Myraha Harmon: A Conversation
Designer/Writer: Terrence Theus Editor: Ray Karaczun & Erin Tilley
From Vision to Process with Dylan Cleary
Designer/Writer: Dylan Wilson Editor: Rachel Shepard
Who is Magge Gagliardi?
Bonsai Trees (is a band)
Jeri Evan: An Artist Through & Through
Designer/Writer: Ray Karaczun Editor: Caelan Watson
Designer/Writer: Oumar Sokhna Editor: Ray Karaczun
Talking Photos with Bruce Wahl
The Prints & Process of Neil Bringham
Designer/Writer: James Kava Editor: Ray Karaczun
Designer/Writer: Anna Giorgio Editor: Ray Karaczun & Erin Tilley
Creating Community Through Ceramics
Designer/Writer: Anna King Editor: Ray Karaczun & Erin Tilley
Designer/Writer: Haylee Skoog Editor: Ray Karaczun & Erin Tilley
Designer/Writer: Ciarra Chasse Editor: Ray Karaczun & Erin Tilley
Set in Motion!
Creativity of the Bonehaus
Print is Alive with Beau Wing
Designer/Writer: Chloe Kinteris Editor: Ray Karaczun & Erin Tilley Designer/Writer: Ryan Crowe Editor: Ray Karaczun & Erin Tilley Designer: Caelan Watson Writer: Dylan Wilson Editor: Rachel Shepard
Layout Designer Ciarra Chasse
Hell is Full of Mushrooms
Sex & Sin
Where it Begins
Reclaiming My Curls
My Cow Friend
The Poets Are Liars
Designer: Caelan Watson Illustrator: Caelan Watson Writer: Caelan Watson Editor: Ray Karaczun Designer: Caelan Watson Illustrator: Geo Sylvester Writer: Hazel Nichol Editor: Ray Karaczun
Designer: Ray Karaczun Illustrator: Elise Stanbury Writer: Sophia Franzik Editor: Beverly Banks Designer: Chloe Kinteris Illustrator: Chloe Kinteris Writer: Sasha Davis Editor: Anny Chap Designer: Jamie Kinteris Illustrator: Jamie Kinteris Writer: Hyacinth Tauriac Editor: Xhoana Cuni
Designer: Kaitlyn Johnson Illustrator: Kaitlyn Johnson Writer: Sophia Franzik Editor: Rachel Shepard Designer: Ciarra Chasse Illustrator: Regan Atchue Writer: Rachel Shepard Editor: Anny Chap Designer: Chloe Kinteris Illustrator: Samantha Sposito Writer: Emily Hamm Editor: Xhoana Cuni Designer: Erin Tilley Illustrator: Tran Quoc Huy Le Writer: Sophia Franzik Editor: Beverly Banks Designer: Erin Tilley Illustrator: Erin Tilley Writer: E.V. Crudele Editor: Emily Hong
to our reade rs This is a special issue of TARNISHED because it is the 10th anniversary issue of the magazine, and it is the first issue post-COVID where we got to work together in person again. As always, TARNISHED is composed of a variety of pieces ungoverned by a singular theme. This issue is composed of features, various pieces of student artwork, creative writing, and poetry.
We also want to thank the Publication Design Course for coming together and contributing illustrations for the cover and introduction pages. We are looking forward to the limitless possibilities in continuing our work on the TARNISHED board for the remainder of our time here at Lasell. We can’t wait to see what we come up with next!
We would like to thank all of the people that played a role in the making of this publication. We would like to especially thank Professor Fischer for creating this publication ten years ago, building this team, and providing us with guidance. Without him and our team of dedicated individuals, this issue would not have been possible.
Ciarra Chasse, Creative Director
our m ission TARNISHED Magazine is devoted to building creative community, expanding opportunities for practical/educational experiences in the graphic arts, and offer a venue for student work. TARNISHED Magazine is dedicated to discovering beauty through the arts in unexpected places.
1844 Commonwealth Avenue, Newton, MA 02466 | lasell.edu
TARNISHED Magazine is produced by members of the Graphic Design League (GDL) at Lasell University in Newton, Massachusetts. GDL was established in 2005 to engage graphic design and studio arts students in connected learning projects. GDL builds community by design. Visit us at graphicdesignleague.com TARNISHED Magazine is prwwinted in a limited edition and is not for sale. TARNISHED Magazine is printed by Wing Press - email@example.com
Layout Designer Ciarra Chasse
M e et our team Creative Director
Ciarra Chasse ‘23
Ray Karaczun ‘24
Caelan Watson ‘23
Chloe Kinteris ‘23
Associate Art Director
Associate Art Editor
Erin Tilley ‘25
Jamie Kinteris ‘24
Founder/Advisor Professor Stephen Fischer
Graphic Artists Julia Bolton Ryan Crowe Anna Giorgio James Kava Anna King Alyik Krauss
Kate Lodge Justin March Lauren Martin Haylee Skoog Oumar Sokhna Terrence Theus Dylan Wilson
Illustrations by Caelan Watson
Editors Beverly Banks Anny Chap Xhoana Cuni
Emily Hong Rachel Shepard
Layout Designer Ciarra Chasse
Illustrations by Aliyk Krauss (bike); Dylan Wilson (jacket)
“I want people to be inspired to find their own calm within the chaos.” 07
TT: So let’s get into it. Myraha, what would you say your start as an artist was? MH: I’ve been making art forever. I always wanted to do it. I remember just sitting in my Minnie Mouse inflatable thing, watching Ninja Turtles, and having a splay of crowns and paper and everything all over my apartment floor and stuff. Anything really that I can get my hands on. I’d be like, “Oh, I want to make this book.” So I would like to rip things up and make a new book out of it. I’d want to make a stuffed animal or whatever. So I’d find old shirts and cut them up and then sew them together. So it was really like, I just wanted to make things, and I have always tried to find a way to do that. No matter how ugly or run down it was, I just kind of wanted to constantly iterate on the things that I found interesting. [...] I was just like, “This is cool to me. Let me go ahead and run with it. And if I don’t like it, I’ll just trash it or forget about it.” TT: Did you have a huge range of friends who were into the same things or was it really you trying to find something to subvert the norm and not do the same thing every day? MH: I don’t think I had any friends when I was a kid who were into art and making stuff. My cousins were around me a lot. We were super close as kids, and I would be the one to be like, “Hey, let’s do this little performance” or whatever. Or, “Hey, let’s go on a make-believe adventure to the apartment complex across the street.” I kind of felt like I was orchestrating a lot of the excitement that I wanted to see and trying to influence my cousins to be like, “Hey, this is kind of cool. Do you want to do this?” I’m also the oldest out of all of my cousins and [we were] also super poor growing up. So it was like we had to use what we had, which was our imaginations and old things and hand-me-down things. [...] Also, I have ADHD, so that just meant that my brain was constantly going and constantly thinking. And being a kid with all that energy, just imagine where that can lead. TT: Transitioning to your engineering, how did that intertwine with your art-making or work in a parallel? Did you just do these things like separately or do they work together in a way? MH: I would say that it was parallel for me... When I first started getting interested in coding or at least the front end UI UX of things, I was ten and playing Neopets, and I stumbled upon this tutorial for HTML and CSS because I saw that a lot of folks were creating layouts for the guild they were in. Basically, you can create a layout and then there’s this other side of it where you can play around with HTML and CSS and lay things out. And so I was messing around with that. And then when I saw other people creating really cool layouts for their guilds, I was doing research there and I was like, oh, so they’re using this cool program called Photoshop, but that’s really expensive. So I’m going to try to do that, but in, like, Microsoft paint. I was like twelve making these little weird layouts for things all in Microsoft paint, trying my best to imitate some of these Photoshop [creations], like really cool things. “Myraha is doing her best to just make something out of nothing.”
But in terms of my transition, I was always making art. I went to Savannah College of Art Design and then I transferred to Mass Art and I was a painting major there. [...] I transitioned over to engineering full time about four or five years ago and that kind of came out of necessity. Man, I would love to be able to make art, but like, I need something to support my art. You know what I mean? I became an engineer so I can be an artist comfortably, and it took up until last year where I was finally like, “Oh, wait a second, I joined this career to do this work, but I haven’t actually made anything.” So I started doing it super seriously at the beginning of last year again. TT: I think it’s really interesting as well. You put this information in this avenue to say that you’re trying to make this art, but making sure it still reflects who you are as an artist and not someone else’s vision, or have your art be a direct construct of ideas of someone else’s influence. You’re still trying to make sure that your inner child is coming out and your art reflects a lot. MH: Oh, thank you. That means a lot. I’m glad that you can see that. Yeah, I think the times that I have found it difficult to make art is when I let other people’s suggestions try to influence my work. [...] I don’t ever want to take that in because that just derails me. And then I’m like, I don’t like this anymore. It’s like getting the ick. An example of this is the idea of social media and how that influences us in those likes. A lot of my work that I do when I am addressing the things that are important to me is just making sure that at the end of the day, the only person that I’m trying to satisfy is myself. TT: Well, you’ve already spoken on how a lot of your inspirations don’t derive from any specific realm. They all really fluctuate and are intertwined in different ways, but it’s still your own intuition. MH: I have no single way of approaching art. I think sometimes I will start somewhere, or I’ll have an idea, or I’ll have a picture of a construction site, or something that I’ve taken on my walk, and I’m going after the lines or the textures or the patterns. And then if I feel like there’s something missing, or a fuzzy part in my brain, then I’m like, “Oh, I kind of wanted to see how other people have, like, examples of things.” Then I’ll draw influences from specific pieces of art, or some random plant that I’ve seen, or really interesting photography. You know, Miyazaki, or films, whatever I can suck in. It’s a feeling, it’s like that specific feeling that I’m trying to capture from things [...], and not necessarily the content. TT: I always love hearing specific artists and their own ways of being because in a lot of my work, what I try to reflect onto the world is the emotion. So like, what is the emotion or essence of your art that you’re really trying to reflect back into the world? MH: Organized chaos. I want people to kind of look at my art, and I want them to sit with it. Sometimes I want there to be so much information on the page that they really have to look at it, like, zoom in, look at the details. And in a way they’re not thinking about my art, but they’re thinking about their own thoughts and their own feelings and things that they want to do.
Like, I want people to be inspired to find their own calm within the chaos, [...] finding that balance, searching through patterns, finding those lines, the textures, the colors, all the basics that are art. I just would like to utilize them in their most basic form so that people can just like - I don’t know, I’m still trying to figure it out. What I want for other people to get out of my art. I think I’m still kind of like wrapped up in my own vision right now because I’m just kind of [...] trying to like dig into - if you look at the order of my Instagram page sometimes you can see, it just gets more detailed and detailed and detailed because it’s like, once I figure something out, I’m going onto the next thing. It’s like, okay, well, I can push this even further. Or, you know what I’m going to do, I’m going to take this same outline and drawing. I’m going to strip it down and then push it or make it seem almost non-existent in the way that my mind is. You know, I’m just like, how do I say this? Giving myself time to keep working on the same drawing over and over again. I think if people can kind of see the subtle differences and the evolution of a single drawing within a context, I think it’s almost reflective of like, how should we be growing? Like, it’s the same drawing, but like, does it feel better? Do you feel better about yourself? You know, have you grown in a new way? I don’t know. So many thoughts, hopefully it will find a way to organize those.
that up into a color palette, you can really see up and down, how you felt throughout, you know, I think that’s like the beauty of the art that you do. MH: Thank you so much. I really respect your opinion. [...] I’m glad that comes across. I don’t think I talk about my art enough because I feel like I am a Hobbit in a way, or, Nospheratu. “Don’t look at me in the corner when I draw like a gremlin.” So it’s nice to know that, like, what I’m trying to achieve is coming across in some kind of way to people. TT: I have a follow-up to that. Cause you spoke on not trying to have other people’s opinions influence you, what is your own opinion of your own art? Like what is the perception that you reflect back into the world and the one that you want people to actually perceive? MH: If I could help it, I wouldn’t be perceived at all. But I don’t know. I think that’s a TBD. I think right now I’m just trying to make myself happy, because again, I haven’t made art in so long. So for me, this is just like, am I finding myself? And the likes are extra. You know, if people like it, if they’re influenced, if they see something new or imaginative, that’s extra to me, but it’s never my goal and I never want it to be my goal to be like, “Oh, I hope people like this” because the minute that I do that, I’m not making the art that I want.
TT: You spoke on still trying to keep that emotive element, and you can really just feel the emotions if you were to break
[...] When I make something, how I start is dependent on what I’m trying to think about or what I’m trying to do. And even the name “art project,” that’s just what it is to me. So like, for this one, I started out with a line drawing, which sometimes I don’t usually do. But in this mindset I felt a lot of chaos and my own in my own mind and my mental state. And I was like, “What do I want right now?” I want order. So I went through searching for a little castle inspiration and lines and things. And I made this and I was like, okay, I feel balanced. I feel structured. I like how this looks. I like the balance, like how the lines meet. I think it could use some work. Like I look at this stuff and I’m like, “ugh” now, but I just had to get it out. And then the next step was, “all right, what’s next? Color.”
like content management and whatnot. I’ve been there for four years in September. I’ve been here this whole time. I’ve done some freelance work. Prior to engineering, I also did some freelance design, like UI and UX.
Right. I need color, but I want to actually mess this up a bit. So I just started slapping colors down, and I started adding some texture, and I started like feeling for the story that I feel, or like almost revealing the painting that I want, you know, like following those patterns that I’ve created, and creating some layers so that, I don’t know, almost like to destructure that initial feeling because now I’ve achieved it.
TT: Yeah, could you expand upon that? You said it’s feeding you in a way that it works. How do you think that it’s been additive?
