Feature production log

 

In the earliest days of our group’s meetings, we were all collectively clear that we wanted to feature and base our magazine around the arts, whether it be creative, musical, or humanities. We decided on newer up and coming artists, as we had an easier access to interviewing and speaking to them, as well as there being a gap in the market for it.

We visited two independent specialist magazine distributors in London to get inspiration for our layout and concepts. From what we saw, we knew we wanted our magazine aesthetic to be unconventional and artistically driven. I learnt a lot about what is in popular demand by the public, while also being risqué enough to engage ore niche artistic audiences. White space and varying accent colours were key features we wanted to include.

When first thinking of new and talented artists, my first thought was Jo Rosenthal. I have had online and personal correspondence with her for a few years, and her art was topical as well as being unique enough to contrast from my group’s feature ideas. Although she is largely an unknown name, she has done enough interviews in the past to know how to answer my questions informatively with key vocabulary that would suit the feature.

I first used Instagram messenger to contact her, as it was approachable and friendly and not too formal, to correlate with her online presence that doesn’t take itself too seriously. She was quick to agree, so my next step was to redirected to email and sent her professional, as well as genuine questions that would give email content more depth and personality.

Her questions were answered in full, so were easily converted into prose for my article. However, when I needed various quotes that she hadn’t touched on, I used statements from her artist profile that she had also sent me the link for. As well as this, I gained a deeper knowledge of her identity and nature through the handful of her previous interviews that are online.

Writing about her art was both easy and difficult in equal measures. I understood and liked the thinking behind her pieces, but as it was very conceptual and emotionally driven, my writing risked sounding pretentious and too flowery at times.

With this in mind, I’d made sure to keep my piece interesting and engaging, as well as allowing the language to dip into the creative spectrum. I had multiple people of different ages and social groups read through the piece once it was finished, and edited more than five times to perfect it as well as I could.

 

 

Off the Wall

‘Off the Wall’

Peter Shaffer once said, “If London is a watercolour, New York is an oil painting.” The playwright’s analogy seems only fitting for somewhere so entirely original, innovative, and home to some of the most exciting arts communities the industry has to offer, including multidisciplinary artist and writer Jo Rosenthal. Or, as she humorously describes herself, “An Oreo cookie wrapped in a house fire.”

Originally Florida-born, Rosenthal now resides in the heart of Chinatown while studying at Parsons University in Greenwich Village. She initially planned to study fashion business, but soon came to the conclusion that, even though a pathway into the fine arts may be a risk, it was where her true passion lay.

“My mom wasn’t too pleased, but my dad was excited because that was what he had wanted to do himself. Eventually they both realised that me making art was a wonderful way to express myself and work through my emotions,” she says. As a self-proclaimed romantic and sensitive soul, Rosenthal uses art as a tool to cope with the trials and tribulations of everyday life, one brush stroke at a time.

From paintings of the body, to break-up poetry, to nipples made of Modroc, there are few mediums the young artist is yet to experiment with. Rosenthal’s website, jorosenthal.com, also showcases multiple zines she has produced herself as well as those she has been featured in. Multidisciplinary by nature, pieces such as “To Drew”, a raw and vulnerable email to an ex-lover printed on silk, perfectly illustrates her pursuit of human emotional truth, through textiles, print, and prose.

In spite Rosenthal’s tender age of 22 (“and a half,” she’s quick to add), her work has been displayed in multiple galleries across the city. In February last year, she performed spoken word for Bookclub 10 at the Museum of Modern Art where she exposed her innermost intimate experiences in front of hundreds of tourists and art lovers alike.

Her modesty extends to her work, as she makes it very clear that the only validation she needs is from herself. “Making art for yourself is more important than success,” she says. “If you create things for yourself and are proud of them that’s more important than any gallery show or museum exhibition.” With self-acceptance being at the centre of her mind-set, fame and notoriety are not accolades she is in any hurry to obtain.

Although she will always be her sternest critic, a growing online following, including the likes of singer Blood Orange, AKA Dev Hynes, have shown continual support for her artistic endeavours. Armed with a charming wit, relatable woes, and obligatory hipster glasses, Rosenthal uses her online presence to capture hearts in their thousands. With her focus in keeping with themes such as feminism and liberation, activists and creatives have embraced her unconventional yet thought-provoking art.

