Do you have a ‘bad day’ purchase? Something you don’t normally allow yourself because it contradicts your budget; something over-the-top and seductive, which you find yourself holding in the line of the checkout when you hadn’t intended to go into the store. On a recent sub-par day, I began reading the 18th issue of Montreal-based Editorial Magazine as soon as I stepped out of the bookshop, then went on to finish it later that night while goggling and laughing through mouthfuls of a £3 lahmacun.
Essentially an art magazine with a curiosity for deviating eccentrics, it beguiles with a kooky sense of humour — it’s one of those titles that always looks like so much fun to make, and you definitely imbibe its pages with just as much giggly delight. “Guaranteed to build strong imaginations”, their latest issue shows an array of artist profiles and musician Q&As, among fashion shoots that evoke a sense of magical realism; you’ll also find quizzes, an ‘interview’ with a woodear mushroom, and a shudderingly-accurate satirical comic about selfishness by Walter K. Scott.
So who’s the mastermind behind this cosmically creative magazine? Find out below in our chat with editor-in-chief Claire Milbrath.
The artists Editorial Magazine showcase always have a strangeness about them. Do you have set guidelines for who to profile, or is it more of a ‘Wow, I have to talk to this person’ type of thing?
We don’t have any guidelines for who we feature, or how they’re featured, which leaves it pretty open. If the artists seem strange maybe it’s because I’m drawn to people making work that is funny or scary. Or maybe all artists are a bit strange, hehe. Usually it’s a visual attraction at first, I see a piece of work I love and then learn about the person who made it.
Ambera Wellman, for example, creates really weird compositions that attract visceral responses from her viewers…
Ambera is a great artist; I’ve loved watching her painting style develop from porcelain paintings to more wild, erotic ones. Rebecca Storm was the perfect person to interview Ambera because they both seem to have some kind of fetish for that visceral ‘grossness.’ And they both experience ASMR, so it was interesting when Ambera led the conversation there. My favourite quote from the feature is, “I think I paint because I want to know what I’m thinking about.”
Besides doing the magazine, you also paint and illustrate for The New York Times (no big deal!) What’s your day-to-day like at the office?
I love hearing about people’s day-to-day routines. Mine is a little chaotic because I run the office out my bedroom where I also do my painting/illustration work. My room is like a microcosm for my brain; dirty, cluttered, paintings drying against stacks of magazines and boxes of clothes piled up to the ceiling. I wake up around noon and work on Editorial stuff til around dinnertime and then I usually spend the evening working on art.
What did you watch/read/listen to during the making of this issue?
I usually can’t read for pleasure when I’m putting together a new issue. This last issue I listened to a lot of early ‘mood music’, like Jackie Gleason, who pretty much invented the genre after seeing a Clark Gable movie and deciding all Americans needed the help of an orchestra to stimulate their love life. I also polished off about five seasons of Downton Abbey.
Did you go anywhere spectacular for the issue? I’m thinking of Victoria Dailey’s fabulously print-besieged house (above).
Her house is so fab. I actually didn’t go there myself, or anywhere outside of my three-block radius. I produced that shoot from a wintery Montreal thanks to a really great team in LA.
What was the freaky sea creature you scored the most for in the quiz inside this issue?
I got Portuguese Man O’ War because I’m vicious and beautiful lol. What did you get? I love hearing how people scored for it. My friend Kate Howells, who made the quiz with Madeline Glowicki, is a scientist who works for Bill Nye The Science Guy. She’s always trying to find ways to make science education more fun/accessible and I think this cosmo-style quiz really works.
I was The Giant Isopod — always 100% chilled. So after 18 issues, do you have any wise words for people starting their own mags?
That’s a good question… “Don’t cry over spilt milk!” I think you have to be a bit pragmatic, and less precious, when you’re producing a print publication without funding. I cried once when I found a typo in the magazine but now I type with my eyes closed. Just kidding 😉
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