So what’s the next step? [...] I’m going to make this even messier and then add even more detail. I’m going to try something new. Look at my old drawings and pull influences there. I also feel like when people tell me that I can’t, I’m like, “Oh yes I can.” Which is part of the reason why I started engineering because somebody close to me told me that they didn’t think that I would be good at it. So I was like “bet” and then I became an engineer in four months. So like, let’s go, challenge accepted. You’re not going to tell me what I can and can’t do. TT: So there’s different layers. So like I really do want to know how the engineering influences you, but my original question was have you been able to work in the industry of engineering? MH: Yes, so after I graduated from the bootcamp, I joined this company called Wistia, which is a video marketing company in Cambridge. It’s basically like YouTube for businesses, but
So it’s kind of all like rolled in together and it’s been, it’s been good. I like the place that I’m at. They take care of me and we actually just hired three more people from my program from before that just graduated. So yeah, it’s been, it’s been good. [...] I think I mentioned this, [but] my connection to engineering, I think will evolve and especially as I kind of get more into my artistic process, but right now it’s feeding me in a way that works.
MH: It’s been an additive because one, just knowing how to code is so powerful and cool. You can do so much with it. But I’m also super, super interested in game development and game design, and I’m working on a game right now. So being able to lean on that has just opened up more avenues for the things that I’m interested in creating just because I have the tools and experience. [...] It’s just easier to pick up other languages and systems because I have all of those reference points, you know? The cool thing about code is understanding how architecture works, and how users think, and how subtle UI and UX decisions influence, not only like a customer’s journey, but also how they like that experience. It’s really cool to be able to have been a part of the entire flow of making a site, you know, from design to drawing, to ideation, to user testing, to writing the code. Just being able to tap into that holistic experience not only feeds that challenge part of my brain. But, like, I’ll use bits of things, bits of those processes when I’m doing anything really. I don’t really think about it at this point. I think it’s just kind of been really intuitive, you know [...] like I don’t really think about the basics of color and line and texture anymore, because I’ve done it for so long. It’s just
Layout Designer Terrance Theus
like, “Okay, I’m just going to draw from this right now.” You know, it’s like a grab bag of things, which I like. I just want to have as many tools at my disposal as possible. TT: There’s a real air of human communication that delves into that too. Like, while you’re working in UX UI, you’re coding, you’re designing, but you’re doing this with someone in mind, Like, you’re really trying to have that empathy while working within the project. And you really start thinking about the other person first and that’s what makes it a human experience. Even though you’re working with all these computers and tools, there’s still a person at the other end of this when you’re making all these choices. MH: [...] Yeah. And like, that is something I try to think about. In terms of when people are like, “Oh, what’s your career?” You know, I hate that. I never ask somebody what they do for work. I ask them what they like to do, because that’s more important, right? Like our, our career is actually just like an amalgamation of all of our experiences, and what we choose to do with them. [When] I was in college [...] I was working at a restaurant and I was also working as a personal care assistant for someone with cerebral palsy and I had to help that person... And [one] of the things that I noticed is how they use the computer. They had to use a microphone to speak into in order to get things [instead of] touching the keyboard. [...] All of that stuff influences even how I code. Like, “Is this accessible? Is this site easy to use for anybody who wants to use it? What is blocking somebody from accessing this and using it the same way that somebody who is able-bodied would be able to do?” So it’s just like, yeah, that amalgamation of experiences, seeing patterns influence and trying to pipe them where necessary and like draw from them to make something like better. [...] The human experience I think is, you know, I don’t want to sound like, “Oh, the human experience,” but like, it’s more than just grinding and making money! It’s like, if we’re not making the world better, if we’re not thinking of the people who are most vulnerable, if we are not giving opportunities to people on an equal footing, why are we even doing it? Just to make money?
Illustrations by Myraha Harmon; Photos Courtesy of Terrence Theus
“Boo. You’re boring. You’re Basic.” Yeah, literally. That’s how I feel. So yeah, it can be better. I don’t know, thousands of years, and this is all we got from capitalism.
When did you realize you wanted to make art?
I guess I didn’t explicitly state it, but I subconsciously realized I wanted to draw and make art sometime around elementary school. The doodles and creatures in the margins of my homework led to bigger drawings and longer personal projects like making my own book and adding a creative take on any school assignment I could. It was fun and rewarding for me and scratched a creative itch that I could tap into when I was bored. So, I’ve been doing it basically for as long as I could remember, people told me that what I made was good, so I stuck with it and continued to try and make things that were exciting and important to me.
Do you feel that your work has an impact on other people?
I have rarely thought of my work in that way, I almost entirely make projects with the idea of doing them up to a certain quality and not considering how people may or may not receive it. Most of the time if I am happy with something after many hours of work then I consider it done, and the feedback I get of people enjoying it is the impact I suppose. I don’t know about the subject matter, as I haven’t gone specifically in that direction in a while but it’s nice to see people enjoy something that they think is well done or respond to an interesting/evocative image.
also among some of my favorites, as I had a knowledgeable, talented teacher show me the possibilities of making art on the computer which is something I’ve picked up naturally and have already gotten a lot out of. Acrylic ink is another medium I tried for the first time rather recently and found it to basically be a better version of watercolor so I’m a fan of that too.
Is the art you make for yourself or do you work on comissions?
I don’t do as much art for myself as I would want to, and definitely not as much as I used to. Back in high school, I would almost primarily make art for myself, with the occasional school assignment including. Now, my work comes from assignments from my college courses, and I don’t leave much time to do anything outside of that. I make the best of it, but sometimes my options can be limited creatively when it comes to exactly what I would personally want to do. This challenges me in a good way though, and I still create what I can up to the same standard I usually do. I also do commissions rarely but will likely do more as time goes on.
Have you developed your own art style?
Definitely, one thing I am proud of when I think of myself and my work is how my style has been evolving, it still has pieces of me from years ago in it, but it has adapted to a variety of different mediums and I’m happy that I’ve been able to try new things but keep my style consistent.
Is your work collaborative or do you work alone?
Alone for the most part, although in the beginning stages of new pieces nowadays it is often with friends and the professor collaborating on ideas and workshopping how to improve them (early thumbnails and sketches and such) before jumping into the final work. That part is always fun to me because it can be hard starting on something yourself, so receiving comments in the early stages sets a good path to fully realizing a concept. But when it comes to digging in and fully rendering and detailing, I am quite secluded in that side of the process.
What is your favorite medium to work in?
Photo or Illustration Credit Line
My favorite medium used to just be good old pencil on paper, probably because that was the material that was always readily available to me. It was an easy entry point, and I found enjoyment in mastering detailed pencil work because it was mechanically as simple as art can get, and I let my imagination and patience elevate that simplicity into something more. Of course, doing that for years got me burnt out somewhat so attempting mediums like watercolor and painting, specifically oil painting is something I now look to when wanting to make art in new ways. Digital work is
How does your identity play into making the pieces you do?
Identity is a strange concept to me, I think the negative side of positive aspects like being humble and not really having an ego for the most part leaves me not knowing who I am or how to view myself, but that can change from day-to-day. I also wonder how much of my recent experiences and the world today affect the lack of how I view myself, as well as varying health conditions and navigating growing up in general. Life is turbulent, and I try to treat everyone with kindness as I try to figure out my own turmoil as well as learning how to like myself and treat myself in a way where I can confidently say who I am and what I stand for. It’s something I am working towards, and it definitely comes up in my art, purposefully or not. Would love to focus on that concept as a series of pieces, but you would have thought through so many required selfportraits in school I would have figured it out already. I think because I can be so many different versions of myself, it is hard to pin down what that is as a whole, and I am left with not knowing how to answer besides listing a bunch of adjectives.
What is your Creative Process? How do you come up with the ideas of your artwork?
Outside of what is given to me for an assignment, I try to tie in how I am personally feeling in my life and what I think is “cool” or stuck in my mind at the moment. Those ideas can come from what music I’m listening to, what movies or shows or games I am watching/playing, and whatever I am struggling with that I think could be valuable to explore visually and creatively in the work. I had a fun habit of creating gross, weird monster designs ever since I was young, which is where most of my ideas used to stem from, and that in turn comes from my ability to connect patterns and lines in interesting ways, a skill that I can’t really explain but is something I’ve always had. I mostly lean darker and sadder in tone, but that can range from something overt to something subtle, and even include hints of brightness and light within. My work used to be more playful and energetic and frenetic, and as I grew up and went through life that changed a bit. I am fascinated by many visual qualities of the world, something I explore more overtly with photography, but I love learning and understanding what makes a compelling image.
Do you feel you were artistically gifted at a young age?
Oh definitely, I was marked as “the talented art kid” for a long time in school and among my family, which was fun I suppose, and was something that became a running gag that students would use anytime art or drawing came up. They would always turn attention towards me whenever something needed to be visualized or sketched out, which was weird for me being a relatively shy kid outside of my group of friends. I like to think that’s what kept me humble, I had such an overload of attention and praise at a point I stopped responding mentally to compliments, which then lead to me having higher and higher expectations for myself as I grew up. So, I never really boasted or shared my work that much because it started out as something private between me and the kids and faculty at my small school, and that was it. But yeah, I am lucky in the sense that I was born with a gifted visual ability and could use a pencil and pick up new skills quickly, or stick with something for long enough to figure it out anyway because I am quite stubborn.
How often do you create and finish new art pieces?
I went through a few years where I would make drawings non-stop every week after school, a pace that only a young teenager filled with imagination and creative drive could and is not something that kept up as I got older. Free time started to fill with other work or problems, and that carefree childhood productivity went away as adulting began. On average, I tend to finish art within a week if I focus entirely on it, but there are times when I’ve taken up to a month off and on for something, especially if I am stuck or getting distracted in the process.
Do you usually finish a project before starting a new one?
While I may bounce from corner to corner of a piece while I work on it, I tend to discipline myself in sticking with one creation at a time until it is fully done. During finals, however, my schedule gets slightly more chaotic but even still I’ve gotten better at allotting my time so that I can finish 3 projects back-to-back over two weeks, without jumping between them.
Is there anything special you’d want people to know?
I think sensitivity is almost a superpower, for the longest time I thought the way that I was and how I responded to the world was a bad thing, but as I think about this now it is truly
a gift to recognize the power in accepting the presence of the current moment. Being mindful and practicing self-care is vital to everyone, but when it comes to artists who already lean toward the more vulnerable, emotional side- celebrating that and unlocking parts of yourself as you experience life and the people and places around you is way better than fearing reality and closing yourself off. It takes strength to be able to fight against that instinct that I certainly have, but with practice, I continue to learn and be patient with myself and be comfortable in that to be able to express myself truly. Some might consider that special, but I really think it is the simplicity and honesty of that way of thinking that can help lead to a life of compassion and encourages leading with the humanity in all of us, instead of hatred or anger. There are still all the negative thoughts in my mind that I shuffle through every day, and of course, it is valid to feel terrible things and work through them buts it’s key not to get stuck in a toxic mindset, which is hard, especially facing the world and climate that we live today. When bad things happen and I feel lost and hurt I remember how often I have come out the other side alive, and stronger, and the comfort knowing that healing is possible no matter how long it takes. Attempting to let go and trying continuously to learn from mistakes and grow is something that I hold as an important part of myself and drives me to never continue the cycle of “hurt people hurting other people”- something I have personally been affected by and do everything in my power to not put pain on others, especially not to those I care about.
Have you ever had creative block?
At one point I felt like I had a creative block that lasted for months, maybe not in the way where I was trying to come up with something and couldn’t, I simply didn’t have the ability to make or put my mind to anything for the longest time. Part of that was likely just the result of a very depressive period of my life, something that I deal with pretty constantly in which it is monumentally challenging to do anything that requires “work” or even basic tasks, and that clearly affects the creative process. To prevent that now the way I am more aware and care for myself helps me have a more open mindset to be affected by things negative and positive in a healthy way, which fuels new ideas and helps responsiveness to be able to create.
Do you belong to any diverse groups?
I’m not really a part of any specific clubs or anything, but there is a wide diversity of people at college and it’s valuable to encounter many different lifestyles and to share ideas between so many unique people.
What advice do you have for someone just starting to create art for fun or a job?
A tip I’ve heard before that I think holds some weight is to just do it, start creating, start making, put yourself out there, and don’t be afraid of any rejection or failure, welcome it instead. And, if you are failing you still learn valuable information and that allows you to be better and more successful moving forward. If you are making art for yourself start out doing whatever you want, and if that works then continue doing that! If you find creating to be rewarding and you are getting something out of drawing, sculpting, painting, filming, photographing, keep doing it and see where it takes you. If you are struggling to begin or have reached a point where you are not feeling strongly about what you are doing, stop for a moment and think about what you want and what interests you. It’s a simple idea but sometimes I can work on autopilot and create good-looking pictures, but in turn not feel anything of worth from it and do not know where to go from there. Being true to yourself is so important and will answer the question of what art you want to make, and what you should follow as you will understand more about yourself and the world in the process.
Do you feel that your community is an open platform to share your artwork? I would describe my current community as the friends and teachers within my college campus, the Hartford Art School has been a beneficial, welcoming place to share work and to receive important feedback on how to improve moving forward.
Who is Magge Gagliardi? Wh at doe s a typi c al d ay in your life l ook like a s an illu strator and de signer? On any given day I have at least five projects on my docket. On top of that, I am also an instructor at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT where I teach digital arts. I always start my day with a hot cup of tea and honey then I hop on my Surfacebook, since my work is primarily digital. I work until my battery runs out and take breaks while my computer is charging. It’s kind of a forced break. If I didn’t, I would be working non-stop all day, it’s just in my nature to do so. I have a to-do list next to my computer that I do my best to get through. Between client work, personal work, class planning, Zoom calls, and emails I am always juggling - but I won’t complain about being busy.
Magge Gagliardi is a designer, illustrator, and commercial artist based in West Hartford, Connecticut, who specializes in digital illustration and character-based designs. She has earned a BFA and MFA in illustration and is currently an instructor at Sacred Heart University for Digital Illustration. Her clients include many breweries such as Austin Street Brewery, Buzzed Viking Brewing, Collective Arts Brewing, Empty Pint Brewing, and Front Porch Brewing. She has been granted many awards and recognition, including USA Today’s Top 10 Beer Labels 2021, 30 Best Looking Beer Cans in America 2021 by ceros.com, and Creative Quarterly 53, 54 & 55.