“It’s okay to be emotional and intimate, [I want] to break down boundaries between artist and viewer,” she says, which she does most strikingly through her monologues, from heart-driven tales of relationships past to self-reflective diary entries. An extract from her piece “Performance B”, where she painted confessions about herself in her underwear, reads, “Don’t kiss me if you don’t mean it […] I’m too romantic, you have the wrong idea.” The wholly personal infrastructure of her work invites viewers into the depths of a mind that isn’t their own. It almost resembles an act of therapy; offloading emotional baggage and serving it up for the world to see. “For me, similar to the physical art that I make, I want my performances to be as honest as possible so I’ll do something along the lines of reading letters I wrote to people that I would never have the courage to actually say to their face.”

As well as the written word, Rosenthal uses classical means of paint and canvas in many of her projects. The key foundation to each piece, she says, are portraits. “I try to find different ways to create portraiture without using someone’s face but simply their essence.” Her conceptual approach isn’t dissimilar to that of her main influences, instillation artists Tracey Emin and Felix Gonzalez-Torres. “They physically broke apart traditions in portraiture. I use it as a springboard to create portraits that do not conform to the figure to show who or what they depict.” In turn, with the freedom to explore every realm of abstract and symbolic art, her style has the ability to be as uncensored and unapologetic as she wishes. She has done this in the form of faceless portraits, pressed flowers, and many more.

As someone who bares all in the name of art, how public is too public? Where do the lines blur between privacy and exhibitionism? With Rosenthal’s career built around displaying the depths of her most treasured and heart-breaking memories, nothing is an overshare. “[I want to] see just how personal I can get with an audience by opening up as much as possible. Through oil paint, performance, and instillation I communicate my journey.” Her official artist’s statement reads. “I want [my audience] to laugh and cry and want more from their overall experience—and in the process, to figure out what being Jo means in the world.”

Living in a world where the term ‘starving artist’ is truer than ever, Rosenthal has seen the bigger picture of the importance of art, and why pursuing it as a career can be mentally rewarding, even if it may not always be economically. “Don’t let anyone bring you down if you are excited and passionate about what you are doing. Who cares if only one person sees it if you feel like you gave your work the justice it deserves?” With a philosophy where personal involvement outweighs income, it’s not surprising that Rosenthal has thrived in New York’s passionate, and competitive artistic landscape.

Now, it’s all well and good being effortlessly marvelous, like Rosenthal clearly is, but for those only just dipping their toes into the daunting pool of unstable salaries, living off ramen noodles, and bearing indelible acrylic paint stains, what is it really like taking the leap to become a professional artist? And in New York of all places? The key is, unsurprisingly, do it because you love it. “As long as I am proud. That’s way more important to me than ever becoming famous,” she says. “If you never try, you’ll never know.

 

Word Count: 1066

Through their eyes: Karren Seymour

 

Instillation artist Karren Seymour is who many would describe to be an conventionally unconventional creative. Pom-poms on every accessory imaginable, paint splattered dungarees; she pays a distinctively Dexy’s Midnight Runners homage. The chopstick in her hair and the glitter around her eyes teleports you away from the drearily decorated coffee chain, into a realm she has made unapologetically hers.

Growing up in the rural county of Shropshire, Karren had humble beginnings. In turn, her departure from traditional country living to conceptual and alternative instillation art was by no means a predictable one. “My parents don’t really understand my art.” She confesses, with an air of blazé acceptance.

“Modern art has no voice in Shropshire, so moving to London was just always something I had to do.” Since trading in her shears and rake for fabric and paint, Seymour has been given the opportunity by fellow industry collectors and art enthusiasts to hold gallery showings across the capital. And despite the warm reception her controversial creations received, the science behind her chaos is one to be learnt, respected, and admired.

“It all starts with structure.” She urges, grinning over a mug of a chamomile tea no less. “I’ve always been fascinated by the shapes in structures, and how they can change the space they’re in.” Her work, spanning from backgrounds in architecture to interiors, have always kept a conscious loyalty to foundations of the surroundings, and reinventing the space. Seymour’s instillations ooze playfulness, with technicolored balloons, bubble wrap, metals, and wood. There is no material discriminated against, with few stones are left unturned in her construction process.

