The Jaunt

I’ve always found reading quite torturous. Not because of the content of the book/column I’m reading, but more so because I’ll read a paragraph and my mind will instantly fire off into another direction. Within no time something that’s connected will interest me, a new series of thoughts will form, flourish and before I know I’ve been staring into space for 5 minutes, this happens within a split second. This is the world of my neurodivergent mind, namely that of ADHD, but for good measure mix in a mild case of probable autism and for those that believe in that sort of thing, all the traits of an Aquarius too, it can be a nightmare at times. (it’s worth noting that other than being an Aquarius none of the other things have been officially diagnosed by a doctor in a lab coat but all have been professionally diagnosed outside of a medical environment thanks to the wife and her incredibly interesting career).

I’ve tried all manner of things to reduce the distractions yet the only thing that often keeps me focused is listening to some form of serene music (music that contains lyrics can be hell for me, especially if I know them well enough).

Despite having said the above, it hasn’t in any way impinged my love of books and purchasing reading material. Infact, I’d say I’ve probably made it a personal challenge to buy and then read more. There’s something about quality books that I can’t get enough. Without sounding too much like Ron Burgundy here, there’s a delightful feeling about possessing a good book. The feelings are somewhat accumulated and based around the smell, the feel of the paper or the cracking of the spine perhaps.

Since the first lock-down in 2020 I’ve made a concerted effort to tackle the ridiculous stack of books & mags I buy on a monthly basis. Not all books are made equal though, I’m sure you’ll agree and some in my collection are pure gold. These books will never be loaned out, and I’d never dream of selling or donating them to a local charity shop just because I’ve not read them in a while.

Some books in my collection I consider seminal reads. If you’re a Graff writer you’ll agree Subway Art & Spraycan Art are the paper versions of Style Wars and despite their age, similar to wine, they become more enticing as they mature (more valuable too I should add!). You may argue that there’s very little to actually read in a Graff book but if you’re interested in the culture you’ll find more than you hoped for ‘reading between the lines’ (Is that a fucking dad joke? FFS).

I’ve never been drawn to overly serious books or novels etc. I’m told I’m missing a trick but in time after I’ve made my way through my shelf of ‘books to read’ I guess I’ll find out. For now though I’m somewhere between Destruction of Black Civilization by Chancellor Williams, Bill Daniel’s Mostly True & The book of Trespass by Nick Hayes.

Dependent on what I have going on outside of work I tend to have multiple sources of reading material on the go at any one time. I find that, this way I don’t end up lugging some ridiculously over sized book with me on a train and so naturally it’s just way more convenient. It’s for this reason I’m always on the look out for interesting reads. Naturally I want something that’s going to capture my attention.

I’ve followed the Instagram page @thejaunt for as long as I can remember now. The project intrigues me and the work they create is always on point. However it wasn’t until I picked up their book that I fully understood what The Jaunt are properly about and how they work.

The premise of The Jaunt is based around (and I’m being real lazy here and copying the title directly of their first book) ‘Combining the two best things in life’, which are surely Travel & Art right? The Jaunt team works with a mixed bag of well established and lesser known artists by sending them to places they’ve never been before. Some artists research, yet most appear to arrive in new places with no real plans except, maybe to link with a local contact they’ve aligned with prior.

The beauty of this concept is in the stories from each artist’s individual trip. Some embellish upon their experiences across multiple pages; These include photos, sketches, preliminary studies or general note taking. However others may have written two paragraphs and included one image. Once the overview has been provided we are met with the artist’s work – a piece that has been created to conclude their time away.

There’s a whole undercurrent of wanderlust through the book which is so damn charming to me. I’m not sure if due to the pandemic and not being able to leave the country (without being expected to pay an insane amount on tests and isolation fees for the privilege) I feel I’m hankering to resume play on travel as it was pre-pandemic and so reading these anecdotes however brief gets me genuinely excited to roam again.

This book is the second in the series, from what I can gather The Jaunt have been delivering on this project for around 15 years now. This is a summary of the past few years of trips and artwork. The visual conclusion I mentioned before is shown in the form of a limited edition screen print of the artwork produced by each artist. Currently I co-run a printshop and a mural company so this whole format appeals as I get to geek the fuck out over some of the beautiful visuals and how they’ve been made and then on a separate note, how the print has been approached too, so added value and then some!

I have to add that the publishing has been expertly handled by Chemistry Publishing. If you’re unfamiliar with the works of Chemistry they specialise in Graffiti based publications and really embellish on the quality aspect of zines, mags & books to deliver a more considered and polished product. More often than not I find that most Graff related media is cheaply produced and although I’ve got all the time in the world for it, it can and does get quite predictable that writers are gonna drop some form of cut and paste, scanned, black & white, double exposed, photocopied, saddle stitched release and let’s be really real for a second – It’s played out. Done to death. For multiple groups of people from The Jaunt team, the artists, the printers and Chemistry Publishing who all wanted to produce something special, it goes without saying that none of them have failed to impress here.

A straight up triumph of a book and now a personal favourite for sure.

I still need to purchase book one though and of course, get the fuck out of the UK.