Did you know growing up th at you would h ave an arti sti c c areer? I have been drawing since I was able to hold a crayon. My parents used to let me paint murals on the walls of our house and have always supported my artistic endeavors. Deep down I always knew there was nothing else I wanted other then be a creative person. I did briefly contemplate another career path. There will always be some who say art is not a viable career; however, my passion drove me forward. I am persistent when it comes to getting what I want and a career in the arts became my sole focus. I chose to succeed, not only for my own happiness but to prove the doubters wrong.
How h a s your style or Wh at got you into graphi c projec ts ch anged over time? de sign and the arts? I have always worked in various styles across several mediums. I am classically trained in oil painting and other traditional mediums of illustration but now I primarily focus on digital art. I would say the switch to digital has had the biggest impact on my style as it allows for endless possibilities. As far back as I can remember, I have had a unique, natural style that occurs in my work. I always try and offer my clients a distinctive look to fit with their brand. However, no matter what style or approach I take, you can always tell that it’s my hand behind the art.
To be honest, it was just something I was destined to do. Art has been a major part of my life since I was a child. The thing that really sealed the deal for me was movies. I used to love going to the movies, coming home and immediately getting to work on drawing my favorite characters. That love of character turned into the pursuit of animation. That pursuit of animation turned into a pursuit of illustration. I realized I didn’t want to be the one animating the characters, but the one designing them. I turned to illustration and haven’t looked back.
Layout Designer Haylee Skoog
Wh at advi c e would you give to a beginning graphi c de signer or arti st? As an instructor, I give advice daily to aspiring artists and designers. I tell students to use their imagination and do their best to think outside the box. There is always demand for fresh approaches and perspectives. It is up to the individual to define themselves and do so in a way that stands out from the rest. It’s important to highlight what makes you different. Most importantly be passionate, be patient, and be persistent. If you don’t believe in your success, who will? You need to be your biggest advocate.
“Most importantly be passionate, be patient, and be persistent. If Wh at are your bigge st art you don’t believe in your success, influen c e s? who will? You need to be your biggest advocate.” Wh at projec t wa s your favorite to work on? I had the pleasure of working with Austin Street Brewery in Portland, ME. They commissioned me to create a 3D mural which now hangs behind the bar at their Fox Street Location. Aluminum Can Cassie, the Casco Bay Sea Monster was hand-drawn in photoshop and made up of thousands of tiny aluminum cans. She is printed on recycled material and installed in multiple layers to create a 3D effect. She is around 6ft long and 4 ft tall. She is an illustrative take on recycling and keeping the bay clean. Cassie has since inspired several installations. Working with this medium allows me to create something fun and unique for clients. Unlike painting a mural directly on the wall, I can put more time and detail into the finished piece.
I have an appreciation for all forms of art. It’s hard to nail down specific influences because there are so many! I am inspired by something or someone new every day. I have a love for linework, and it has been something I have always been drawn to. Traditional animation has also had a place in my heart. I remember seeing the original Beauty and the Beast and being able to see the linework of the drawing move with the animation. I am inspired by unique ideas and varying styles, whether it’s digital, traditional, abstract, photography, etc. I saw the Michelangelo exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art a few years back. It was fascinating, particularly the attention to anatomy, muscle tone and movement within his drawings at a time when there was so little knowledge on the topic was striking. As someone who has taught many life drawing and painting classes, where knowledge of movement as it pertains to animation is critical, the exhibit was awe inspiring. I also have always admired Tim Burton for his creativity and uniqueness, something he built his entire brand off. Like Burton, I try to be myself and let my personality show through my work wherever possible.
Photos Courtesy of Magge Gagliardi
Do you prefer c oll aborative or sol o work? On a day-to-day basis I prefer solo work, but it is nice to get out there once and a while and do collaborations (whether that involves artwork itself or being a part creative team). Most of my clients are in the food and beverage industry, specifically the craft beer scene. As a result, I am often presented with opportunities to collaborate with lots of different creatives. I am currently involved in a collaborative effort as a member of the committee organizing the Change in the Air Festival - a philanthropic effort to build a scholarship designed to make education in the brewing sciences more accessible and inclusive. I provide the branding and advertisements for the non-profit, while working with an amazing group of creatives who helped bring the Change in the Air Festival to life.
Wh at i s the h arde st part about being an arti st? Time management and work-life balance. It’s hard for me to take time away from my work and turn my brain off. My mind is constantly churning with ideas on how to approach my work. Often, I need to sketch out my ideas or risk forgetting them. You’ll rarely catch me without my sketchbook! I have learned that unless there is time critical work due, that not checking or responding to work related emails after the work day or on the weekends is OK! As an illustrator, I always feel like I’m on call and it is important to let my clients know that I too have a life and a family outside of work. Balance is important.
Wh at i s your favorite part about your j ob? My favorite part of my job is being my own boss. Also, seeing my work in the wild is incredibly satisfying. There is no greater feeling than seeing something you’ve worked on be on display for the public to see and hopefully enjoy.
BONSAI TREES (is a band)
“You can’t give it to me straight / I can’t tell what’s the worse fate / Empty threats, / Empty beds, or empty promises / It comes down to me and you, love / I can’t tell what I’m more afraid of / Empty beds, / Cold suspense, or empty promises.” This emotional, cynical songwriting is a staple in Bonsai Trees’ music. The indie rock band from Hartford, Connecticut has an array of songs to jam or contemplate to. Over 22,000 people listen to them monthly on Spotify. Front man James MacPherson was interviewed for TARNISHED. He was introduced to music at a young age since both of his parents are musicians. He cited Green Day and The Strokes for leading him down the path of rock music, even though his band’s sound is not similar to either of them. James explained, “... I try to take influence from all kinds of music, and I feel that expression is way more important than style.” In addition to singing and songwriting, James also plays guitar, bass, and piano.
A lot has changed sonically since the band was formed in high school and their first, self-titled EP was released in 2013. “I feel like when I was younger I tended to figuratively throw spaghetti at the wall and see what stuck. Now I really know what I want from a song and have the option to very deliberately try to get to something.” Older music was just an attempt to “say stuff that sounded good” and newer lyrics are vents based on real life. One of the latest singles “Parallel,” for example, was created after deep, apologetic conversations James had with his parents. “I’m parallel to my path / Wish I could get it back / No it don’t work like that. / Oh oh / I live in a parallel universe / God, it feels so much worse / Knowing it could’ve worked / Oh oh.” James recently wrote in his 2021 recap Instagram post, “These songs mean so much to me and I really believe this music is the most ‘me’ thing I’ve ever worked on.” “Having people connect to my lyrics is one of the best feelings on earth, I feel so understood!” James said. Touring and meeting fans is a rewarding part of being in the band. “I just love traveling, I love meeting people from different places with different perspectives. The shows are the icing on the cake. Human beings connecting is rad... I am so thankful for everyone I’ve met on the road or talked to online about this thing I do. I’m still really surprised every time people know specifics about my music and talk to me about it.” One of their most special songs is titled “We Talked.” James cites it as his favorite song to perform, the most difficult song to perform, and his favorite song he has written. It is about having a tough talk about something that needs to be worked out, but the conversation does not accomplish anything. Imagine a crowd of people singing along to the sassy, sarcastic, and sorry words, “I’m so happy you walked out / Follow your own direction / We’re so much better off / With our unequal feelings of affection.” The five-and-ahalf-minute-long song finally concludes with the lyric “I hear what you’re offering, and we got nothing to talk about” repeating several times, as if the song itself is stubborn, too, refusing to admit that it is at its end and let go. When asked if the band has a special tradition or ritual they do before or after concerts, James simply responded, “We usually try to make sure we pee before going up on stage.” The band’s sense of humor is apparent. The phrase “(Bonsai
Layout Designer Ray Karaczun
Trees is a band)” is plastered on their merch in parentheses to help identify the ambiguous band name as a band. A recent single was named “It’s Gonna Be a No From Me Dog” after Randy Jackson’s iconic catchphrase. James promoted it with a TikTok of himself standing in front of the Randy Jackson shrine from iCarly. Stay tuned; James said, “we have a lot of cool stuff coming.”
The complete Bonsai Trees discography is: “Bonsai Trees” (2013) EP, “Minimalist” (2013) LP, “Live Free and Die” (2015) EP, “Not Bitter” (2017) LP, “Learn to Grow” (2019) LP, and several singles released 2020 and on. They can be found using the handle @bonsaitreesband on social media and where music is found.
Photography Courtesy of Bonsai Trees
“All I want to do with my time on Earth is sit in a dark parking lot, see what my time is worth, and make prints bigger than my palm.” 21
A little intro to Jeri Evan... Jeri Evan is a Boston based Illustrator and Designer with experience working in the music and entertainment industry. She previously worked as Brainfeeder Records’ in-house designer with a focus on Branding and Merchandise in Los Angeles, CA. Jeri currently works for Brainfeeder and Really Happening Management on a project-by-project basis, along with being a freelance designer. She designs her own clothing, and runs an online shop where she sells handmade 1 of 1 pieces, along with prints, original artwork, and silkscreened designs available in limited quantities. A current resident of Boston, but always on the go.
What has your journey been like since graduating from MassArt in 2017 to now? Any unexpected twists or turns? I’ve found that there is no set path for working as a professional artist. I’ve worn many different hats working creatively, and have found that being easily adaptable to any work thrown your way is a major asset. Right after graduating I worked as a print designer for a company in Boston Seaport designing catalogs and digital marketing campaigns. I was there for 2 years just before getting laid off in March 2020 when COVID hit. At that time, I had been hired to work as an in-house designer at Brainfeeder Records in the same week. They had come across my work on Instagram, and contacted me directly regarding jumping on several upcoming projects. Working with Brainfeeder allowed me to expand my skill set much farther than just print design. I was able to transition into branding and merchandise, along with teaming up with other illustrators and animators for collaborative projects.
What type of mediums do you enjoy working in? Why? I’ve always found I’m most expressive working with graphite, charcoal, and acylic paint. I find graphite to be the best possible medium to get the level of precision I love when drawing traditionally. Acrylic paint and charcoal, in contrast, are both messy enough for me to switch things up aesthetically when I’m executing a piece. Outside of these specific mediums, much of the clothing I design is executed using printmaking techniques that involve applying acrylic mediums directly to fabric. Most of the work I did starting out with Brainfeeder was apparel based, and it’s what got me most excited about designing clothing. I don’t think I ever would have transitioned into working in fashion if I hadn’t gotten that push from my team. I’ve been able to go out on my own as an apparel designer thanks to the opportunities they gave me, and now have a pending clothing collaboration with several fast fashion retailers in the works.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? I view making artwork and clothing like bringing my sketchbook to life. Sometimes I’ll get inspired listening to a song, or by art I see on the streets. Other times it’s a person walking past me that looks like they have an interesting story to tell. I bring a lot of my own personal emotions and experiences to the table. Happy, sad, good, or bad, it’s always been cathartic for me to express these feelings through my work.
What is your process when creating a new piece of art for sneakers, jackets, shirts, etc.? When working on graphics, I aways have a rough image in mind of what I want the final product to look like. Colors, typography, and subject matter are all something I think about before hitting the drawing table. At that point I start looking up reference imagery online, and the creation process begins. Sometimes it’s a reference image that I recreate by illustrating it, other times it’s compiling found imagery that I incorporate into a collage. I don’t like to give myself a set rulebook for what happens next. If I start collaging and it’s not working, I try acrylic paint next. If I don’t like the way the lettering I’ve come up with looks digitally, I try drawing it by hand with charcoal or china markers. Many different paths can get you where you need to go; oftentimes the road less traveled is the most invigorating.
On your website in the process section, you have various portraits of people and celebrities. What do you do with these illustrations? Many of the celebrity illustrations in my process section are bits and pieces of character designs I’ve worked on for Brainfeeder Records for an ongoing secret project. Under the guidance of my creative director Autry Fulbright, we’ve worked on world building and character creation to be used for various creative endeavors involving musicians at the label and their contemporaries. I’m unable to share the full character designs at this time, but a hint is that some of these designs could be used for upcoming merchandise or one-offs. The other sketches show how my character designs come to life through rotoscoping direct source imagery of each subject. I like to show images of work in progess exactly as they’re seen on the light table in my studio. Some of the concept art I’ve created that’s featured has been animated into a pilot episode that I’m hoping to see come to fruition as a full-blown animated series. The pilot been explored by several television networks, and has been an ongoing project of mine since 2020.
Do you have a favorite project you’ve done, or a favorite type of project to work on? My favorite project to date was working on Thundercat’s ‘It Is What It Is’ Grammy Campaign in 2021. He ended up taking home the Grammy Award for Best Progressive R&B Album. I worked directly with Thundercat and the Brainfeeder team who sent me reference imagery of the exact look they were going for. My role was to create a Bruce Lee inspired tracksuit to be sold as promotional merchandise for Thundercat’s tour. He was so excited with how the tracksuit came out that he chose to wear it for many of the press opportunites surrounding his Grammy win. The tracksuit ended up on billboards on Sunset Strip, The Hollywood Bowl, LA Times, a street marketing campaign, countless magazine features, and as his signature look for much of his tour. Being such an integral part of Thundercat’s Grammy win inadvertently has been a surreal feeling. Knowing how happy he was with what we came up with makes my job worth doing.
Layout Designer Ciarra Chasse
Photos Courtesy of Jeri Evan
evstacks displays himself as a self-confident entrepreneur, reigning from the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. He utilizes his creative motifs and sounds as a tool to transcribe his melodic anthems to the community, ones that are timeless and repetitional. His sense of fashion complements his personal brand as a musician, for the two entertainment avenues merge into one underground scene that is starting to make its way globally, outbreaking in states such as Massachusetts.