Colour began to dominate Seymour’s instillations, when what began as minimalist displays, slowly evolved into what became more abstract concepts, tuning into bright primary colours. “I want to make people feel something when they see my work, I choose to do that with colour.”

She urges that instillation art is equally as grueling and rewarding as the canvases on our walls. “They’re almost performances in themselves. They can be visually enjoyed in ways 2-demential art fails to be.”

The focus of her contemporary works are built around nostalgia and childhood youth. Her most recent venture incorporates donated toys and play equipment, as a means to explore playfulness that our everyday lives lose over time. “I want it to be fun. Everything I’m using is associated with a carefree happiness that we all wish we still had.” The instillation is for onlookers of all ages to enjoy and relate to the display. “Environmental artwork is meant to make audiences feel included. It can be very spiritual. Kusama inspires me most in that respect.”

Yayoi Kusama, arguably one of the best living artists, has captured the public’s attention to environmental art. The Japanese artist’s Mirror Room exhibition in Los Angeles’ art museum The Broad, has drawn in crowds of across the globe, lighting the way for up and coming artists of her kind. Seymour recalled particularly liking the artist’s attention to dots and the dimensional shift they can bring spaces.

Kusama took an infatuation with polka dots, that eventually led into avenues of a deeply rooted mental obsession, eventually using them indefinitely in her art. “She’s designed interactive rooms in galleries for people to add their own identity and flare.”

However, it seems the occasional audience participation is farthest Seymour is prepared to go in terms of collaboration. “I prefer to work alone because that way I don’t need to compromise my vision for anyone else.” She laughs, “I can be very selfish, because I know what’s in my head, and adding another oversized ego into the mix would only lead to disaster. At least for now.”

Timeline of Madonna’s 80’s stardom

1978: A star was born

Madonna was born in Louisiana, but soon dropped out of her local high school to pursue her dream of a career in dance in New York City

1982: MADONNA EVERYBODY

When releasing her debut single ‘Everybody’, the label reportedly refused to feature Madonna on the cover, as her prime demographic was targeted towards African American listeners.

1983: Debut album

Madonna’s self titled album was released July 27th in 1983, peaking to an impressive No. 8 in 1984 in the charts, The album included hits such as ‘Lucky Star’.

1984: MTV VMAs

Her performance at the VMAs has since been considered a pivotal moment in her career, wearing a now iconic lace dress as she sang ‘Like a Virgin’. The performance was suggestive and controversial, making her fan base growing incredibly fast.

1985: Desperately Seeking Susan

Madonna made her movie debut, starring alongside Rosanna Arquette in Desperately Seeking Susan, playing herself.

1986: True Blue

Her third album was dedicated to her then-husband Sean Pen, which took on mature topics such as pregnancy and heartache.

1989: Like a Prayer

One of Madonna’s most controversial videos to date, receiving hate and bad press for incorporating a heavily present Christian theme of the embodiment of Christ.

Does agriculture affect global warming more than fossil fuels?

Within the US food system, which is one of the most notorious in the word, recent studies have show that up to 12,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere inequivalent a year, which translates to up to 86% of all food-related substances to be greenhouse gas emissions. This amounts to just over 1/3 of the entire greenhouse emissions that are produced by us on earth. This qwarfs the also staggering amount of carbon dioxide released by fossil fuels, which last year racked up to equaling a gargantuan 9.7 billion tonnes.

Nature.com released statistics to forward the idea that agriculture was more of a leading contributor of global warming than the fossil fuel industry: “Fertilizer manufacturing [is the next most common contributor], which releases up to 575 megatonnes, followed by refrigeration, which emits 490 megatonnes. The researchers found that the whole food system released 9,800–16,900 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere in 2008, including indirect emissions from deforestation and land-use changes.”

It has also been disclosed that the manufacturing of the equipment and substances that keep them working such as oils, and pesticides further increase the impact up to between 25% and 30% of the U.S.’s collective carbon footprint. (statistics via treehugger.com)