Founded by Redia Soltis in 2009, 01 Magazine is something of an underground on-line phenomenon. Working with Jennilee Marigomen, Photo Editor/Artistic Director, and collaborating with a far-reaching network of artists, designers, writers and other creative-types, Soltis has curated a publication that combines fashion, art, music and culture in inventive and inspiring ways including lookbooks, photo essays, interviews, and art reviews. Published quarterly(ish) and based in Vancouver, 01’s influence is international and many of their readers are based in New York and France. Their current issue features an article on artist Robert Arndt’s surreal and enigmatic video A Line Meant in Passing, beautifully shot spreads of His and Hers closets (a regular feature revealing the interesting contents of someone’s wardrobe), and an interview with reclusive art star and Canada’s representative to the Venice Biennale this year, Steven Shearer. They have also scored a Q&A with the much-in-demand curator renowned for his own interviews, Hans Ulrich Obrist. We turned the tables on 01 and asked them to answer a few questions about their publication, which won’t be underground for long:
H&E: What was your impetus for starting 01 Magazine?
Redia Soltis: One of the reasons I started 01 Magazine was because I felt a bit complacent and wanted to challenge myself. Although I didn’t go to art school, I was one of those people that was ‘guilty by association’ and had a lot of very talented friends around me whose work I admired. It all came together very organically and with the best intentions. It seemed like my friends were up for a challenge too and were very supportive for the project to go into fruition. It was a bit of a social experiment and a bit of a therapeutic solution that became viral quickly.
The magazine is now curated with my good friend photographer Jennilee. There have been many nocturnal hours with bottomless cups of coffee spent compiling and editing issues! All the effort has always been well spent. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing your ideas come to life.
H&E: Your magazine seems to look at art, fashion, music and popular culture as one fluid spectrum – are you consciously trying to break down boundaries between these disciplines?
RS: No not at all. The features/blog posts that you see are just based on taste. There are no real rules or boundaries for the contributor posts. All the contributors that blog or write features for us are involved in art. We pick a lot of the contributors because they are fearless in how they approach their work. A few people have said that our magazine was a bit rebellious but that was never the intention. We have always approached the project lightheartedly. I do think however that all the things you mention (art, fashion, music and popular culture) complement one another and are all topics that the Jennilee and I are very interested in.
The magazine however does come out with a theme in mind and a lot more time and energy goes towards generating content for the magazine element of 01, whereas the blog posts are more spontaneous.
H&E: You have a very particular aesthetic visible in many of your photo shoots – is this something you can describe a bit?
RS: Ninety percent of the photos that you see in our magazine are shot with film rather than digital. I think there is something more fulfilling about using a point-and-shoot camera. It’s a lot harder to capture a photo that is in the moment rather than one that is staged, and make it beautiful. With the photography that you see in our magazine we are trying to translate something that is not too contrived and simply just looks natural. I find sometimes people have the best ideas when they decide to do a shoot, but they over-style and overkill the idea to a point where the concept gets lost. It’s good to work within your limits…if that makes sense in any way.
H&E: Are you hoping to eventually launch a hardcopy, print magazine? Do you feel there are limitations to your publication because it is on-line or do you think this forum affords you more opportunities?
RS: Well I think there is a definite possibility for print in the future. It’s something that is asked quite often by publishers and friends. There is nothing better than holding a physical thing in your hand rather than just seeing it on the internet. It’s definitely more engaging and real. So I battle with this idea in my mind often. I think the reason we did these 01 Magazine travelling group shows (Toronto, NY, and Vancouver) was because we wanted to prove that point which in a way is quite ironic because we are an internet magazine.
I do love the internet. I have embraced it fully in my life. However sometimes people treat it like it’s almost human (Facebook for example.) It’s good to take a step back and realize that it is a machine that has no feelings or emotions. That’s when you know you need to go hang out with your friends!
I don’t think that having an on-line magazine is limiting at all. In fact news travels faster and you can get your content all over the world by just pressing the ‘publish’ button. In a lot of ways it is more convenient and resourceful, and less wasteful.
H&E: How did you select the artists that you presented in the 01 travelling exhibition? Can you tell us a bit about the show?
RS: Jennilee and I picked the artists together thoughtfully when we put the exhibition together. Our show was very photo-heavy (just like our magazine) but we did have other artists of different disciplines. If it weren’t for these artists our magazine wouldn’t exist today so it was nice to pay homage to them. We felt it was a way to share an extension of the magazine with others in an intimate manner where the audience actually gets to see the physical work rather than just on-line. All the artists that we selected had been featured in our magazine and were mainly from New York, with a few from surrounding States and Canada. We felt very lucky to have been able to work and still work with flourishing talents. Our show traveled from Toronto to New York where it showed at this cool little pop up gallery hosted by the girls at NO6, and had its final showing in Vancouver at the Interurban Gallery.
At first we weren’t quite sure where we were going to show in Vancouver. We had been approached by a few spaces but it just didn’t feel right because most of the places were too small to showcase 40 artists’ work. We wanted the space to be perfect so that it represented the artists and the integrity of the magazine properly. We actually sat on the idea for quite some time. It was serendipitous in a way when we got approached by our friends Scott and Shira, the Directors of Interurban, to host our 01 group show. We didn’t hesitate to say yes. We loved the fact that the beautiful space was in a historical heritage building, was in a gritty part of town, kind of a renegade gallery ran by artists in music and art, and that it was donated by the Portland Society which houses most of the lower east side of Vancouver. It was a great way to support all the factors and also raise awareness too. We couldn’t have asked for better representation.