September 19, 2013

Zine: TASTY

An interview with the creators of TASTY, a Brooklyn-based art magazine.

Before I sat down to email with the creators of TASTY, Samantha York and Matt Yu, I took some time to sit at my desk and inspect the exterior of the very first issue. I found myself admiring the simple things like its spine and subtle color gradient on the cover. I realized that the very design and feel of TASTY is impressively... tasty. Sitting alone on a desk or a coffee table, it begs you to pick it up. Thumbing through the pages of the first issue, with it's theme of Beauty, brought so many new pieces of work and new artists to my attention and I'm thrilled to see what the second issue brings. With the second issue of TASTY coming out next week on September 26, I thought now would be the perfect time to talk with them how TASTY came to be, the importance of community in the art world, and learn about the upcoming issue!

THE LE SIGH: Hi Sam! Hi Matt! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me about TASTY. Right before I sat down to write you both, I was sitting at my desk holding the first issue of TASTY and was admiring how the aesthetic appeal of the zine is very true to its name (which in the age of false advertising is appreciated). My first question for you both is introductory, I'm interested in what led you to want to publish an art zine? Was there a specific AHA moment that lead to TASTY's inception? 

Samantha York: I started daydreaming at the end of 2012 about way of combining all of my creative friends from different branches of my life into one conscience community of thought. Matt and I were out to dinner one night discussing how we knew all these wonderfully talented people and decided that we could become a platform for their work while simultaneously creating our own environment by asking them to create new work for us based on a set theme. We both got really excited and the idea started snowballing into affect. Matt and I quickly realized that we were a great fit as work partners and all of a sudden we were making a zine! We chose the printed format because there is something so special about being able to hold someone's work in your hands, not just see it hung in a gallery or online. The idea was to create a cross between a DIY art zine and a fine art book. I must say the bulk of the initial design process goes to Matt, so you can thank him for the Tasty cover art on the first issue.

Matt Yu: I was working a lot of digital, internet stuff for my day job and found myself at a creative lull working in the startup world. With TASTY, I was drawn to the idea of building something rooted in the real world, with people I love and respect - something that I would be excited to see grow and transform. We were conscious about applying a high level of design to TASTY in order to create the best platform we could for our artists. We saw it as a way to take a DIY zine and push it towards the aesthetic of a commercial fine art book, as Sam was saying, and I think we've positioned TASTY in that interesting overlapping area.

TLS: Despite showcasing a wide variety of artists and contributors, there is a special feeling of cohesiveness to the first issue. The images, words, design, the feel of the paper... it all fits together in a way that feels communal. I suppose this could be attributed to each issue showcasing a different theme, with artists creating original works for the publication. Why did you choose to explore "Beauty" in the first issue? Do you feel as though the theme came through clearly in the final selection of works? What sorts of the themes are you hoping to explore in future issues?

SY: Beauty is a concept that is broad yet extremely subjective - everyone has their own perception of its meaning. One of the benefits of being a platform for all art mediums in that we got a huge range of response to what beauty is, which we feel was represented very well in the first issue.

MY: We were expecting a variety of styles and mediums in our submissions based on the artists we asked to contribute, so we tailored the design to be the thread that tied the issue together, from the cover to the grid to the type styles. We were very meticulous in deciding how to display the pieces and in what order. The inspiration for the approach comes from the art gallery and museum world - group exhibitions and catalogs in particular - which I've had the privilege to work on in the past. We wanted to capture an element of that curated experience on the printed page, showcasing the work of individual artists, while establishing an identity for the theme and the zine itself.

SY: In the future, we hope to explore more abstract and emotional themes. Our second issue's theme is "separation," which strikes an emotional chord in most people. And who knows? The third issue's theme could be as simple as the color purple.

MY: We had talked about setting up a "Theme Suggestion" box at our next launch party. You can always email your suggestions to info@tastyzine.com and we'll consider it! We've been the curators of the first two issues, but this could be a way to involve the TASTY community more in the future.

TLS: When I first thought of "separation," it struck me as inherently emotionally. It's incredible how much a single word can invoke both intellectually and artistically. I immediately began to identify all the places in my life that separation shows itself. I was even inspired by you two to make a mix with the theme of separation for The Le Sigh! What are your plans for for the opening for the second issue? Are there any artists in particular whose work really stood out for this issue?

SY: We are having the next opening on September 26th at a gallery in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. We have a few great video pieces for the show as well as some wonderful writing and visual work. Hope Dickens is a Brooklyn-based female artist who I am very excited about working with! Her submission to this issue consists of a video and a few self portrait stills of her alone on a mountain eating flowers. Separation is something we all struggle with and react differently to, her response is one I found beautiful, strange, and whimsical. Heather Strange is another talented female Brooklyn-based artist who has submitted photographs to both issues of TASTY and we exhibited her work at our last show. I am excited to have her in this issue as her work deals primarily with light which in and of itself is a form of separation.

Check out TASTY and attend the opening of the second issue September 26 in Brooklyn.

Written by Marisa Dabice