Something to hold

We have a young, emerging artist in our midst who still has a fondness for that old-fashioned medium … of paper.

Yeah, Heather Von Steinhagen has a website, too. This just makes her Many Late Nights Summertime ‘Zine easier to see and contribute to for her friends and peers across the country.

But, paper, “is cool having it in your hands,” says Steinhagen. “It’s tactile. It is something to hold. “If I see it on a table at a business, I would pick it up and have a look through it.”

She knows it doesn’t make sense because the internet is more permanent than paper, but, “it could just be my brain thinking about this object in my hand that I can actually have and it is as precious as I make it.”

What “it” is, is a magazine (‘zine, she prefers) that is a showcase for artists of all abilities, of many media, to share their work with the public with few to no rules.

And no advertising. No subscriptions. No government grants.

The first issue, from June, is black and white 8.5” x 11” folded and stapled pages (recycled, of course). Otherwise, the reproductions are high quality and each page is proof of the organic and democratic ideals of the creators. “That’s how I work,” says Steinhagen. “Little to no planning, from the initial idea that gave me the motivation to follow-through. “Democratic? Yeah, it is all fair. It is democratic in the sense that everyone is respectful to the artistic process.”

Each issue begins with a callout for submissions. Then there is a meeting of the contributors, and anyone else who wants to help. “The meetings are more about the basics: how are we going to do this, how are we going to move it forward, how do we get people on board?” says Steinhagen. “We discuss the cover page, what’s going to be in it and how to get everyone involved even if you don’t make art.”

The front cover of the first issue is a collaboration of doodles from those attending the meeting.

Purposely missing from this meeting is a jury: “No jury,” says Steinhagen. “I think anything and everything should go in, provided it is respectful and provides forward momentum. “If I think there is something that shouldn’t be in there, I will ask someone else.”

But, she warns, “some of the stuff in the next issue is definitely not safe for work.”

That next issue pushes the boundaries in other ways, too. Contributors will include singers, songwriters, dancers and performance artists. “I don’t want it to be limited to visual art,” says Steinhagen. “It seems to be the go-to form of art because it is so easy to reproduce and display.”

Besides the website, she will be offering to fill up memory sticks for people and pass out some she already has. As for the print version, it will be in colour the next time. Colour printing and a website that will hold much more data costs money and, so far, it has been coming from her own pocket. And there is the donated graphic design skills of her stepmother, Heather Steinhagen (which is why the stepdaughter included a “Von” in her work).

So, Steinhagen and her team will try crowd sourcing to continue the work.

It is work that began in Montréal at Concordia University, where Steinhagen is studying Community Based Art Education to go along with her visual arts diploma from Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo.

It is a program that will train her to be an art teacher, but also encourages the promotion of art in a community and making it accessible for everyone.

Knowing that she would struggle with “summer brain”, she came up with the idea of a community-driven magazine. “My peers are totally gung ho and on board for it,” she says, “which is fun. “That’s what infl uenced me to have it online, because I have so many different people connected in different cities.”

To see the ‘zine online, or to submit art, go to . There is one more ‘zine in the works, then there will be a break until next summer while she returns to school.

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