I met John Rininger in DeKalb, in the late 80's, when I was publishing my zine Cehsoikoe. He worked at the Kinko's on Lucinda and printed it up for me. Soon enough he was contributing to it as well, and we became very good friends.
Though we were good friends, John was a little inscrutable to me. His mind moved at a much, much higher rate than mine, and held in view, simultaneously, seemingly hundreds of disparate ideas and directions. Looking back, his art was really a tangible record of this thinking.
We hung out at his place on Lincoln Highway, where he lived with Katherine. The apartment was full of books, old junk, cups of coffee, and various, as he called them, "devices." He liked to listen to phonograph records at the old spoken word speed of 16 rpm.
On one of the only two "dates" I've ever been on (a "first date" no less!), I took my gal to John's house for Friday Night Movies, which consisted of two (or three?) projectors running simultaneously onto one screen. I will spare you the contents of the films, but suffice it to say, to John, there were no restrictions. Amazingly, I went on a second date with that girl, and more. She was cool.
After a few years John moved into the city, and I moved to Denver. We corresponded through the mail. John sent me his weird, dark zines, Catalyst Komics, and I sent him my sappy zines. We'd visit each other from time to time. He started having gallery shows, and became deeply involved with the Artist's Stamp sub-culture. His prized possession was an old-school perforating machine.
Cyberstamp, 225 x 225 x 16 million,
from a full sheet of 14
John Rininger, aka Rausch Post
It was no secret that John was troubled. How could a brain like that not be? He became somewhat infamous for being held against his will in a psych ward, his experience of which was written up as a cover story, featuring his artwork, in Chicago's New City weekly. Afterwards, he was delighted that he finally achieved an enormous press run with some of his work.
John's masterpiece was what he called "The Scroll," a 1200 foot long continuous image, which he worked on for years and years.
In November of 2006, John passed away at home. He was 45 years old. I feel lucky to have shared some of life with him.
( Video footage of the entire Scroll, with music by Stockhausen)
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Other John R. links:
Photos, Postcards, and Ephemera
Tom Long's reminiscences of John