I was given the opportunity to attend an Autumn! show held at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA, where Dev opened up for the high-charting SoundCloud artist. The scene and vibe of these shows were captivating, reminiscent of the legendary punk scene of the 70s. Performers and fans were dressed in all black, leather pants, mesh-wool crewnecks, Rick Owen shoes, and Vivienne Westwood jewelry. The high energy and rage-like motions of mosh pits breaking barriers while unison lyrical chants circulated the venue, harmonizing with the stage speakers — that is the definition of “showing out.” Local artists such as 617Lebxanon, Surge, and Rich Amiri accompanied Devstacks on the opening lineup, with special guest performances from sgpwes, OnlyBino, and OSMKAPO, charting SoundCloud artists on the scene. So many memorable, talented individuals were in one space at the same time, performing in front of local supporters and peers, sharing space with other creative friends that do film, photography, clothing, and many more artistic routes. With these elements combined, the show was a big success. After the show, I was able to sit down with Dev for a moment to discuss his self-made work ethic, and how he actively made his way to one of the top talents in this new 28
wave of ambient trap. My first question regarded when he came to realize that he was going to fulfill music seriously, and he responded with fluidity. “Probably when I wasn’t focusing as much as I used to in college,” Dev explained, as it is obvious that he holds passion and overall trust within himself and his decisions. “I took that as a sign I should pursue music full time.” Devstacks’ career kickstarted in the late 2010s as his name started to circulate around SoundCloud because of his impressive production skillsets. His orchestrated synth style and bell and drum patterns aided him in standing out from many lowkey producers on SoundCloud’s platform, and over time became a staple within the genre. Dev’s notoriety allowed him to collaborate and befriend many infamous SoundCloud musicians, many of which he spent his high school and college days listening to. The two of us shared a moment, recalling times when we would wait for our favorite artists to drop new music, making sure to play every song on Dev’s Beats speaker at least six times a day for reassurance in the tracks being replay-valued. A smile set on his face, as he illustrated the contentment in his marketing journey thus far. “It feels so cool working with artists that I have been listening to for years now. I’ve been making connections and friendships with people I never thought I would, and it’s been really satisfying.” The recent success of Devstacks’ persona has been spreading like wildfire online. Famous apps such as TikTok are engaging in the “Dev Agenda” wholeheartedly, boosting the New Englander’s status and following. Thousands of supporters are creating dub videos to Dev’s tracks, following and partaking in his personal fashion sense, purchasing his
Layout Designer Oumar Sokhna
merchandise, and persistently, religiously, running his plays up to the thousands. “It’s been helping a ton,” he says. “Now I have fans and an audience that consistently tune into my drops, I just want to keep being consistent and keep progressing for them.” His recurring collaborations with local brands such as CorruptKid, Unlocked!, Club Wounds, and more assist both parties involved, as the underground music and street fashion movement start to make headway on the Internet, gaining the attention and support from verified musicians, celebrities, and influencers. All of these brands started off local, and with hard work and steady faith, their goals came to fruition, alongside collective peers. The music industry can get competitive at times, especially in a state where one city usually tends to carry the Massachusetts representation in the mainstream: Boston. Dev has made many friends in his career thus far, and his solo representation resonates with an energetic and hungry following, but there is still a way to go until all goals are set in stone. “I don’t feel too much pressure in that sense, but I do in the fact that I dropped everything for this.” He detailed his time in college, ending his academic journey early once ample amounts of opportunity started scanning towards the young emcee’s radar. Dev is on a bigger mission, and his family plays an important part in the sourcing of his drive. “I just wanna make those I care about proud.” Dev’s energy on stage is raw and interactive, as he often shakes hands with fans, and jumps in unison with the motioning sea of the audience before stage diving into it. Every performance is viewed as a chance to one-up from the one prior. It is striking to observe the artist get into their zone, but it is a completely different experience for the artist personally. “It doesn’t take much to get into that mindset,” Dev revealed in full confidence, as performing becomes second nature to his personal psyche; it is a secret weapon. “I just want to make sure that I put on a great show for people who paid to see me. I feel like I bring an eccentric energy every time I perform, I feed off the crowd’s mood.” The selfproclaimed “chosen one” left Cambridge a legend that night.
Photos Courtesy of Devstacks
TALKING PHOTOS with
Bruce Wahl Who is Bruce Wahl? Bruce Robert Wahl is a photographer with an unhealthy obsession for light, mechanical things, and music. He attended Massachusetts College of Art and Design where he discovered you are not allowed to bring motorcycles to the 6th floor of the Kennedy building while earning a BFA in Photography. After that he chose to annoy the faculty at SUNY New Paltz with a never-ending stream of questions while earning his MFA in Photography and Related Media. He lives just south of Boston, Massachusetts with his amazing wife Julie and 4 cats. When not working on assignment he can be found riding something with 2 wheels. That or swearing at classic British motorcycle parts in his basement while listening to a wide variety of musical styles. The following are some of his words of wisdom and anecdotes about his professional life.
How did you become interested in photography initially? In 1986 I was an undiagnosed dyslexic and a sophomore in high school. I had always been different from most everyone when growing up and that difference came with a lot of anger. That in turn led me to metal, punk rock, skateboarding and eventually to the art room at my high school. There might have been a girl involved as well. As an outlier I found a tribe with the other misfits, and I also found art. At the time I didn’t really think of photography as art. I was more into painters like Jasper Johns, Francis Bacon and Robert Williams. Then one day I slammed bad skating, broke some bones, got some stitches, and was sidelined. I was at home, and I had all these Thrasher and TransWorld and Maximum Rock n Roll Magazines some friends gave me. The written word has always been difficult for me, but those pictures, the photos got me through. So, when I was able to come back I borrowed a 35mm Minolta and started making photos of my friends. Turns out I was a better photographer than a skater.
What is the one thing to keep in mind when working for a client? Do the jpb you were hired to do. Once that’s done you can make some images that you want to if there’s time. A little something extra, a cool idea you had. People appreciate the extra, they might not use it because they know what they need. Deliver on that, what they need, that’s why you are there.
Who inspired you? First off Glen E. Friedman, I saw his images in Thrasher, then everywhere. He was super influential; he basically documented punk rock, hip hop and skate culture in the 70’s to 90’s. But the images were more than snap shots like I was making; so I asked a teacher about it and that’s when I learned about intentionality and planning. I also discovered cinema at this time and got interested in how movies were made. I had a rough time at the end of high school and made some drastic but necessary decisions to change my situation. I didn’t have much time or space for art or skating for a few years. After my travels and adventures, I came back to it and enrolled in university when I was in a better place. That’s where I discovered Joel-Peter Witkin, Robert Mappelthorpe and Bill Burke.
Did you try to emulate a certain style when you started out? I love Bill Burke’s work. I tried to make images/pieces like his… but they were really crap. I’d say he influences me to this day. Funny thing is when I moved to Boston, I met him on the street and helped him get his motorcycle running —then I realized who he was. We’ve been friends ever since. We share an unhealthy obsession with going fast on motorcycles among other things. I’ve tried to emulate people, we all do — it’s part of learning. I’ve borrowed from here and there, but I never tried to be someone else photographically for more than a few hours.
What type of project do you get commissioned to work on most? For commissioned work I have a niche I suppose. I make photos of people, and those images are usually somewhere in the healthcare sphere. I was a staff photographer at a Major Medical Center that’s part of Harvard Medical School for a while and I sort of made a name for myself in that part of the industry. So, I produce a fair amount of content for hospitals, health systems, insurance providers, and medical device companies. I’m qualified to work in sterile situations, and I know my way around a lab so that helps.
Was there a shoot that planning made the difference? I have a client that is a health care system that employs over 30,000 people. They were having a senior leadership retreat with the new President of the organization for three days at a destination in Western Mass. Thirty Senior Directors and Vice Presidents along with the Chiefs of all the departments. I was hired to spend the whole time with them making photos for the annual report. On day one at 8:45 I needed to get a group shot before the breakfast meeting. I knew this was going to be difficult — the term ‘herding cats’ comes to mind. There were a ton of big egos, and this interaction was going to set the tone for the next three days. My plan for being outside by the pond was canceled due to rain. So, I had this dark lodge fireplace as my only option. I had a ladder and a few little flashes set up. It took until 8:57 to get everyone in position and I popped my test. It looked good. I said, “OK now it’s for real, everyone look right here.” No kidding, my on-camera flash that was controlling the other flashes popped and this puff of smoke came out of it. It was dead. I grabbed the spare out of the bag and made four exposures before they were done and just walked away to breakfast. People commented to me on that moment the whole three days. It turns out people in the medical world are often prepared for the worst as well. If I hadn’t packed and charged the fourth spare flash, it would have been a disaster.
What types of projects do you enjoy working on most? I’m in this to make my own work. I’ve got several long term “documentary” projects going that are my passion. I make paid work so I can make my work if that makes sense. I make sure all the bills are paid and life is squared away then finance my trips and supplies as I can. Currently I’m trying to find the end of a project my wife and I have been working on about her battle with cancer. She’s winning hands down at
this point, but I’m still not sure where it’s taking us. Not sure if I enjoyed making that work, but it was necessary. That’s the thing about me and art. I don’t have a choice; I have to make it whether I enjoy it or not. It can be hard, but there is a pay off most of the time that is well worth it.
How did you realize that a process journal was vital to your work? I realized one day that I just couldn’t keep everything in my head and that most of the smart people around me didn’t even try. I have to organize information in a very personalized way for it to be useful to me. I draw little pictograms that only I understand for some things. Like personal emojis. I’m pretty organized when it comes to paid work. I have a folder and notes for each job, but most of that is digital that then gets printed. I’ve got about five pads around the studio and office; I jot things like to-do lists on them. Each of the classes I teach gets its own color-coded notebook, and I keep a notebook for each project I’m working on. Personal Projects get a sticker on the cover to differentiate. I realized one day that the act of physically writing things out was a huge part of my deep work process. By taking the time and concentrating on that aspect I was able to tap into something that really was insightful. So, I made sure to have some dedicated quality supplies on hand, and I make sure to spend part of my day journaling. I use a mechanical pencil and a good quality notebook. I feel the physicality of the act helps a great deal.
Layout Designer James Kava
Can you explain the value of photography to you personally and how that impacts what you do? Without photography I’d be lost in this world. It is akin to a language to me. Losing it would be like not being able to speak English or German, Scots anymore. Though my German is rusty. I communicate in two ways really. I’ve been told I’m a good storyteller and there is an oral tradition where I come from. As I said, the written word is difficult for me to process as a Dyslexic. Photography is the other main way I communicate with the world. What’s an amazing facet of the medium is it transcends any written or spoken language. A well-made photograph is worth more than a thousand words, it’s value is greater than those words. In my personal work there are words, but they are like the toppings on an ice cream sundae. They add a bit of interest and flavor but the heart of it is underneath. The photographs are the stars; the words just help by giving you an access point to the work.
What are the most fun parts of doing that kind of work and what are the challenges? The fun? Meeting new people — usually if I’m making a portrait of someone, they have done something interesting. I love learning about what it is they are up to. I’ve met several Nobel Prize laureates and had my mind blown. You would be surprised at the common ground I’ve found with some smart and accomplished people. Though a lot of the time the security or maintenance person has a tale to tell as well. Also having a beer at lunch is cool; I’m the photographer not the surgeon after all. Challenges, finding that common ground can be difficult sometimes. Sometimes you only have five minutes with someone, and they don’t want to be there. They might be introverted people who just want to do the science and don’t like the attention they are getting sometimes it goes the other way.
Do you have any parting words? Slow down and unplug, life is fleeting, take time to look and to be in the moments. Your memory will be sweeter than the phone pic you made but will never look at. You should also learn to deal with fear and being uncomfortable. Being outside your comfort zone is how you get better at everything. That and wash your hands, eat your vegetables, be nice on purpose but don’t let people push you around.
Photos Courtesy of Bruce Whal
THE PRINTS AND PROCESS OF
neil=brighAm Who is Neil? After completing his MA degree in illustration from Syracuse University, Neil set up shop as a freelance illustrator. Some of his clients include Scholastic, Little Brown and Co, Outdoor Life Magazine, Rodale Inc, Llewellyn Worldwide, Harvard Magazine, and Coastal Living Magazine. Neil mostly enjoys making pictures by way of block printing, although he can be found painting, using scratchboard and just plain scribbling. He is a member and faculty at the Zea Mays Printmaking Studio in Florence, Massachusetts. Neil’s work can be found in the permanent collection of the Boston Athenaeum and has been recognized and shown at the Society of Illustrators in New York and Los Angeles. His block prints have also appeared in shows in New Zealand, Ireland and Wales. Neil lives in beautiful western Massachusetts where he makes art, gardens, and occasionally mows the lawn.
When did you first get into the art of printmaking and what inspired you to start doing it? I didn’t seriously pursue my career in art and illustraton until later in life. I was first exposed to printmaking by taking a monoprint class at a local printmaking studio, Zea Mays Printmaking in Florence, MA. A little later I went back to school and got my Masters in Illustration at Syracuse University. It was there that I first tried linocuts. I loved the graphic qualities of block prints and was inspired by various printmakers and illustrators like Randall Enos, Frances Jetter, and Stephen Alcorn. I’ve always loved Gustave Baumann’s prints as well.
What is your process when making a design ready to be cut into the linolum? My process will vary somewhat depending on if I am creating a commissioned illustration or working on a personal project. For commissions, I work with an art director, and I first do some research on the topic. Then I create multiple sketches from thumbnails to rough to final sketches for their review. Once the sketch is approved, I transfer it onto the block. If it’s a personal piece, I will do a sketch, but try to leave some room for spontaneity once I start carving. So, it may not be as planned out as a commissioned piece.
Layout Designer Anna Giorgio
To anyone who might be interested in printmaking, what advice would you give them about getting started?
