Thursday, July 24, 2008

Notebook launch #6*

Featuring a stronger collective of artists with every passing issue, Notebook Magazine, now in its sixth issue, has certainly come a long way. Beginning as a side project for Steven Teeuwsen, who charged ahead a year and a half ago with camera in tow and magazine publishing at bay, Notebook is now printing more than 1500 copies per issue and beginning to distribute nationally through Magazines Canada.

What began as a project stemming from ex-pats in Taiwan, where Teeuwsen lived on and off for three years teaching english, Notebook has grown into a full-fledged arts collective, showcasing the activity of Edmonton’s visual arts community.

Cover Image courtesy of Notebook

Pushing itself as more of a presentation and collaboration of new works than an editorially driven publication, Notebook has hosted works and exchanges between their pages by the local likes of Andrea Lefebreve, Ashley Andel, Jenny Keith Hughes and Fish Griwkowsky. Although not all the artists stay, there is at least this full colour testament to their contributions to Edmonton’s artistic community. With artists interviewing each other and ongoing collaborations unfolding between the issues and possibly online, Teeuwsen couldn’t be happier about the direction of the magazine and its content.

“People are excited that it’s a local project, that this work is getting done around the corner,” he says. “A lot of people feel like Edmonton doesn’t have it going on as far as arts and culture, but people keep coming back because it’s inspiring to be part of a city to have this going on.”

Stressing that the magazine makes visual arts more accessible for those who don’t get out as much, especially into galleries, the bright glossy pages serves as a celebrated record of lesser-seen Edmonton arts and culture.

As a full time endeavour by Teeuwsen as managing editor, art director, ad sales and the guy you see behind the table at every farmer’s market and craft fair in the city, he remains extremely awed about the project and its process.

“I’m so happy to be doing this, and it is sometimes quite stressful, but I used to be quite stressed at a job I didn’t care about. Now I’m doing exactly what I want to do and I’m setting up my own days and I’m so happy to be doing it full time,” he says, but admits that he is still learning a lot about ad sales, layout and distribution. “I’m just hoping it keeps on growing. If I saw something like this coming in from Vancouver or Calgary, I would certainly pick it up. I have a fairly strong base in Edmonton and we’ll just see how it does nationally.”

*First published in Vue Weekly, July 24 to 30, 2008


Anonymous said...

I want to support Edmonton as much as possible and while this magazine is exciting in ways you've mentioned, I still end up feeling a bit unsatisfied. Obviously, because Edmonton doesn't have a lot of these projects, something like this almost inevitably ends up being the only option and therefore unfairly bearing a lot of the criticism. So without sounding like a big jerk, I'd like to say that I really wish the profiles were a bit more challenging. Something beyond asking artists why they like to draw, etc.

Karen C

Steve said...

I appreciate the comment Karen - you're definitely not the only person who feels this way. I've been giving a fair bit of thought to the question of how to get the interviews to go deeper while keeping the magazine accessible to people who haven't studied art. I really like the idea of artists interviewing each other, but few of them actually ask probing or challenging questions (myself included). An obvious answer would be to have people who are already writing about art in Edmonton involved with the interview process - people who actually get paid... hahaha. We'll see... I'm going to have another go at contributors interviewing each other in issue 7. If it doesn't work out, then it may be time for another change in format.

On a side note. I'm in Halifax right now and the two stores that are selling it here have sold out. yeah!

-Steven Teeuwsen