Tag Archives: VNAOneThatGotAway

Logo of street art zine Very Nearly Almost

Remembering Street Art Zine Very Nearly Almost

Lockdown has given the opportunity to spring clean the digital street art photograph archives.  Exploring defunct folders served as a reminder of the pleasure that came from nearly a decade of making a small photographic contribution to a street art zine.  Here is a little look back at the days of street art zine Very Nearly Almost including some precious memories that editor and founder George MacDonald kindly took the trouble to share.

Collection of Very Nearly Almost zine covers photo George MacDonald

Very Nearly Almost – photo courtesy George MacDonald

In 2006, a limited edition print release on the opening night of an art show by a street artist in Shoreditch would for sure result in a queue going down the street.  One Thursday it was opening night at Leonard St Gallery, I don’t recall which artists, someone walked up and down the queue giving away a photocopied street art zine.  It was a time the way art was shared and enjoyed was changing radically, street art fans and artists uploading photos to the internet, particularly street art forums and Flickr was fostering a very versatile, growing fan base.  Publishing that zine, Very Nearly Almost, on paper was definitely going against the digital tide.

Editions 1 and 2 Very Nearly Almost zine for street art

Very Nearly Almost Editions 1 and 2 – photo courtesy George MacDonald

Some months later the VNA editor George MacDonald got in touch asking if he could use a photo of some ephemeral street art piece or other from my Flickr collection, he’d give me a free copy (price had gone up to £3) so I said “sure”.  From that small interaction I became part of a small select group of London street art photographers who contributed photos to the zine.

“Those early days of VNA were all about the purity of documenting the scene. I felt passionate about capturing the hard work of street artists and so badly wanted to share them with everyone.”  George Macdonald, Editor VNA

Street Art Zine VNA DFace edition

Issue 10 D*Face regular and Limited edition screen print covers

The magazine’s print standards rose quickly, the quality of the writing improved significantly.

Very Nearly Almost Street Art Zine various editions

Very Nearly Big, Bigger and Biggest – Editions 3, 7 (C215) and 12 (Roa)

Each edition had a featured artist with a large interview and a special limited edition screen printed cover collector’s edition would come out.

Shepard Fairey Limited Edition covers for Street Art Zine VNA

Issue 15 Shepard Fairey regular and Limited edition screen print covers

Launch nights were held in galleries, pubs and boutiques and they became as rammed as any artist’s opening night.

VNA Very Nearly Almost zine launch party at Pictures On Walls Sep 2011

Edition 16 Space Invader Launch Event at Pictures On Walls September 2011

The magazine even won awards and got international distribution.

Very Nearly Almost street art zine edition 21 launch at old StolenSpace

Launch gathering, Old Stolen Space, Jan 2013

 “I look back on the VNA days fondly. We constantly tried to make the magazine better and better and the party’s bigger and bigger.” GM

Each edition of the magazine featured photos of the latest London street art and often featured the best from one or two “guest cities” around the World.  A very impressive collection of street art photographers from London chipped in flicks on a regular basis including Cheffo, Claude Crommelin, Delete, Howaboutno, Mark Rigney, Paul Gray, Romanywg and myself.  It was an honour to be among such a select group, having a photograph published in VNA was be regarded as prestigious.  It reached the stage where I’d take a street art photo, look at it and think “yep, going to hold that back, it might be good enough for VNA”.

“Flickr was the perfect place at that time for street art photographers. There was some serious competitive documentary photography going on.” GM

Very Nearly Almost VNA street art zine edition 23 Faile covers

VNA Edition 23 Faile covers

It was a thrill to get your hands on a new copy on launch night, weeks or months after you sent in your latest photos and see which if any of your photos made the edition.

April 2021: Check out the Easter series of Virtual Street Art Tours

Nelly Duff Gallery hosted Launch of Street Art Zine VNA Very Nearly Almost Edition 28 Mike Giant

Edition 28 launch at Nelly Duff Gallery 2014

Sadly VNA became rather a victim of its own success.  The publishing volumes, the commercial arrangements, the organisation of special artist contributions and the development of something called a life became too much for what was for almost everyone involved essentially a hobby.    George and his team called a dignified end to VNA in 2016, going out with a bang with a huge DFace edition.

VNA street art Zine Edition 35 D*Face cover

VNA Edition 35 D*Face cover

Staff at Very Nearly Almost zine

VNA editorial, production and sales team, StolenSpace 2017

“In the end, we needed to fully commit and keep pushing but we were all running out of time between family commitments and jobs. I felt it was slipping away from us so we pulled the plug. It’s a shame as I wanted to keep going until we got that Banksy cover but it never happened“ GM

Very Nearly Almost sticker by Mysterious Al for street art zine Very Nearly Almost VNA

Mysterious Al/VNA sticker 2013

So, where is this heading?   The archive of photos offered to VNA which never quite saw the light of day in print contains some beauties.  In almost every case the art no longer exists so it’s time to occasionally dig out those ex street art pieces.  Check out and follow the Instagram hashtag #VNAOneThatGotAway, who knows what nuggets might surface!

street art photo by NoLionsInEngland Dave Stuart not featured in Very Nearly Almost zine

#VNAOneThatGotAway – Fanakapan and Envol aka Horror Crew 2014

DFace stickers street art photo by NoLionsInEngland Dave Stuart not featured in Very Nearly Almost zine

#VNAOneThatGotAway DFace Stickers 2010

Ella et Pitr street art photo by NoLionsInEngland Dave Stuart not featured in Very Nearly Almost zine

#VNAOneThatGotAway Ella et Pitr 2010