What was your inspiration to start a magazine, particularly at a time when the world has proclaimed that print is dead?
Actually I think knowing print was “dead” was what drew me to want to do something with it. It got me thinking about why print was dead and what was missing from this medium. I felt that too many publications and magazines lost their individuality and creativity by becoming what they thought the mass public would want to read about. I wanted to go back to what magazines used to be by visiting one of my favorite aspects of the form which is the “zine”. I opened it up to the many talents of my friends to contribute a piece of their own aesthetic while guiding it a bit with my own imagination. I wanted it to be artistic but informative at the same time. Something you could hold on to for years and it would still be just as good as when you first read it. It’s not about what’s hot right now, it’s about what’s beautiful and fun to look at. The final touch was deciding to print and bind it all myself. Each one feels like a piece of me and I think that shows through with the final outcome. Magazine Party ended up becoming a magazine/zine/art project all in one.
Please talk about TV Party. How did you first connect with this show, and how did it inspire your ideas as a publisher?
I first connected with this show when i watched the documentary. I loved that they had no idea what they were doing. It was a new and fresh take on something that at the time was unexplored. They did whatever they wanted to, it had no structure. And that was what I found beautiful about it. It also showcased some of New York’s talents but in a more personal/different way. Basquiat ran the camera. Blondie helped host. It took them away from what they were known for and put them in a different environment. I wanted to create this same atmosphere in print form. I asked everyone who was contributing to go outside of what they usually do and try something different.
Explore your inner talents! Show us your side hobby! Also, as editor I handled the layout and I have no experience with this at all. I learned inDesign and Photoshop and did everything with an untrained eye. I didn’t want it to look polished and perfect. I think that also adds to the look and feel of it.
How do you select the contributors to Magazine Party? Are the stories assignment driven, or do you allow contributors to do as they wish?
At first I just sent out a mass email to some of my friends I knew who were creative and talented and would want to be apart of this. A lot of people wrote back with ideas and i worked with each person to form something that would work well with my vision. Sometimes they would throw out an idea and I would say “yes that’s perfect! go with that!” and some i would tweak a bit. Some other pieces were things that I assigned to people.
I came up with the idea of doing a paper doll cut-out girl after a friend sent me Katy Keene pictures. I asked Vena Cava to design outfits for her and they were totally into the idea. The playlist I had Justine D do was an idea I had that started out as a playlist to someone fictional or someone you didn’t know. Justine had been cooking more lately and wanted to do one based around cooking. I took it from there and designed the layout for the piece.
Lately I’ve been into collages so you see a few of those in the mix. The cover is a collage i made. Some pieces came back to me and I didn’t do anything with it while others I designed the look of it after they gave me their contribution. It was definitely a combination between editor and contributor. But I think everyone was pleased with the outcome. Now that the magazine has its first issue out I think more people will get an idea of what I’m doing with it and will come up with even more random and creative ideas to submit! At least that’s what I’m hoping for.
You print and bind each zine by hand. Please talk about the production process as part of the style of the magazine itself.
I went back and forth with how I was going to print the zine. cost-wise it didn’t really make a lot of sense for me to print it at home but i really wanted to make it work. I think it was important because the whole reason for starting this was to do something different and unpolished. iI needed to have a home-made touch to really make the whole project come full circle. I also decided to use two different colors and stocks for the inside to give it more depth.
I started out printing a few pages on a risograph at a friend’s spot. But I could really only do a few pages with this as it was black print on lavender paper and too many of my layouts needed full color. So for those I borrowed a friend’s printer, bought more ink cartridges than i thought i would use, and started printing away. Then I cut each page down. Then I folded them into signatures. I did a lot of research on how to bind books by hand and I decided this was the final thing I needed to do to make this a fully hand made item. I bought an awl and some waxed thread and started poking holes and binding each issue. It takes me about 15 minutes to bind each one by hand. But it’s worth all the hard work because the end product is something I’m not only proud of, I think it’s something that everyone will enjoy.
Now that issue 1 is out, what’s planned for the 2?
Ooof! Yeah I gotta start thinking about this already. I have a few people that i want to reach out to and see if they are interested in contributing. I have an aesthetic in my mind and a lot of talented friends so I try to reach out to those that I think will work well together. some things will have a recurring space in the zine and some things will be totally different. It’s really about what people bring to the table and what pops up in my mind. we’ll see where it goes! But I’m excited to see as well. I also want to explore different ways to personalize each issue. It will definitely still have the same feel. But since I put so much time and energy into each issue I think this will be a yearly project. Next issue to be announced next sept/oct! If I did more than that i think it would lose it’s artistic touch. And I definitely don’t want to lose that.