is there a variance to your routine?

I’ve worked from home for the past couple of decades, so there’s not much of an adjustment there. I try to stick to my daily routine as best I can. I try to get dressed before 8:30 am. That’s important. Then it’s just a matter of sitting down behind the computer and work. Making art is like running. You have to keep at it to stay in shape.

What’s been the biggest challenge for you, and how are you handling it?

I just worry about my friends in the arts and design and publishing communities. Even in normal times these are not easy ways to make a living. Yet art is essential. It’s what’s keeping me sane these days. Imagine a life without books, movies, art. What would be the point?

What advice would you give to anyone struggling to create right now?

I suggest you read Gary Panter’s recent Facebook post.

Rudy's home studio
Rudy’s home studio

How can people support the arts community during this time?

This sounds simplistic, or impossible, but if you have any money to spare, buy books, art, music, etc. It’s satisfying, because It nurtures the soul.

What do you hope people take away from all this? Do you think the arts community will look different as we transition back to “normal”?

I’m not sure if we want to transition back to “normal.” Normal left much to desire for many people, including artists. Inequality is probably at the root of most of our problems. The arts suffers from it as well, with too much money concentrated at the top. So let’s hope we’ll learn to spread the wealth around, so everybody can live a decent life.


We asked each artist to send a picture of whatever last made them smile – here’s an image by Tucker Nichols.

Artist at Home: Tiffany Bozic

April 17, 2020

Tiffany Bozic is the artist behind Unnatural Selections and Drawn by Instinct. You can view her work on tiffanybozic.com and Instagram.

How are you spending this time? Are you creating art “as usual,” or is there a variance to your routine?

I am trying to balance working full time with homeschooling my daughter. I’m working on a children’s book about Trees for Simon and Schuster. I’m still in the preliminary stages, but there will be over 20 original paintings, all created with my usual acrylic on maple panels so I can show off the wood grain. I am also working on a couple private commissions this spring.

What’s been the biggest challenge for you, and how are you handling it?

The biggest challenge has been juggling deadlines with homeschooling my daughter. She is only in the second grade so she’s not exactly independent, though luckily she loves learning and has a great attitude. It helps all of us to be structured, now more than ever. I have timers going off all day, which helps my family sync up our work and make the most of it.

What advice would you give to anyone struggling to create right now?

My main advice is to not force it if it feels stressful, and to practice self compassion. In especially challenging times like these it helps me to see the long view and practice gratitude. Our entire life is a work of art! I try to keep a positive attitude, and see obstacles as an opportunity to try something new and grow. I’m prioritizing my mental and physical health, eating well, sleeping well, exercising daily, and reaching out to family and friends. If like me, you’re also sheltering in place with your family, work with them to find the best time for some distraction free creative time. Communication is key. Your best is good enough!

Do you have any advice for someone looking to optimize their space at home for a good work/play balance?

Try to take an experimental approach and explore new ways everyday to see what works best for you. In some ways, I’m used to ‘sheltering in place’, since for the past 2 decades I’ve always worked out of a home studio. So I’ve already developed my organization muscle by sticking to a set routine, and planning my work time around my family. We set my daughter up at a desk about 10 feet away from me so I can help her navigate her school schedule throughout the day. There is no one way that is going to work for everyone so you just find ways to make it work for you!

Tiffany's home studio
Tiffany’s home studio

How can people support the arts community during this time?

An easy way to show your support is to share your favorite artists on Social Media with your community. You can #supportindies by buying books directly from publishers, and support visual artists directly if they have prints, books or originals for sale.

What do you hope people take away from all this? Do you think the arts community will look different as we transition back to “normal”?

The art world was already going through a huge shift to an online platform. The pandemic only sped up the transformation away from traditional gallery representation. The good news is that there is more freedom for artists to engage with their audience directly. Artists have access to better tools than ever before, though it does put additional pressure on artists to spend more of their time marketing, and social media can lend itself to shallow derivative work. That said, this is still a great time for artists to tell their story and discover their niche audiences without needing to have the narrow subjective art world to validate their contributions.


We asked each artist to send a picture of whatever last made them smile – here’s Tiffany out on a hike in Marin.

Artist at Home: Ozzie Ausband

April 16, 2020

Ozzie Ausband is the co-author of Back in the Day. A mini edition of the original BITD will be released in the coming months. You can view his work on Blue Tile Obsession and Instagram.

11 April 2020. 7:17 pm. West Hollywood, Ca.

I spent the day going through photographs, editing and writing for the blog. Blue Tile Obsession. Lance Mountain did a Guest Post and we had to rewrite several parts of it. It went up today around noon. I’m not accustomed to sitting around too much. I believe that old Conan the Barbarian quote, “Time enough to rest, in the grave.” When I’m not working at the hospital as an RN, I run, go to the gym and find pools to clean up and skate.

Ozzie working at home
Ozzie working at home

I started the blog Blue Tile Obsession and it took off. I kept it about soulful skating, our history and I rode regularly with the best guys. It helped strike a chord. This led to meeting up with William Sharp who’s work I knew very well. Some of his photographs were ones I had taped beside my ramp all those bleak winter years before in dreary Pennsylvania. Doing the book project with him and paying tribute to my heroes is a full circle journey. I am forever grateful.