Do you have a specific thing that inspires the pieces that you make or would you say it differs from piece to piece?
Linocut printmaking for me began with buying a book about the process and that got me started on my way. I have been pretty much self-taught. With linocuts, it’s something you can do at home. I sometimes use a printmaking press, but most of the prints I create are done at my home studio without a press and simple tools. Starting out, I made a lot of mistakes but that is all part of the process. I tried to learn from them and the more I did, the more comfortable I got with the medium. So, my main advice is to jump in, experiment and embrace the mistakes. One of the most inspiring teachers I had was David Passalacqua at Syracuse. He reminded us to let go of pre-conceived notions of what a drawing or painting should look like and just scribble! I have tried to hold on to that approach and just enjoy the process of artmaking.
In general, I am particularly inspired by nature, landscapes, and wildlife. I feel like block printmaking is a great visual vehicle for my interest in nature. When I was considering going back to graduate school, I had considered getting a degree in landscape design. So, with my art, I can bring that passion into my prints.
Do you have a favorite piece that you have made and if so what is it?
Photos Courtesy of Neil Bringham
I don’t know that I have a single favorite piece, but some of the ones I’m most satisfied with are an album cover for The Marbles, which was recognized by the Society of Illustrators. I’ve really enjoyed creating some book illustration commissions like the Tree of Life piece, and some of the chapter headers I created for a Little Brown & Co book, Bayou Magic. For personal work, a couple of my two favorite are The Snowy Owl and Down East.
CREATING COMMUNITY through
n a small yellow building, on a small liberal arts campus, a small ceramics studio is having a big impact. The Lasell University community is lucky to have a ceramics studio available for students to learn more about art, and themselves along the way. And for me personally, the ceramics department on campus has truly made all the difference in my college career, and life. Whether you join the department by taking a class, or participating in the Empty Bowls club, ceramics is a bright light on our campus.
Working with clay can be challenging, but there are many small victories throughout the process. Emmanuella Brempong says, “Working with clay is like working through the things you don’t tell people about. The material responds to the sculptor, but this forces you to relax and put your best foot forward in order to produce beautiful pieces.”
TAKING A CLASS
Students involved in ceramics at Lasell become deeply familiar with the studio and often spend late nights finalizing sculptures or throwing on the wheel. Hidden away in the basement of the Yamawaki Art & Cultural Center, the ceramics studio is a place for creativity and collaboration. Recently a friend tried out a new nickname, “the stu” (but I don’t think it will catch on). Nevertheless, the studio feels like a close friend, with the hum of the wheels and lo-fi music on the computer.
Professor Baldizar spends a great deal of time discussing the rich history of ceramics that dates back to at least 24,000 BC. She explains that, “When you take a ceramics class you’re part of that — part of that lineage of history.” There are numerous opportunities for the Lasell community to participate in ceramics, such as taking one of the classes offered, including: Ceramics I, Ceramics II, and Figure Sculpture. The ceramics studio isn’t just for art majors; it’s for everyone in the Lasell community.
Professor Deborah Baldizar runs the ceramics studio and teaches several art courses at Lasell. She is committed to sharing her passion for working with clay and the process of creating ceramic works. But more than that, she teaches the lifelong values of creating art. Spending time in the ceramics studio also means you’re spending time collaborating with peers, learning new artistic techniques, and developing your voice as a creative storyteller.
The classes are often composed of students from all different disciplines and interests. In fact, when many students arrive at the ceramics studio, they lack confidence in their own artistic ability. Professor Baldizar explained that she is always inspired by her students who, “had all different interests, but they all tapped into some sort of creativity”. This showcases the welcoming nature of the ceramics studio, which is truly a
place where anyone can go to find their own artistic voice. A minor in studio arts is one of the most popular minors on Lasell’s campus, and a big part of that comes from the draw of ceramics classes. If the ceramics courses don’t fit within a student’s schedule, there is also the opportunity to build a directed study. Professor Baldizar often expresses that if a student has an idea or interest, the ceramics studio is there to support them. I can speak to this firsthand, as last year I was lucky enough to be part of a directed study to design and create a ceramic mural, with the help of an incredible student team and the support of the Lasell Village. The mural is composed of over 900 tiles and is an example of the community art initiatives that are possible at our university. Professor Baldizar discussed the mural saying it’s, “a metaphor for ceramics at Lasell. Students, faculty and staff should know there is a place for everyone in the ceramics program and the ceramics studio at Lasell. “From the beginning novice to the most experienced clay Potter or sculptor, everyone is welcome and celebrated for what they bring.” Truly, the ceramics studio is a place where everyone has the opportunity to grow as both an artist and a person
Layout Designer Anna King
(I know I have!) When asked what Professor Baldizar hopes her students leave the ceramics studio with, she replied, “I hope students leave with a confidence in themselves as creative people, a confidence in their technical abilities, in their visual communication skills, and in their ability to take on any project, whether they know how to start it or not.”
EMPTY BOWLS In addition to courses, the ceramics studio also hosts the Empty Bowls club, an international grassroots effort to fight hunger through art. The club spends the semester handcrafting unique ceramic bowls and preparing for a fundraising event at the end of the academic year. Professor Baldizar serves as the advisor of the club and explains, “Empty Bowls is a great way to get involved in an extracurricular activity that [not only] gives back to the community but also allows them to make art and fight hunger”.
The event is a night of art and music, and serves a simple meal of soup and bread, representing the efforts to fill the empty bowls of the community. While this article is being written, the Empty Bowls club is working hard to plan their 2022 benefit, their first in-person event since the COVID-19 pandemic. The President of Empty Bowls, Beverly Banks, added, “Empty Bowls is a super valuable club on our campus because we find a way to get so many different people from the community involved in the club”. Empty Bowls is truly a community effort and involves partnerships with other clubs on campus, Lasell Village, and local Newton organizations. As a member of Empty Bowls, I have been able to witness the positive change that can come through a community event such as Empty Bowls. In the past, the club has raised over $2,500 to benefit the Centre Street Food Pantry in Newton. It is truly a perfect example of the impact that a community art project can have.
Photos Courtesy of the Lasell University Ceramics Department
AN INTERVIEW WITH AN ANIM
Who is Nick Kinteris?
What type of animations do you do?
Koala Bob Rig created by Josh Sobel
When starting out, deciding on exactly what type of animation to dedicate your time to can be overwhelming. Animation as a medium consists of a vast breadth of techniques, styles, and technologies. There are certainly essential principles that persist throughout the medium but figuring out which technique to use to facilitate the learning of those principles was a process. Throughout my early exploration of animation, I dabbled in techniques including stop-motion animation, traditional hand-drawn animation, pixel art animation, and 3D animation. 3D animation really clicked with me from the get-go. It also was well suited for the types of projects I wanted to pursue. It’s the animation medium that I use most often today. It’s my focus. And as far as the content goes, I spend most of my time and effort creating character animation with an emphasis on acting and body mechanics.
Koala Bob Rig created by Josh Sobel
Nick Kinteris has been working as a freelance animator for about three years now. Currently, his time is split between working freelance animation commissions, and improving his animation skills through personal projects. For example, he is working on a new collection of animations that he can feature in his demo reel. His goal is to be hired as a full-time animator at a commercial studio.
What inspired you to become an animator? To various degrees throughout my life, I’ve had a fascination with acting and performance. I’m definitely not an “actor” by any means. If you asked me to put together an “acting résumé”, it would consist of one or two plays during my elementary school years. Really hard-hitting dramatic stuff! But being a kid and playing with toys, as kids sometimes do, I’d always try to craft little dramatic moments for my little paper figures or Lego creations to act out. I’d create a moment of revenge on the edge of a cliff. The tragic loss of the hero, as their ship sinks into the deep! And honestly, a lot of this stuff was probably just ripped straight out of whatever movies or TV shows I was watching as a kid. But regardless, I’d spend time carefully staging each scene. In one, a character takes a few steps forward before giving a short emotional speech. But it’s cut short as an explosion sends them reeling! A fight begins! What I didn’t realize at the time was that by doing this, I was subtly learning some of animation’s most basic principles. I was practicing staging, timing and spacing, anticipation, exaggeration, and appeal. Eventually, those little scenes that I’d act out as a kid would translate into my first attempts at stop-motion animation. Spending time posing little characters and snapping pictures became worth it when you pressed play and saw the scene play out frame by frame. From there I caught the animation bug and explored other animation techniques, all inspired by my initial interest in acting and performance.
Why did you want to work as an animator?
Koala Bob Rig created by Josh Sobel
Picking a career path is daunting. And to plan your career isn’t necessarily a given. In most cases, just finding work requires luck, privilege, and opportunity with an undercurrent of hard work. So, with that in mind, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have found a skillset that clicks with me — and doubly lucky that my animation skillset is something I have the means to turn into a career. When working on animation, I get satisfaction from both the process itself and the end result. It’s a skill that I’ve managed to get pretty decent at, and it’s a blast when an animation turns out right. Even when things go wrong, the challenge involved with correcting the ship is often something I find very rewarding. It’s for these reasons that I decided to turn what was otherwise a hobby and an academic pursuit into a career. With this in mind, it’s important to acknowledge that there’s been a lot of important discourse over the last several years about monetizing your hobbies. Choosing to turn my skill and love for animation into a source of income is undoubtedly a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I get to spend more time learning and perfecting my craft — and better yet, I get paid for doing it. But on the other hand, it alters my relationship with animation as it directly ties my skill and performance to my livelihood. That’s not to say you shouldn’t pursue a career in something you enjoy doing. We all have to make a living somehow. And getting to do so through a skill you love is a privilege. As it stands now, I really enjoy working as an animator, and I hope that remains the case for the foreseeable future. I would just make sure to keep some of these ideas in mind before you take the plunge. And, just to reiterate a point that has been made by countless people, make sure to have other hobbies that are just for your own enjoyment!
What animation software do you use? Nowadays I primarily use Autodesk Maya to create animations. When I was first stating out with 3D animation, I started learning using a free and open-source 3D software called Blender. I definitely intend to revisit Blender, especially given its recent rise in popularity these last few years. In terms of 2D animation, I’ve used Adobe Animate (during its “flash” days), Synfig, and Opentoonz. And for pixel art animation I’ve had success using Aseprite.
Photo or Illustration Credit Line
Efi Oladele Rig created by Christop Schoch
What other skills are you pursuing that are helping you become a better animator? Observation is an important part of animation. I almost always use reference footage when creating animations so that I have something real to inspire and inform the motion. Being able to pick out subtle details in reference footage can make or break an animation. Anything from a subtle shift in a person’s weight, to the position of the shoulders might not seem like a big deal. But sometimes those smaller cues can drastically improve an animation’s believability. To help improve my observational skills, I began to consistently practice drawing a few years ago. Capturing a 3D image onto a 2D page requires a great deal of observational practice. And I’ve noticed that the fundamental observational skills that I’ve been learning through drawing have translated pretty well to 3D animation. But a skill that’s even more useful than that, is the ability to find a healthy work-life balance. This is something that I need to continue to work on. Creativity, whether it’s animation or otherwise, draws from your well of experience. You need to make sure to refresh that important source of inspiration by trying to live a fulfilling life outside of work. Sometimes the circumstances of life can make this difficult to manage, but it’s something I must keep reminding myself.
What are your career goals as an animator? My current career goal is to get a full-time junior animation job within the software/games industry. And more specifically to continue to work on character animation. Ideally, I’d love to be a part of a medium to smaller-sized development team. That’s most similar to the teams and projects that I’ve worked on thus far, and I love the level of collaboration you get to experience in that environment. In general, any opportunity that affords more creative freedom is hugely appealing to me.
How did you become a freelance animator? During my time at Champlain College, I spent a good amount of time outside of class working on side projects with friends and peers. Getting the chance to contribute art and animation to a wide range of projects was a rewarding experience. It also allowed me to practice a wide range of skills. After graduating, and having a couple of longer-term projects fall through, I wanted to try to rekindle that sense of variety. And so I decided to try my hand at freelance work.
David Rig created by Gabriel Salas
Yu-Lon Rig created by Artem Dubina
Walk me through your process of creating animations?
What is animation to you and how does it add to the movie, shows, and game experience?
Sam Rig created by Gabriel Salas
Animation is a form of communication. As an animator, no matter the technique, my job is to use motion to communicate information. This information might include emotions, actions, ideas, or any number of other things. Animated movies and shows use the medium as a method of storytelling and performance. For example, animators take a voice actor’s performance and communicate all those feelings, expressions, and physicality to the viewer. The character’s backstory, physical tendencies, and quirks all need to be communicated through their movements. It’s the animator who must relay all of that information to the viewer. Since many modern video games are story-based and even more incorporate some story elements, these same methods apply to animation in games. But with games, there is an added layer of interaction. The player has some level of control within the confines of a game. This means that the animations must also provide real-time feedback to the person playing. Through the motion, the player should have a clear understanding of what every movement and interaction does. In this way, animation serves to teach the player about not only what they can do, but also what the game can do around them. In this way, animation is an invaluable addition to games. And I really do love the challenge of creating animations that fit within the constraints of a game’s design.
Let’s use a character acting shot as an example. Once I either receive an assignment, or conceptualize an animation idea for myself, I typically stand for a short period of time and try to visualize the broad strokes of the motion. I might even try to act out different ideas. I take into consideration the design and personality of the character and the intent of the action. After coming up with a rough idea, I’ll begin to collect references. This involves either filming reference by acting it out myself or finding relevant footage online. I’ll then bring that footage into an Autodesk Maya project with the character rig. From there I’ll begin blocking out the animation. First I find the keyframes, which are the frames that are most essential to communicating the motion. I’ll pose the character accordingly. Then I’ll create the breakdown poses which are the transitional poses between keyframes. Then I add the in-betweens which fill more of the gaps and further refine the animation. After blocking is done, you move into the splining stage. Here, you allow the software to fill in the remaining gaps between frames. Oftentimes this will reveal issues in my timing, spacing, or posing. I’ll then have to systematically iron out those issues by re-adjusting the keys, typically starting with the character’s core and moving outwards through the limbs and head. After that period of damage control is over, then I’ll polish things up with secondary motion, adding motion to clothing, accessories, or hair. And then it’s done!
