Saturday, 30 October 2010

Interview 13

OWT Creative is comprised of five young designers: Ste Beed, Jon Hannan,Katrina Currie, Sarah Stapleton and Ben Kither, based in Manchester, UK.

Please tell us a little something about how OWT Creative was formed and what inspired you to start your publication.

The five of us that make up OWT creative met whilst studying Design & Art Direction at Manchester School of Art. After witnessing a lot of our friends jump ship from Manchester and head off to London we decided that we wanted to create a platform for ourselves and other young creatives up here in the northwest.

We wanted to prove that you can be creative up here in the Northwest and you don't have to vanish off to London to be successful. We're not deluded, we all know London is the biggest and best of everything really but everyone likes an underdog.

The reason we decided to create a publication is because we believe in the medium of print. People will argue that print is a dying entity and that we all have to embrace a fully digital future, but we think we’re overloaded these days by flash design blogs and portfolio websites that can be clicked through at pace. Having something tangible to hold and feel adds an extra dimension, the feel of the stock and the delightful printing errors that make each one individual. In 50 years time when today’s equivalent of the floppy disk is no longer readable you will always be able to pick up a zine.

The zine is clearly promoting 'creatives' from the Northwest of England. Why do you think this area of the country has such a rich zine tradition?
We think one reason the Northwest has a good tradition because there has been so much in its history that provokes the DIY art and music culture up here. Manchester was at the forefront of the Punk and Rave scenes (to name just two) and these scenes go hand in hand with zine culture. It seems that wherever you have such a rich music heritage the sub-culture of the fanzine readers and writers follow and The Northwest was no exception. Of course this is without even considering the sporting heritage and associated supports that exists here with several of the country’s major sporting teams, and Liverpool FC.

How does your blog supplement what the zine is doing?
At the moment the blog is there to let people know what we're up with all our little developments that we make day to day, from being featured on a website to being stocked in a new shop. We also like to feature work that resonates with us, be it music, documentaries, exhibitions or anything else for that matter.

As we progress we want to use the blog to promote the people who submit their work to us. Our first Issue had just 5 contributors, the second has 11, we want all those extra people to be able to say we helped them in some way other than putting their work in the zine. By submitting work to us, they help us grow, diversify and reach more people, we want the zine and the blog to do the same for them. As we said earlier, part of the reason to set OWT up was to promote the arts in The Northwest and the blog is just as important to us as the actual zine is in that respect. The blog also provides us with a much larger audience than can be reached with the zine alone. For instance our blog has regular readers from the USA and Canada, places where the zine would be unlikely to penetrate on it’s own.

What fanzine would you recommend that we should read and why?
We're not sure it can be considered a fanzine, maybe just a zine, but the WAFA collective zines are full of really inspirational stuff from Anthony Zinonos and Co.

Another Manchester based Fanzine is one69a.... good quality, current articles + entirely screen-printed with a poster in the middle - win!

We'd also recommend the work from the guys at Nous Vous, really nice stuff. Really nice work and they’re northern, which helps.

Peace OWT.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Interview 12

Interview 12
Wolfwind Collective is an independent publishing and distribution collective founded by Phillip Hawkey and Rob Jones.

Tell me a little something about who is involved in Wolfwind Collective and how and why you came together.
We didn't make it a conscious decision to be in a collective. It kind of developed from just working together at Uni and hanging out to what it has developed into within the past month, which has been amazing. We have been given great opportunities to meet and work with other creative people in the industry and held our own zine convention.

How has the zine helped to develop your artistic practices?
A lot of the pieces featured in the zines are from projects that we've been working on so it's helpful to look at my work and assess what I think was working, what I'd like to take further and what maybe didn't work. Also, I think we feed off of each others ideas and feel comfortable giving criticism on each others work when putting together each issue.

What does the zine allow you to do that working in the mainstream can't?
The zine is like our world that we can do anything we want I guess its freedom. If Phil wanted to do the next issue and put no images in and decided he wanted to put his poems in that world be fine. Every issue is something new and exciting so we don't have any art director who's expecting something that we have done before and wanting it again. It's our ideas.

In what ways has the Wolfwind Collective supported other zine producers? What are your plans for the future?
We held our own art and zine fair called 'MADE' in our town of Tunbridge Wells which was the first one Tunbridge Wells has ever seen with the aim of showing that London isn't is quite the 'be all and end all' thing and, that events such as these can happen anywhere and also to help local artists/zine lovers who find it hard to get certain events in London as well. Also our newly decorated website is housing a few independent zines from other collectives/zinesters. We are kind of trying to build up a little distro of zines and along the way we can help others by spreading the word. We both have ideas constantly floating around, so we are planning on doing another zine event in our hometown at some point next year as well as doing a few exhibitions around the country and of course, more zines. Hopefully we will have a few more ready for the Alternative Press zine convention in November.