Momma Tried, a kickstarter-funded magazine, finally arrived in my mailbox last week after perilous publishing efforts by the production team.
Kickstarting a project
On March 5, 2013, the Momma Tried development team opened their kickstarter to donations. For those of you who aren’t aware, kickstarter is a crowd-funding platform that gives space to artists to pitch their projects and accept donations. I try to make a habit out of browsing kickstarter. (Who knows, one day I might be at the mercy of kickstarter backers!)
For 25$, backers could get a copy of the magazine sent to them. I think it’s obvious which backing level I went with. The project raised over 1,000$ more than intended.
The waiting game
The project was funded, so I expected the magazine to arrive in my hands not so long after backing ended. Unfortunately, the team ran into a few bumps and hitches. Their original printer found out there would be pictures of naked people (heaven forbid) and refused the project. So the team had to scramble to find another printer.
Thankfully, backers were updated at every milestone. I was at first really annoyed by the printer dropping the project, but I was glad they let me know. I honestly thought it would get to me sooner, but hey, I can’t complain about an awesome end product.
The magazine rings up 161 pages. When I first pulled it from the envelope, I marveled at it’s matte covers and thick, matte pages. The content is image heavy.
Between the pages
A few copy-heavy pages carry stories and articles, but for the most part, we’re seeing pictures accompany the text. A three-column standard perpetuates throughout the sections. Even images abide by this grid. Two story exceptions exist for the sake of feature design, but do not apply for the entire stories.
Honestly, the lack of layout diversity bugged me a bit. I was expecting some bastard rule. In addition, the text ran really close to the inside of the page. This is a problem we’re addressing in this issue of my school’s magazine by increasing the margins on the inside of the pages. I feel like Momma Tried could have benefitted from adjusting their margins.
The text doesn’t line up on the first column on pg.73 (the page opposing the collage). The baseline grid is offended! Considering how well obeyed it is throughout the magazine, this instance stood out to me as notable. Remember kids, baseline grid is important for reasons.
I loved the “A.L.I.C.E.” piece by Janai Sreenivasan. Growing up, I spent quite a bit of time on Instant Messengers. (I still do, but I used to too.) Anyways, a phenomonon from the late 90s-early millennium was AI chat buddies. These are ‘bots’, or programs that run in messengers and can respond to comments by formulas and previous interactions. The modern equivalent would be Cleverbot.
This piece was a question and answers section with an AI program named Alice. The chat log actually dates from 2006. I didn’t expect to find nostalgia in this magazine, but this piece hit home. The conversation between the AI and the user reflects conversations I’ve probably had with AIs.
The aforementioned A.L.I.C.E spread was accompanied by a collage by Kazia Pe. I’m a fan of well-orchestrated collages. This stems from recognition of how hard they are to put together. My collages end up looking like a cross between a John Greene-esque romance description and a Glamour magazine fashion layout.
Those things aren’t bad, it’s just they aren’t what I’m going for. Anyways, I really dug this collage. I dug up her facebook and blogspot pages for your viewing pleasure. Warning: she aint got no english so if you’re lookin’, it’s for the arts alone (unless you know Polish).
Another collage artist with a piece in Momma Tried was Michael Pajon. His work is featured on page 26 and embodies his historical style. I’m really interested in the ways he using historical images and layers them and uses muted colors to tell stories.
Pajon is from Chicago and has both a facebook and a tumblr. I was pretty excited to learn about his tumblr. I’ve been reblogging stuff similar to his for a while and I’m honestly shocked he doesn’t have more of an online fanbase. I prefer his work to many of the photographs in Momma Tried. Who am I kidding, I would buy a magazine that features his work and then rip out every page and hang it on my walls (and then proceed to fail terribly trying to recreate his style).
I’ve never considered collages worthy of magazine space. I’m thankful for Momma Tried getting me to challenge that paradigm. These pieces were the perfect amount of edgy and creative. It would be cool to see the photographers and collage artists collaborate.
Because the project was funded by backers, advertisers weren’t necessary. The editing team used the ad-free environment to explore what it means to be a culture magazine. As the development team stated on their kickstarter,
Momma Tried seeks to explore the tropes, manipulations, and possibilities of this medium. Through an aspect of the magazine that we call “disruptive content,” we’re partnering with artists to create original and appropriation based satirical adverts that deconstruct the nature of advertising, while simultaneously embodying the essential visual role of magazine ads.
Basically, we see mock advertisements throughout the magazine. Like your typical news-stand fashion bible, the zine opens with four two-page ads. The images, color schemes and phrases mock ad campaigns through subject substitution. Their intended statements are unclear and require a bit of meditation for them to be appreciated–something I’m not eager to give when I’m so used to skipping these kinds of pages.
My favorite ad was on the last page. It’s for the product “Tampops”, and it’s exactly what you think: a peppermint-patterned pop sticks out of a pouty red mouth and has a long cotton string attached, not unlike a tampon. If I could, I would buy a poster-sized copy of this image. It’s very stick-it-to-the-man, unforgiving, blatant sexualization of menstruation. +10 cool points to whoever designed that.
That was nice
For a ‘conceptual nudie’ magazine, this magazine offers lots of diversity in content. There is nudity, but it’s not overbearing. The stories hold their own and are interesting reads. I’m looking forward to a second issue.