Creativity of the
oneHaüs is the commercial freelance creative studio of illustrator, creative director, and designer Kirk Wallace and his paraphysical manifestation, Skülly.
He was a creative director for three years helping to scale a startup from four employees to over thirty and spent six years as a freelancer, the last four of which he was fully independent.
Specializing in the world of illustration fused with graphic design among thousands of other ingredients, there’s always a strong focus on strategic solutions executed in an unexpected, unique, and exciting way.
Kirk has earned a BS in Computer Science and an MFA in Illustration. All baked into twenty years of skateboarding to discipline the chaos.
He had the good fortune to work with a wide range of clients from boutique small businesses diligently over the course of months, to large ad agencies and corporations on tight deadlines.
What sparked your original love and passion for art? I think it came from a fusion of two main things. One of course is the media I consumed. Television, comics, cartoons, and most notably video games and toys. Often when friends ask about certain childhood movies, I don’t have a ton of recollection and realize it’s because when I was little, there were a lot of video games and action figures. I preferred being in charge and it was difficult to get me to sit still for too long. Feeling more in control felt like I was creating my own worlds. I think that has been a through line in my work today, creating worlds of my own and feeling like I’m interacting with them. I’ve always loved organization, cleaning, keeping things tidy and just generally looking good. I can remember organizing the cereal boxes when I’d be in the store with my mother at a really young age. Things just made more sense to me if they were straight and lined up in a calming way. So, you take those two elements and combine them, and I think you get a pretty good sense of the wacky playful style, packaged in a clean, tidy design.
Even though Kirk is a busy guy he still made time to sit down with TARNISHED Magazine to answer our questions about his career and share some of his art with us.
What led to the creation of your sidekick Skully? Skully was created alongside an identity/brand designer Richie Stewart who is a very very dear friend of mine. I asked him to do some lettering for my business name at the time and he asked if I’d be alright with him running a bit with a logo/character and I said of course! He made the logo version of Skully as a combination of all my interests and the way he says it, my soul. Which was really exciting seeing how much he could pull out of me and distill into such simple graphic shapes. The flipped brim hat a nod to skateboarding and punk music, the hold in the head circuitry as a nod to my computer science background, the friendly smile, small flaws and chips in the head, etc. Every shape had a story and I just couldn’t help myself but to do a more full color version. That’s when it all started really clicking. I started thinking, “Okay, how tall is skully? Does his head float or is it connected? Is he friendly or a little devil?” and the story took off from there. He’s been a great muse for me, allowing me to have something to draw at any time. If I ever need to practice something, I’ve got Skully to draw. He’s also been a fun and fantastic brand story that people love.
What’s your biggest barrier to being an artist? How do you address it? I’m rarely satisfied with my work, achievements, etc. Fortunately loved ones help keep me grounded, reminding me of the things that are important. Additionally, talking to someone when you’re feeling down. Documenting the way you’re feeling is really helpful because it can be a gentle reminder you’ve been here before, and will get through it just like every other time. Years ago, at the start of any project I’d be ready to give the client their money back and just go hide, fearing I couldn’t get things done properly. But after 10+ years of never having anything but a successful result, I’m able to remind myself, “You’ve been here before, literally last month... Keep going”.
How do you make sure you have time to create? Do you have a set time or build it into your calendar? It’s my deadlines that keep me making. I’ve been really fortunate to have stayed busy with clients from the get-go in 2012. Client work always needs to be done, bills always need to be paid, so work creation always needs to take place. In the event that I have some down time, I’m usually trying to recharge outside of illustration, so I don’t worry much. If the downtime gets too long, I work on some portfolio stuff in fear that my career is over!
Have you ever said no to an opportunity? How did you decide to say no? I think it comes with privilege to tell people they need to say no. I know it’s a very ‘influencer’ thing to say, “the power of ‘no’” etc. Some people need to take anything because of their situations. I’ve taken a lot of dumb projects, but the more I have refined exactly what I want to be working on, written down those rules, and used them as guidelines, the more I’ve been able to hone in on work that makes me happier. More specifically to the question of “how” – I’d say writing down all your rules, goals, etc helps you measure up a new email against those rules to see if it’s a good fit. In the heat of any moment, you’ll always be tempted to say yes. I do really believe that early on for many it’s not an option. Don’t feel bad for taking some junky work to start.
How do you determine what to charge for your art or services? There are two broad answers for this. One is to document your work often, keep track of how much time things take, figure out what you want to be paid as a yearly salary, divide it up to hourly, make sure you’re getting at least that for any project, etc. As a freelancer, it’s important to factor in a ton of stuff, like health insurance, expenses to run a business, etc. The other way which again I feel like comes with time, is starting to look into value-based pricing, art licensing, royalties, etc. Any business of illustration books are super helpful. These things, along with contracts and all that can be really intimidating, and I don’t think there’s shame in waiting a little bit before you get into it, but eventually it’s all pivotal in an art business.
Are there specific subjects or themes you return to regularly in your art?
Do you have a network of other artists you rely on? How do you do to support each other?
I think I’d probably pinpoint this theme of storytelling with details. I’ve always loved little accessories and details in things like legos, cartoons, action figures, etc. And I really like adding little tears to clothing, buttons, helmets, certain types of shoelaces on a boot, etc. I love having people look at my work for a long time and seeing all these mini stories in a character. I often find myself trying to create an aspirational world that still feels realistic and based in reality. You can’t show pure joy and happiness without some struggle and flaws.
Online and locally, I think friends are absolutely paramount. If nothing else, for comfort and to bounce emails off of. I consider my friends my business partners. We know what each other are working on day to day, week to week, even if we aren’t working together. If we’re in a pinch, we can help one another with some work, refer jobs, etc. It’s been the single most growth for myself because it puts you into a network of multiple wonderful brains.
Do you have a fiveyear business plan? Lately, I’ve been watching some friends that are a bit earlier in their career spend a lot of time planning what exactly they want to be doing in the art world or in their careers. For me, I didn’t get that luxury because I was so busy from the get-go. I posted some work on dribbble, and then got a commission, it hasn’t really slowed down from there. I’m extremely grateful for that, but I also envy these friends who can spend time really nailing down the exact types of work they want to do, their organizational systems, and the clients they’re hunting for. I think it’d be nice to have a little more of a ‘where do I want to be in five years’ situation, but it’s difficult to rip yourself out of the driver’s seat when the car’s already going 100 miles per hour.
Layout Designer Ryan Crowe
What are you besides an artist? What are your most important relationships? How does art-making impact other parts of your life? How do you define success as an artist? Recently I got really twisted up worrying about how much of an artist I really am, if I’m doing enough personal work, am I inspiring enough people, and all that. I came out of that spiral with a newfound definition of an artist for myself, realizing that artistry can be in the conversations you have with friends, the way you make them laugh, the way you ponder and think about the world, etc. So even if I’m not drawing on a computer, I can take some solace knowing I’m still being an artist because of the way my brain and soul affects the world even if just the immediate people around me.
As I get a bit older in my 30’s now, my world also continues to get a bit smaller. The people that matter to me grow fewer and tighter. As a result, I’ve been a bit less of a psycho about working hours and unrealistic achievements. When I was first starting in my 20’s, my relationships pretty much across the board took a major hit. I was working 18 hour days 7 days a week and never minded, but it left a lot of people out on the sidelines. I feel like I’m still recovering from that intensity the last few years. Where before my success was purely in followings, numbers, income, and so on, now success to me looks like providing for myself and family and having lots of free time while feeling fulfilled. I often say I feel like I work a lot, but I never have a job. And I really love that, because I love working, but I never want to feel like I’ve got a job.
Photos Courtesy of Kirk Wallace
with Beau Wing
he digital age and its influence on how publications are distributed has been ongoing for many years, with the internet opening doors that were otherwise unimaginable. It is easy to see that digital media is becoming the standard. As digital media has become more expansive, the print industry is overshadowed and seems to have a harder time keeping its relevance. COVID-19 has added another obstacle in the way of a printer’s ability to stay in business. WingPress in Framingham, Massachusetts has been no exception to these difficulties. Adapting is what separates WingPress from other printers.
Beau Wing, owner and manager of WingPress, took over the family business in 1991 and has grown it over time. Beau modernized the printing process and offers services related to product design and promoting the brand identities of clients. There are graphic designers who work with clients to conceptualize, implement, and create advertising and branding materials for a variety of clients and their different needs. Working with these designers also ensures that the client is guided to the right paper and inks for the best price depending on each individual project.
Color codes are important when doing design work because there are different color spaces that can be used. The most common two are Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) and Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (CMYK); what’s the difference and why is this important? The main reason is that RGB is intended for digital viewing. This is because of the way screens create color using tiny lights across the screen, made up of red, green, and blue that allow for more vibrant colors. On the other hand, CMYK is intended for print. When 50
converting from RGB to CMYK the colors are not as vibrant and they get darker when printed. The final color mode is PMS (Pantone Matching System). Instead of combining cyan, magenta, yellow, and black; PMS has specific colors already made. When printing using Pantone colors you can find the exact color that is needed for precise color choices. As shown in the three-step process below, offset printing is a common process at WingPress with multi-color presses that are meant for large format materials and jobs. It is a long process to maintain, prepare, and run the large offset printer that spans across the printing room. The larger the machine, the more moving parts there are which makes understanding how the machine works incredible. This makes the six-color offset the most complex printer at WingPress because of how much time and preparation go into running it. Because the offset can use six colors, that means CMYK and Pantone printing are both available for clients. More colors will mean an increase in cost, however, it is worth the value to have so many different colors for professional prints. In addition to the six-color press, there is a smaller four-color press that functions similarly. The main differences are a decrease in color options but easier preparation. The team of designers at WingPress leads clients to the right options for their projects. They present the best deliverables on a project-to-project basis. Digital printing is another form of print that many people benefit from in cost and delivery time. Digital printing bounds toner to paper using electrostatic charges, which comes with
C its own array of benefits and challenges. A major positive for digital printing is that it requires less labor-intensive preparation, and this results in a faster turnaround time for a project. Another upside is that digital printing does not require a balance of water and ink. This can result in a more accurate ink count when running, with less waste of materials. Digital printing does cost less but is limited to the four process colors, CMYK, that are standard today. PMS inks are not available on the digital press. This limits the range of hues and colors available to clients who require more complex color schemes and values. Using digital printing will still fulfill a high-quality printing need, but without the knowledge of someone with an understanding of how printing works, projects can become costly. Tarnished Magazine is printed at WingPress, meaning that their designers work with the Tarnished creators to ensure that everything will print how it is intended to be viewed. Looking at this publication on a screen will be different from how the physical copies look. Aside from just converting RGB to CMYK, or Pantone, the article designs must change to compensate and change from digital to print. This includes different colors, lighting, and legibility issues that arise when creating publications. Walking through how a project will look once printed, and describing the best setup, shows the personality of the company. WingPress cares about giving its clients the best production value at a fair and cost-effective.
Layout Designer Caelan Watson
1 The images and graphics which are intended to be printed are transferred onto a “plate,” typically made of metal (two plates are used for a double-sided page). A chemical engraving of the image is burned onto the plate, causing it to accept ink.
The plate is then transferred onto a rubber cylinder. Additional rollers feed ink onto this plate, preparing it for the next stage.
Photos Courtesy of Wing Press; Illustrations by Caelan Watson
3 The offset cylinder rotates opposite the plate cylinder and presses the ink into the paper.
At Lasell University our teaching philosophy is rooted in the idea of Connected Learning. This means that learning is more often project-based and connected to real-world situations. TARNISHED Magazine was born of this model. Students learn in collaboration with each other, and their investigations reach across campus — and beyond — in discovery of artists that inform and inspire. There were several other student-produced publications on the Lasell campus in 2012, when the first edition of TARNISHED was created, but none of them exclusively covered to the arts. TARNISHED became the terrain to explore literature, music, studio arts, illustration, and the digital magic that infuses our visual world. Ten years later, I am happy to say that TARNISHED flourishes as a venue for learning and celebrating the talents of our contributors. Congratulations to all who have made this award-winning publication a source of pride in our creative community!
Layout Designer Chloe Kinteris
“Where the Wild Things Bloom”
Layout Designer Chloe & Jamie Kinteris Photo or Illustration Credit Line
“Hands of Fear”
“What Defines Fear?”
Shaye Lyn Schneider
Layout Designer Chloe & Jamie Kinteris
“As Strong as Bamboo”
“A Butterfly’s Visit”
Layout Designer Ciarra Chasse
Illustrations by James Kava (book); Caelan Watson (castle)
e had been running. For weeks now, probably, but what good was it to note the number of times the sun rose and fell if he had lost count of the days a few hundred miles back? The only thing the sun was good for, anymore, was its position in the sky, and how it could tell him how long it would be before dark. That was more useful than anything.