During these last weeks on quarantine, I’ve been consolidating photographs for a Tony Alva book that I’m working on. I am in talks with the family of photographer Craig Fineman who passed away a dozen years ago. I still run and workout as best as possible given the times.

Ozzie working at home

Artist at Home: Ana Bianchi

April 14, 2020

Ana Bianchi is the illustrator and author behind The Sailor Who Loved to Draw and The Swimmers: Paper Cut-Outs with Matisse. You can view her work on analovescolor.com and Instagram.

How are you spending this time? Are you creating art “as usual,” or is there a variance to your routine?

I am not wasting time driving or running errands so I have been hunkered down (as we should) in my studio creating art, in the garden preparing the vegetable garden, in the kitchen cooking from scratch or with the family. It is good to get longer, uninterrupted periods of time to focus on the ideas I am exploring. I am using this time to work on several illustrations, trying new techniques and styles, text for another children’s book and finalizing my portfolio website.

What’s been the biggest challenge for you, and how are you handling it?

Not getting distracted by social media, creative partnerships and the food purchase/cook/don’t waste cycle. I really want to turn this into a time to concentrate and create.

What advice would you give to anyone struggling to create right now?

Move away from the TV and news cycle. Pick something you like: write about it, draw it. Don’t think about it too much. Or, make a list of things you always wanted to try and find a tutorial (macrame, anyone? felting? dyeing fabric? I will try that with avocado pits and oak galls I’ve collected). Or, join a challenge like #100daychallenge, or create a challenge (a drawing a day until we are let free, or take a photo of every dish you cook and turn it into a cookbook). I am usually never without ideas of things to do, for me it’s picking the one to do.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to optimize their space at home for a good work/play balance?

Separate with your watch. Set a number of hours to work, a number of hours to play/watch tv and a # of hours for health: cook, eat, shower, sleep. Stick with it. Change rooms for each one if possible.

Ana's home workspace
Ana’s home workspace

How can people support the arts community during this time?

Buy art & crafts, create projects for artists, follow and support artists, comment on their feeds, recommend artists to those who can commission projects.

What do you hope people take away from all this? Do you think the arts community will look different as we transition back to “normal”?

I am part of a few groups of illustrators around the world, everyone has been doing something with their art to help the community. Making art and telling stories is what we do and people that receive them appreciate them now more than other times. I hope this quiet magical thing artists and writers do becomes appreciated as the “other medicine” as life goes on.


We asked each artist to send a picture of whatever last made them smile – here’s Ana’s daughter working on her own illustrations.

Artist at Home: Alex Gross

April 9, 2020

Our “Artist at Home” series aims to provide a sense of comfort and community during these trying times. We’ve asked some of our favorite Gingko authors how sheltering-in-place has affected their creative process, and how they think others can stay positive despite it all. As firm believers in the importance of arts & culture in our everyday lives (now more than ever), we hope you find some inspiration in their responses and have a chance to check out their individual work.

Alex Gross is the artist behind Now and Then and Transformations. You can view his work on alexgross.com and Instagram.

How are you spending this time? Are you creating art “as usual,” or is there a variance to your routine?

I am actually creating more or less “as usual,” or at least trying to. I am watching more movies with my 5 year old son, and taking more walks with him too, so getting less work done. But I am still painting, and I love getting in the studio, putting on a good audiobook or podcast, and trying to forget about the world and just paint.

What’s been the biggest challenge for you, and how are you handling it?

Navigating this with a young child is for sure the hardest part. Especially for my wife, since she is doing most of the work setting up classes via Zoom, and playing with him. He’s of course not happy all the time because his fun young life has been upended, and it’s super unfair to him, and to all kids. So we’re doing the best we can – my wife and I are spending more time with him and we’ve had some good monopoly games and movie times. But sometimes it’s very tough.

What advice would you give to anyone struggling to create right now?

If you don’t feel there’s something you want to create, and you don’t need to, then just take a break. Go easy on yourself. It’s not really a time for getting stuff done. I just happen to love painting and it also gives me a feeling that I have a teeny bit of control when I paint, in this otherwise totally out of control reality in which we’re living.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to optimize their space at home for a good work/play balance?

It depends on many factors, one of which is who you live with. If you don’t have kids, or a partner, then it’s easy to make your whole living space into a workspace. When I was younger, my living room was my studio. When I got married, the studio moved into a bedroom, with an office in the living room. And then when I had my son, the studio went into a garage. But it also depends on how large a space you are in. A studio apartment is much different from a 2 bedroom house.

Alex's home studio
Alex’s home studio

How can people support the arts community during this time?

I honestly have no idea, other than buying art from artists they love, if they can still afford it. I am planning to donate a percent of my next print sale to a charity, like Meals on Wheels. But it’s not an arts community charity, it’s just one of several groups helping people right now. It’s not only artists that are hurting.

What do you hope people take away from all this? Do you think the arts community will look different as we transition back to “normal”?

Again, I don’t really know. I don’t think much about the arts community. I’m more interested in our human community. I don’t know what will be normal in the future. From all intelligent sources, this pandemic will ease up, but not disappear for quite some time. Basic realities like going to school may be altered for very extended periods. I hope that social connection will resume before too long. We all need it, as human beings — real connecting, not just virtual connection.


We asked each artist to send a picture of whatever last made them smile – here’s Alex’s son, Ronan.