Concept to print in 30 days: new arts and culture mag hits town

The first edition of Exhibitionist, Guelph’s new art and culture magazine, is out now

Just over a month ago, Zoey Ross posed an idea to their personal Instagram account.

The idea? Create a magazine highlighting the arts and culture scene for Guelph residents.

That idea has turned into a labor of love for Ross, Daniel Annis and the rest of the team at Exhibtionist Magazine, the release of their first printed copies.

“Within 31 days, we had a name, a logo, we had printers and they were in Zo’s driveway printed and ready to go,” Annis, the magazine’s art director, told GuelphToday.

In the mix of all that, Ross, the editor-in-chief, said they had to make the company, register it, open a bank account and find the funding necessary to print the first edition.

This, while finding people and stories to help fill the pages.

The monthly magazine features a collection of articles from many contributors, as well as submissions of art, interviews and advertising space and a calendar of events for the upcoming month, content Ross said “reflects the community.”

Content such as Fierce on the Farm and Welly Cask Fest, question and answer sessions with the likes of Louise Bordeaux (a Guelph-based streamer and content creator) and the band Snotty Nose Rez Kids, who played Orientation Week at U of G, submissions from local artists Paige Quinn, Mieke Boecker and more.

But why go from concept to the first edition so quickly?

“We realized there was a need for it,” answered the 31-year-old Ross, whose background centers around journalism.

“With the pandemic starting to wind down and people coming out a little bit more, it was just the time. There was a moment there, and the note was kind of spur of the moment, but I knew that when people reached out with interest , you can’t take that for granted. “

Annis said the urgency also aligned with the return of students to the U of G.

Entering the print space, Annis – who also runs a local illustration studio FutureProof Visuals – added they “have a really interesting niche” and a high value in what’s being created.

“I think people really want to read it cover to cover,” he said.

“We have this wonderful thing that people can hold and read, and kind of just disconnect and learn about what’s going on in the community. I think it’s very enriching for individuals, including myself.”

Plus, magazines run in the family for Annis. His father Gerald worked for Maclean-Hunter for decades, so it’s a bit of a nostalgic factor for him, being able to feel and smell the pages, a “lost art we’re trying to bring back.”

The response, they said, has been amazing, to the point where they feel not enough were printed to meet the demand.

“Almost every single shop and cafe and bar we have gone into was very excited about it, and more than willing to have a stack in their shelf,” Annis said.

Copies of Exhibitionist are available at various locations on the U of G campus and other spots around town.

As for the name Exhibitionist, it came from their brainstorming sessions and going to various local park names, searching for a name with a Guelph feel to it.

Exhibitionist spawned from Exhibition Park, and stuck out most for them, despite the “sultry” connotation they admit the name has.

“The actual definition is somebody who acts in extravagant ways to attract attention,” Annis said.

“We really feel that that is very telling of people who live in the city, creatives who live in the city of all different facets of art, are really just trying to find their own voices and find their own audiences.

“We just want to help with that.”

In addition, the magazine has a digital component. ExhibitionistMagazine.com will have everything the printed version has, plus extended interviews and videos. There’s also a Kickstarter campaign.

They started at 2,000 copies for the September edition. The goal is to bump that up monthly, hitting 10,000 copies for December.

From there? They’d love to move into other cities down the line, in and out of Canada, and branch out into other forms of media, like podcasting.

But with that in mind, they “don’t want to lose sight of Guelph” and a big part of it is exploring the happenings at U of G.

“We cannot cover the arts and culture scene in the city without acknowledging all the cool things that are going on at U of G,” Ross said.

“There’s been a disconnect there for a long time. We want to help bridge that gap, as we’re shining a light on the entire scene.”

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