He had been running. But then again, that’s all anyone could do now. He felt it in his chest. He felt the way a large breath wasn’t enough. He felt the way the air would tighten in his lungs and collapse as soon as he let it out like it was toxic. He felt the way each house he had broken into was abandoned: memories torn and stripped from their happy places on bookshelves and in picture frames, and it felt wrong entering without permission from long-lost residents when he had to do what he needed to. When he had to take belongings and food and seek safety and comfort in a bed that wasn’t his own. But, he had to do what he needed to. He always did, and that was made abundantly clear as the clouds rolled in over his head, his natural clock fighting for a stance ahead of the looming shadow of rain. He felt the change in the atmosphere around him, too. The hairs on at the back of his neck raised, and he wished now more than ever that he had a hood on the stupid brown leather jacket he decided to wear over his shoulders. It did little more than shield him from the wind, and its efforts to do even that were less than applaudable. He let himself slow to a walk. His shoes scuffed across dirt and rubble from too-worn pavement. He kicked a stone, just because he could, and it skidded across the painted yellow down the middle. He traded the battered guitar case to his right hand, and flexed his left to undo the tension that locked his knuckles. A can of soup clattered to the base, and he sighed with the distribution of the weight. The sight of the farmland had long since exhausted him. Rolling flats of burned grass were all he had seen for the last few days. His last shelter was a car that had its own proud layer of dust and a busted lock on the passenger side. ••• It was a few days ago, not that he had been counting. But the rusted metal and run down interior welcomed him in a way the long strip of highway he’d been following hadn’t. He was enclosed in his own space. Shielded. Protected. The state of the car made it feel like it had been abandoned long 61
before this all started, but he also knew that probably wasn’t the case. Everything belonged to someone at one point or another, and this car was no different. It was just easier to detach himself from it. Or so he thought. He rummaged through the console, the glove compartment. Inside was the car registration, but he lifted it away before he could get a glimpse of the name. He found a few wadded-up five dollar bills crammed between some CDs and a bunch of takeout napkins. The cup holder in front of the car radio held countless pennies, nickels, and dimes. Funny, how bills and change weren’t currency anymore. Now, he paid with his sorry excuse for survival. He offered his guilt and shame for things that might help him live just a little bit longer. He didn’t think it was a fair trade. The leather of the interior was patchy and cracked with use and exposure. Sitting in the passenger seat almost made him feel like there was someone sitting there beside him. Like they just pulled over for a pit stop in the middle of a road trip. In a way, it was almost true. But instead, he was alone, and that thought made him climb over to the driver’s side. This way, he couldn’t pretend he was waiting for someone to return. This way, the car could be his shelter and nothing else. It stopped being a shelter when he saw the bit of battered paper hanging out of the sun visor. It must have been broken at one point because it seemed the only way it was held up was by the rubber bands that ran around both parts of the visor to keep it in place. He tugged on the corner, carefully, and the whole rectangle slipped out. The image was crinkled, slightly, as if it had been kept folded in a wallet for some time. The white crease where the ink wore away separated the two people in the photo. The first was a man, not much younger than himself, who wore a green shirt and a brown leather jacket. One of his hands was tucked safely into a pocket, and his smile emitted true happiness. He had striking eyes, ones that seemed to hold mirth, laughing at a joke no one else knew about. The woman standing next to him had an arm linked with his, her hair flying around her face like a silver halo. Despite her aging jowl drooping from her grin, she held a strong resemblance to the younger man; she was his mother. The air in the car settled as he brushed his finger over the photo. Before he knew what was happening, he was choking on his own breath and tears were springing from his eyes. They were so content. They were comfortable, affectionate, and close, and there was nothing more obvious than the love they shared as a mother and son. No one could be that consumed with joy unless they had already experienced pain and grief beforehand. There was a story behind the photo and a story behind the car. What must have happened for something as special as this to be left behind? The smiles beneath his thumbs blurred as his hands shook. The car belonged to this guy, this son, and it was no longer a shelter. It was a graveyard. The napkins and spare change had a reason to be there. This man pulled up to drive-throughs and ordered food, treated his mother to a meal, dropped a crinkled receipt into his glove compartment. He probably had friends, a job to commute to, car insurance to pay. This guy had a life, and he was sitting in the center of it, intruding. 62
He couldn’t help himself as he launched to the glove compartment, thumbing for the car registration he brushed aside, and there it was: Sawyer Baldwin. ••• When he saw the small smattering of houses just on the horizon line, he supposed he should’ve been grateful. Instead, however, he came to a complete stop. He had passed a few neighborhoods in the last few days, but nothing more than some houses standing on their lonesome. He barrelled past them because he didn’t want to look at photographs or “Live, Laugh, Love” signs moms hung in their kitchens. He didn’t want their food, didn’t want their support, and didn’t want to give himself the satisfaction of sleeping in a bed. He didn’t think he deserved it. But now, he was facing a residential area, and he was almost run dry. There was nothing more he could do to avoid it, but he couldn’t stop thinking about that car. He couldn’t stop thinking about Sawyer Baldwin and his mother. His index finger brushed the edge of the picture in his pocket, and it burned. ••• He hadn’t stayed long in the car. He slept there the first night, and then tried gathering himself to leave. He had tucked the photo back into the visor, and every few seconds, as he made to leave and as the sun began to rise, his eye caught the edge of it again. He felt restless, and his fingers couldn’t stop drumming on the dash. He had no obligation to Sawyer Baldwin. Sawyer Baldwin and his mother were as good as dead, and it didn’t matter. He looked frantically around the car for one more thing to take, and as he turned to face the back seat, he caught sight of brown leather half draped over the seat and half spilling
Layout Designer Caelan Watson
onto the floor of the car. He grasped the leather and pulled it roughly. The zipper clanged against the metal of the headrest. He angered at the sound and pulled the jacket over his shoulders aggressivelwvy. He scurried over to the passenger side once more, but before his hand even had the chance to reach for the door handle, he flung himself over to snatch the photo out from the visor. ••• It did nothing to him that he’d be drenched in a matter of minutes. He couldn’t take another step despite his legs feeling like they were still running, and the guitar case slowly listed his body to the right with its weight. His whole life was in that case. A spare change of clothes. The can of soup he intended to save until he couldn’t hold back the hunger anymore. His house keys. A cell phone he kept despite the fact it had run out of battery ages ago and wouldn’t work even if it hadn’t. A social security card, birth certificate, and license. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. He didn’t know why. The clouds answered back anyway, like they were speaking for the photograph tucked away in his pocket. His apology was otherwise met with silence.
ashtray and let them fall to the floor with a heavy thud and a clatter. He reached into his pocket, bypassing the photo, and felt around for the lighter. Once the candles were lit, he thought it was a mistake. He could see his surroundings more clearly, and the light made his presence known. In the dark, he could simply put on a false front and act as though he wasn’t actually there. Now, there wasn’t any silence. The candlelight made more noise than screaming could, and it was deafening enough for him to blindingly pull out the photo again. He didn’t know why he did it, but there they were, staring back at him. Sawyer Baldwin, mid laugh, and his mother, a pleased look on her face. He envied them. He envied that moment they had together. He regretted ever choosing to sit in Sawyer Baldwin’s car, and he regretted the stupid jacket. He opened his hand and let the photo flutter to rest on the coffee table then tore off the jacket because if he wore it for any longer Sawyer Baldwin would make him feel like nothing more than the dirt on the bottom of a shoe. The jacket zipper clicked against the wooden coffee table like it had against the headrest, and if there was anyone he should be apologizing to, it was the jacket.
His feet started moving without him. He thought of that man, reflected back at him with his own brown leather jacket, looking newer than the one on his shoulders.
He refused to look down at the table, and instead chose to stare at the long spiraling crack in the ceiling. The wallpaper had peeled in the far corner, and the plaster crumbled.
His shadow followed him, with more conviction than himself, and he headed for the houses.
He was tired. He had barely anything of his own, and all he did was take and take without an ounce of giving. But why should he feel sorry? He did nothing but work towards one goal. He did nothing but strive to stay alive.
The first house he came upon was quaint and small with a fence and a glorified barn in the backyard. There was a gate and a path that led up to the front door, and a wrap-around porch that looked like it had seen better days. He stepped onto the front porch and leaned his guitar case next to the rusted watering can on the stairs. The door was wooden, typical of an old farmhouse, and he braced himself. He propped his right shoulder up in anticipation. He charged, his feet building up a rhythm like the Roadrunner, hopping like a boxer about to throw a punch, but he fell short and rested his hand beneath the knocker. His clothes were drenched, and his hand was still damp from before he was granted the slight reprieve from the storm, and it’s too much, so he slinkedaround to the other side of the porch, and a window was still open like someone had tried to let in a nice afternoon breeze. The curtains from inside whipped from dangerous gusts of wind and rain. He let his hands slip between the sill and the top of the window, and he gripped it harder than necessary, pushing it the rest of the way open. Dirt and grime covered his fingers, so he wiped them on his pants and turned back to grab his guitar case and slip it inside before himself.
Illustrations by Caelan Watson
The place was dusty, but well kept. It had to have belonged to an older couple because there were more crocheted pillows than he could count. The furniture was all antique and rickety. A grandfather clock in the corner ticked ominously.
He never thought being alive would feel so pointless when he saw Sawyer Baldwin and his mother. He ran his hands down his face heavily. He stared at the ceiling some more, daring it to force him to not look away, yet the urge came again, anyway. He knew the photo was still there, he knew Sawyer Baldwin was still looking at him. Still disappointed. He wrenched his eyes away from the ceiling. The photo was face down. The faces weren’t judging him. The candles cast a slow wavering light, and it was then that he noticed the script written on the back. He quickly leaned forward and picked the abused photo up, his face so close to the flame, he could feel the heat. The writing was dark, in black ink, but the lettering was shaky. Feminine, but shaky. He read the words, and they lifted off the page like Sawyer Baldwin’s mother was standing behind him, whispering them into his ear, and the painful “oh,” that left his body as he felt a shudder rock his entire body was nothing but a harmony to the silence in the room. “Under the shelter of each other, people survive.”
The house was dark. He lost the last of daylight a few minutes ago, so he grappled around in the dining room where dinner candles sat on the table and carried them to the coffee table in the living room. He brushed aside a phonebook and an 63
HELL IS FULL OF MUSHROOMS M
ost change comes quietly. It’s not always like a fiery phoenix or a blooming flower. It’s usually quiet, like an edge unraveling, a maggot squirming; something to fight against when noticed, something to fear. Change is decay just as often as it is rebirth. Change is mushrooms. Change is crumbling. As a human, I know change. I am change. The spores in my blood take root in soft places, and before I know it, I am bloated and pale with mushrooms. I have to decide not to decay. I have to fight it with what fire I can find, and the fight is never over. Sometimes I want to break apart. I wonder what I look like on the inside, full of spongy foreign growths white like bone or yellow like cartilage. I feel fragile. I imagine Hell is full of mushrooms. No fire, no heat, just the silence of decay and the heaviness of spores in the air. Everything is soft and bloated and breaking open. The air smells sweet and musty. I used to think I belonged there. When I was a child, I created jungles in my mind. Enormous plants in vibrant greens. Strange crisp fruits. Cool moss. I would wander through it while curled up in bed, half asleep. Soon after I began third grade, I dreamed that God told me I wasn’t worthy of having a body. Vines wound through my ribcage, fruits swelled in place of my eyes. I grew roots that tied me to the mossy earth, and a sparrow settled itself where my heart had been. In my dream I was sobbing. When I woke up, I forced myself to cry. I thought of Hell a lot back then. It followed me through middle school and into high school, where life got harder, and into another house, where mushrooms seem to grow year round. Church took up a lot of my life. If there was one thing I learned from it, it was that I needed to repent. Children should not be loud, especially not on Sundays. That was a sin. Riding bikes on Sunday was also a sin. Picking one’s nose was a sin. Fighting with one’s siblings was a sin. A girl my age told me she didn’t read books on Sunday, because she wanted to have that day be fully dedicated to church. I decided reading was a sin, too. We were eleven. I used to spend most of my time reading. When it happened that I finished one book and didn’t have anything new to read, I would wander around the house in a kind of stupor, aching for something new to escape into. I would browse the 64
kid’s books on the weekly library trips my mother took me on. I looked over every title, pulling out the ones that caught my eye and reading the dust jacket. My favorite library at the time had a small children’s novel section, but I liked it anyway. I was maybe eight or nine. It was an old building, probably from the 50’s, and the children’s section was part of the original construction. There was a shelf of Greek mythology in the children’s nonfiction that I remember with particular fondness. I had to stand on one of those creaky, upside-down-bucket library stools to reach it. One summer, my mom, my little brother, and I went methodically through their bookshelf of fairy tale picture books. We checked out every single one, twenty or thirty at a time, and Mom read them all to us. When we returned them at the front desk, the librarian would ask what we thought. We helped them weed out a few poorly written picture books. There were Calvin and Hobbes compilations and Tintin books in the back, and a summer reading program where you could get little toys for hours spent reading. That was a good time in my life. After coming home from this library one day with an armload of books, my dad plucked out the two children’s chapter books I had chosen and set them on top of a high cupboard. “You can read these,” he told me, “when I’ve made sure they’re okay.” I felt so violated, so unjustly punished. Even after he gave them back to me, days later, I refused to read them. I’ve gotten too old to enjoy them now, even if I change my mind. I had a little collection of books of my own back then. They’re only sentimental now, but when I was younger I read them over and over. I especially loved a pretty book about wild plants I got as a birthday gift. It was exciting to learn different uses for the weeds I saw hiding in lawns or gardens, or growing freely in nature preserves. All the plants in the book could be eaten raw or cooked. Some could soothe colds or dye cloth. I used to dig up dandelion roots, scrub off the dirt, then dry them to add to herbal tea. Whenever I saw a plant I recognized on our walks to school, my mom says, I would tell her exactly what it was called and what it could be used for. I learned to recognize poisonous plants too, but only to avoid them, of course. My book mentioned some useful plants that had deadly lookalikes. Not wanting to make a fatal mistake at that age, I tended to avoid those altogether. I remember
Layout Designer Caelan Watson
Illustration by Georgia Sylvester
hearing that a candle made with nightshade berries left burning in someone’s room would kill them by morning. I wondered if that was true. Two or three months after the start of middle school, I looked out into the backyard I thought I knew so well and saw the first mushrooms. Big mushrooms. Flat mushrooms. I hadn’t noticed them growing. School took up all my time from waking up to falling asleep, and I wondered if they would die soon. The beginning of middle school was a drastic change for me. I drowned in assignments and projects. The time I used to spend wandering around the backyard, drawing with chalk on the sidewalk, riding my bike down a hill, reading new books, or making little things out of leaves or string or paper, was now devoted to math problems and writing assignments and worksheets. It was so loud in that place that sometimes I would lie in bed at night and feel my ears ringing in the silence. I was completely overwhelmed. Life never really went back, either. I was free during the summers, but then school would start again, and I would be working inside in the fall by the time mushrooms crept back into the yard. Sometime in middle school, I had another dream. I had died, and was being led through some kind of airport terminal towards Heaven. I cried the entire time, convinced there was some kind of mistake, because I didn’t deserve to go to Heaven. I cried when I woke up, too. There’s a mushroom that grows all over in the woods where I live now. It’s a ghostly flower that rises from the forest floor after a heavy rainstorm to glut itself on loam swollen by the rain. I wonder if it’s poisonous. I wonder what it tastes like. My aunt came to visit one month after my mom kicked my dad out of the house. I talked to her a lot while she was here. She left the Church in the 90’s over a surge of gay suicides no Church leader seemed to care about, but there was no hellfire burning her up from the inside. She wasn’t miserable. She was calm and happy. She knew who she was. She loved her family and they loved her. I was afraid and amazed at the time by how her life has purpose and peace without her believing in God or following scores of mostly arbitrary rules. She had no threat of Hell or feelings of inadequacy constantly hanging over her and making her choices for her. I had a lot I was considering at the time, and there’s a lot I’ve considered since, but I knew for sure that I could not heal or grow if I stayed in the Church. To stay would have been to stagnate, to rot from the inside. Deciding to leave Hell behind was the most terrifying thing I have ever done, but I feel stronger than I have in years. I still have to fight every day against the stillness of the mushrooms that try to take me over, and I still want to rest, sometimes more than anything. Lately I feel as though I have been debriding my psyche, cutting and peeling away rotting tissue, cleaning death from my wounds so they can be stitched and bound and can begin to heal.
