25 Apr 2017
On the last interview we made on this blog, we talked with the founders of Principia Magazine, so we really wanted our next interview to be with the team behind our favourite art & illustration independent magazine: Minchō Magazine.
We are lucky to know the founders of Minchō from its early stages (we actually were advertisers on the firt issue), so it was about to made them a proper interview. We hope you enjoy it!
Tell us a bit about Minchō: How were the project and magazine born?
Minchō was born from a previous editorial project, Linea Curve magazine. After the sudden closing of this publication on 2013, we started another one with the same goals: to give more visibility to the great artists behind cartoons, newspaper comics, publicity, music album covers, children books, and some contemporary icons unkown to most people.
And we did this with a new attitude, a new team, more focus on design, and riskier contents. All to make Minchō become the proof that second parts can be awesome.
Who's behind Minchō? Tell us about the founding team and collaborators.
The founding team of Minchō are Francisco Carrasco, who graduated in Fine Arts in AKI ArtEZ (Enschede, Holland), and was editor at the illustration Magazine Linea Curve, and Natalia Giménez, Art Historian specialized in contemporary art with a wide experience in teaching and cultural management. But when we talk about team, we must talk about our wide network of collaborators. Minchō is a reality because technology enabled us to connect with great professionals from all over the globe, and because of their personal bet and effort, and also our romanticism (and sometimes lack of pragmatism) that keeps us learning and growing strong.
What is your production process? How is each issue of Minchō cooked and built?
Despite what it may seem after seeing the careful design, bilingual edition, and international distribution, everything except printing and sewing is done at home! So we could say the "cooking" of each issue is almost a literal thing, as each issue is created both in the office and while we are cooking spaghetti on our home's kitchen.
Aside of working together, we are a couple, so we live in a non-stop brainstorming. Each issue is impatiently created from a continous questioning and our need to share our views on illustration and graphic design. On this personal "vomit" that we call Minchō, you will find a lot of our passions, mainly about contemporary art and independent publishing.
We have also been organizing the stuff we want to show, making each issue thematic, and linking the different sections of Minchō (illustration, animation, comic, design, or children albums) to the cultural present with humor, psychedelia or forklore representation as the conducting thread.
One of the things that we think make Minchō unique is that Illustration, Animation, and Comic are dealt as what they really are: Art. Why this disciplines are often though as "minor"? How can we end with this stereotypes? What do you look for on the artists your feature on the magazine?
This is because traditional art theory, where fine arts are distinguished from the applied arts, or "minor arts". There is still a long road to walk in order to undo this, withs efforts going back as early as the Arts & Crafts movement, from a century and a half ago. Even in the 60s, the Pop artists introduced advertising design or comic books in their work, with a lot of controversy from some part of the art critique. That's why we devoted our section "The New Contemporary" to show up this intersections between art and illustration/comic/animation to help end the cultural hierarchies.
About dealing with illustration as art, we do it because it deserves to have its own theorical framework, which is usually linked to art history (drawing is the common ground of all visual arts). But we have to bear in mind illustration is a discipline tightly coupled to design and market, though. Illustration must build its own space, as graphic design did in the 80s, and Minchō is born to help to this process of analyzing illustration from a solid critic framework.
Minchō is spreading internationally, not only on selling points, but also on collaborators. How did you manage to reach so many people abroad?
The good thing about a small, independent project, is that it can be more versatile and has more room to adapt or being creative. From the very first moment we knew the magazine had to be global project, as very few publications like this exist internationally. We were conscious that thanks to the online media (and Drawfolio knows also a bit of this), old frontiers of mainstream are falling down, art ideas travel faster, niches spread, and quality prevails.
There is a lot of management work behind this, though. International distribution is not an easy road to go down, and being on fairs and events is key to get yourself known.
And last but not least: What is being cooked right now at Minchō? What new stuff can we expect?
The activity of Minchō Press goes round the magazine, which is itself a mutant project that re-invents itself each two years with a new editorial design. But we are also open to collaborations that can boost the project, so you will also find us on contemporary art fairs or as teachers on illustration courses.
We are a bit unmpredictible, so if we dared to publish the latest from Yuichi Yokoyama, who knows what can be next! We've got plenty of ingredients on the fridge and the stoves are on.
Thank you a lot, Natalia and Francisco!
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