Sign In


This Looks Hot: ‘Pretty Ugly’ Zine Launches This Saturday

Cool art, good times, and free booze from your friends at PLUSMINUS
2021-10-15 12:00:00

If your coffee table, book shelf, or back-of-toilet are thirsting for new and interesting content, get yourself down to the “Pretty Ugly” launch on Saturday afternoon / evening and pick up the new zine.  This “limited edition collectable art book” (ooo!) features fantastic work from 50 artists, graphic designers, writers, and illustrators sourced from all over China. 

It does indeed look pretty rad.  Check it out.

So, you can grip the limited edition collectable art book at the event on Saturday, along with other original art works, random apparel and merch, and other assorted edifying works of art.   

The launch party will include street art and graffiti, interactive installations, DJs of varying ability, and, centrally, importantly, critically free booze

SmartShanghai previously spoke to PLUSMINUS as part of our Shanghai Famous column.  Check it.  We caught up with them again to hear more about this thingie on Saturday.


SmSh: Can you introduce the ‘zine for people who haven’t heard of it and describe this issue’s theme?  “Pretty Ugly”?

PLUSMINUS: It started as our passion project to show who we are outside of our client work. But I honestly wasn’t sure who’d care enough to look, so we invited friends to contribute and make it a community thing. It’s now becoming a look-book of up and coming talent from around china. Last years’ Volume 1 was titled ALL MY IDOLS. This year the theme is PRETTY UGLY.  It seemed like a good contradiction, which is always a great start to provoke some original ideas.

It’s a limited edition collectible art book. On one hand it showcases the best up and coming artists from around China, and on the other it’s meant to be a lookbook, sitting on your coffee table, for inspiration or entertainment. It’s filled with mini comics, satire and lifestyle.

SmSh: How does this one build on the content and concept from last year?

PLUSMINUS: We spent a good portion of last year joining art fairs around China and scouting talent, which we then forced to join this issue, going from 30 artists and 80 pages (Vol.I) to 50 artists and 120 pages (Vol.II). All the while our ambition to present indie art in a really high-end execution (binding, choice of paper, ink..) is still a priority. 

SmSh: Can you highlight a few of the artists who have taken part?

PLUSMINUS: A piece that’s really worth mentioning is DaMians ‘HOLY TRASH’ series. It’s a vibrant and beautifully 3D rendered series of trash, complete with pretentious art critic commentary. The idea is to draw attention to our daily waste in food delivery / packaging by making you look first and then inspiring some thought after….

The Great Indoors did a very fun toy head series, inspired by re-purposed toys they found in Chinese factories (think G.I. JOE given a new random color job and personality)

Another would be by a young artist called WORRY, for him the theme reminded him of his favorite childhood TV shows, which, looking back now weren’t as convincing as he remembered. Over the top, cheesy set design and absurd love stories make up his artwork.

SmSh: What’s happening at the launch event? Location? DJs? And how do people get in? Open bar? What?

PLUSMINUS: Once securing the most hype venue in town (TX Huaihai) we had to bring back some of our own gritty style, so we’ve invited our favorite underground DJs to come out of the shadows; Bartrand Kartell, Compact Dicks, Gargoyle Girlfriend, Thee baron, Shighman, Don’t Lie, Moonflower & Dongwei.

There’ll be proper street art, graffiti, and interactive installations bringing to life the zine’s artworks. Of course we’ll also blow up hero pages in gallery-style fashion.

To get in (TOTALLY FREE!) it’s important you RSVP on our WeChat account by writing us ‘YOUR NAME + PRETTY UGLY’.

Open bar! We’ve got the most amazing brand support (Beefeater, Absolut, Brander, Electro X, Highlite) making the free-flow possible.

To get your drinks bracelet you’ll need to:

  • be on the guest list by RSVPing
  • Show us some support, by buying any piece of art from our gift shop. Original and limited edition art starts at 50rmb, it shouldn’t be a problem for anyone….


‘Pretty Ugly’ launches this Saturday at TX Huaihai from 2pm to 10lpm.  You need to RSVP to get in.  Search out PLUSMINUS on WeChat.