I’ve just recently begun learning names for new plants. There’s ragweed, whose small dense flowers I remember collecting as I walked to my elementary school. I’d gather them in my hand until I had a big handful and then spread them across my path like a farmer sowing wheat. There’s also ground-ivy, a little purple-leafed herb that’s always reminded me of mint. Sometimes I still pick a couple leaves and crush them between my fingers to release the smell. I’ve learned to recognize coltsfoot, too, a pale-stemmed, leafless dandelion that sprouts straight from the mud in spring. I noticed a patch of jewelweed growing near my house, a shrubby plant used to soothe poison ivy burns. School is calmer now, too. I no longer feel trapped. I notice when the mushrooms begin to grow in the fall, I watch them start to sprout. They don’t catch me by surprise the way they did when I was eleven and trapped inside all day for the first time in my life. I still read a lot, and it still hurts when I don’t have anything to lose myself in, but I doubt that will change anytime soon. At least I can talk about what I’ve read or watched and not worry that my dad will take it away, or that my mom will have to convince him to leave me alone. I talk about a story, and my mom listens and smiles. I watch shows on Sundays now. I listen to music about sex and drugs while trying to learn what I like. I don’t worry about the length of my shorts or the tightness of my shirt, but about how I feel about myself. I don’t pray for forgiveness. I think of my aunt who seems to glow with sunlight and who talks gently about her past and I hope for that for myself. We’ve been in touch over the past couple years. I’ve gotten to see the busy backyard in her California home where her youngest son showed off his pet chickens and his small swing set and the vegetable garden her husband planted for the family to enjoy. I think of my mom’s vegetable garden, which she planted and tended to without any help from my dad. He didn’t care enough to get involved. She’s grown tomatoes about every other year since we got our first house with a yard. Each time, her tomato plants would grow up to tower over the rest of the garden, producing bushels and bushels well into the Fall. The fruits awere usually small and red or gold, but sometimes we’d get big ones like the kind sold in grocery stores. We’d walk over to pick them once every couple days, carrying with us our largest mixing bowl. When I brushed against a tomato stem while reaching for something, it left a yellow stain on my hand that smelled sharp and fresh like cilantro. I learned to make salsa fresca to keep up with the harvest. Mom made lots of caprese salad. Even after the first frosts killed the tomato plants, the last fruits kept ripening on withered black branches. When even those had been picked, Mom tugged out the trellises and the dead plants sagged down to rest with the rotten tomatoes split open on the dirt. Fall came again, like it always does, and the mushrooms came with it.
Layout Designer Ray Karaczun
Where It Begins There I was, holding the edge of the world with my small and chalked-up fingers. Tiny crumbs fell down into the darkness as I peered over the ledge just to listen for any splash or dribble from the pebbles. Sadly, there was no sound at all. Can this really be called the end? What if it just has a sad beginning? They do say this is where the road begins. I pondered these questions while staring into the vast nothing that met the sky. Rising from the ground, I dusted off my overalls and looked out into the sky with no ground to hold it. Well, no wonder it stops here. It got tired from holding up all that blue, I sighed into the wind. The sidewalk had more cracks closer to the edge, while it smoothed out leading into town. With no support down here, it crumbled off to nothing! I thought for a while before coming to a brilliant conclusion. I ran home to the rest of the world and grabbed all the supplies I needed before running back to the end of the sidewalk. Along the way, I picked the prettiest flowers I could find that were growing between the cracks in the asphalt.
Illustration by Elise Stanbury
The wind howled when I got back to the end. It pushed more pebbles off the edge with every blow. Without another stone to lose, I laid out my supplies and got to work. The different colored strings of yarn and the yellow deflated balloons sat waiting for their chance to help. Where to start, where to begin, I thought. When the wind blew to break the sidewalk more, I filled up my balloons so they held the sidewalk together! When stones would stand strong against the bellowing winds, I put the strings of the balloons in their cracks to lighten their fight! And when the sidewalk looked sad and would start to break, I’d gift it a flower to give it strength. The sidewalk must get lonely at the end of the world with nothing but the sky so far away. It puts in so much work just by holding itself up, but the wind doesn’t notice. It just keeps blowing while the sidewalk just keeps crumbling. I will keep walking as if it were only their beginning.
here was a point in my life where I felt that I had to fit into the predominantly white standards that took over my hometown. I was known as the mixed girl with the curly fro and each morning my mom would set aside time to try and tame that curly fro. Now, I admire my mom dearly but imagine someone with pin straight short hair attempting to comb through a curly haired knotty mess each morning. With the right amount of patience she was able to do it but it didn’t exactly come easy. My mother spent hours a day researching products, techniques, and tools to help maintain my hair. I loved her for trying but I also understood the days when she felt defeated by the curly haired mess that took over my scalp. That’s what I used to refer to my hair as, “a curly haired mess.” Only because I was made to believe that’s what it was. Throughout elementary school I was able to wear my hair out without caring about the opinions of others. Of course at that age insecurities weren’t so much a thing. I could be myself and vulnerable while my young brain wasn’t able to
comprehend judgement from my peers. I could walk around not worrying about what I looked like, how my clothes fit, or what my hair was doing. I dont think a lot of people talk about the transition from elementary to middle school enough. That transition has to be one of the most important yet frightening time periods. The change from fourth grade to fifth also marked the change of learning how to take care of my own hair. Yup, that’s right. My mom decided to retire after years of straining her arms. I remember the first time I tried to condition and style my hair. Of course I believed I was doing great until I looked in the mirror to find a not so great result. I deeply hated how poofy my hair looked, I always longed for it to be completely flat or at least not so big to where it stood out. After a few school mornings spent doing my hair only to get the same “bad” result, I discovered the satisfaction of throwing my hair in a bun and calling it a day. From there, each morning I would flip my head upside down and gather my hair into a handful, tying it the tightest I could on the top of my head
Layout Designer Chloe Kinteris
while sleeking over any frizz with pantene conditioner. I was constantly suffocating my curls with the mindset that I never needed to wear my hair out again. Around the time 7th grade began, my hair had lost most of its pattern. I would look in the mirror and would hate the image that stared back. My beautiful curls that used to flourish and bounce with each step turned into stringy, coarse strands that resembled spaghetti. It wasn’t until now that I realized losing my curls made me lose myself. I define seventh to eighth grade as my “awkward stage” of life. A time where I hadn’t fully grown into the person that I am now. I never realized that the people that surround you truly do have an impact on who you are. Which is why the group of girls that surrounded me in middle school didn’t exactly make me feel like the best version of myself. I would watch as we’d get ready for events, the satisfaction of them warming up a hot iron, parting their hair, and running a straightener down each strand. A process that only took about 30 minutes. As a girl who was tired of wearing the same bun every single day, I discovered the “art” of straightening, at least that’s what I thought it was at the time. One night I had expressed to my mom how badly I wanted to get my hair done, I had never straightened it before so I wasn’t skilled enough to try it myself. The conversation led to my mom arguing with me, explaining to me how my curl pattern would be completely ruined. She repeatedly told me no until I explained to her that I would only do it once. That argument sadly led her to give in. Looking back, I wished I would have just accepted her first response. Growing up, it was incredibly difficult to find a stylist that knew how to correctly tame my hair. So when my mom was referred to someone who specializes in straightening curls, we immediately took the chance. Walking into a hair salon not knowing what your hair will look like when you walk out is a nervous feeling. I sat down in the stylist’s chair who went by the name of Natalie. Natalie was an incredibly kind hearted, caring person from the moment I met her. She truly made me feel like I could trust her with my hair as my mom explained that I wanted it to be straightened. Then began the two and a half hour process. Natalie first spent time washing and deep conditioning my hair thoroughly, she then parted it and began to blow it out using a paddle brush. When the blow drying was done, she parted my hair again, this time going over each section with a flat iron to seal in the heat. As Natalie spun the chair around to reveal the final result, I instantly fell in love with the way that it looked, with the way that I looked. I felt confident with hair that I could flip to the side of my shoulder. Hair that looked sleek and flat. The next day at school, I felt like for once I had been noticed. “Sasha, your hair looks amazing.”
Illustrations by Chloe Kinteris
“I honestly like your hair better straight than curly” was all I heard from my classmates. As someone who used to only seek approval from others, these comments made me feel good about myself. These comments are what fueled my obsession with straightening my hair constantly, spending loads of money a few times a month just to feel pretty for one to two weeks and then back to putting my hair in a bun until I could get it straightened again. Seeking out approval from others based on my hair style is what made me hate my natural curls even more. I spent two years cycling through straightening my hair, putting it up, and sometimes gaining
the confidence to wear it out only to put it up the moment I stepped into school. By the time freshman year of highschool rolled around, my hair had fallen pretty much dead. After officially being done with wasting money on straightening my hair for it only to look nice for a week, I realized that I wanted to devote more time into caring for my curls. From there, every night I fell asleep to youtube videos of my favorite curly haired influencers discussing their transformations and how they were able to grow their hair healthily. I spent my free periods in school researching products that were good for curly hair and stylists that were known for specializing in curls. After hours of doing so, I came across a curly haired stylist not too far from my town. She had been labeled as an official Deva Curl certified stylist after months of training with the company. While explaining to my mom that I wanted to take the time to care for my hair, I made an appointment with the curly haired stylist who went by the name of Jackie. I dreamed of what my curls could look like If I constantly took the time to be gentle with them. Which is why when my appointment came around I was ready to sit down in the chair and listen to everything that Jackie had to say. Throughout my appointment, Jackie had been incredibly formative about how to take care of my hair on my own. After a pretty big chop was done on my curls, Jackie allowed me to take videos and notes of the routine. She had made it very clear that the journey wouldn’t be an easy or quick one but that it was definitely one worth taking. Although my hair hadn’t yet been at its full potential, I still walked out of that appointment feeling more confident than I had in a really long time. From there I only spent time allowing healthy products into my hair, avoiding heat, and wearing it out as much as possible even if it appeared poofy. The process wasn’t exactly as easy as it sounds. There were times when I wanted to give up and pick up a straightener again but I constantly reminded myself that it’s important to love yourself naturally before you try and cover up the things that make you, you. As time went on my curls slowly began to grow again. Appointments with Jackie every few months helped to fuel that growth and once again I was known as the mixed girl with the curly fro, this time I enjoyed that title. My experiences with my hair and identity issues helped contribute to the person that I am today. Which is why any time I pass by a little brown girl with curly q’s I always stop to tell them that their hair is beautiful and that they should embrace their naturality. Sure, it might not make the most difference in the world but I wish the younger me had heard the same. My beautiful locks of dark spiraled curls are what makes me who I am and I’ve grown to realize that I’m okay with standing out.
know trespassing is illegal, but I think an exception could be made for this situation. However, I will admit that I had been eying this place for years. It was a small farm, only a twominute drive from my house. Wood and steel fencing neatly wrap around the property, creating a barrier between the thick forest. There’s an acre and a half of green pastoral field where a herd of about a dozen cattle roam and feed. Towards the back of the land is a twenty-foot-long cowshed made of aging dark walnut wood. Its slanted tin roof hangs over a rusting green metal and wire coop, home to a flock of ten chickens. A quaint two-story, off-white colored farmhouse sits on the right of the property at the intersection of Winter and Highland Street. Speckles of pine show through the chips on the painted siding. Cracks in the exterior wood carve and curve like veins carrying life and memories into the still house. Four long white columns support the front porch with steps that lead up to a pale cornsilk door fixed symmetrically in the middle of the house. A warm yellow hue emits from a singular bulb, softly seeping from the first floor through the windows. The one light is always on, but no one is ever home. That’s what made this place so intriguing to me. Through all the chaos of life, I longed to understand how anything could exist so calmly. How could a light always beam, the grass always flourish, and animals carry on when all I knew was how to barely get by? A couple of years ago, on a late drive home from school in the final days of October, my curiosity overcame me. I turned into the driveway, rolling past the private property signs nailed to the side of the house. A light flicked on over the back door as I pulled into a gravel parking spot. I was busted. I practiced an “I’m so sorry...I got lost...please don’t shoot me” pleading speech in my head, preparing for someone to break through the door with a cocked rifle pointed my way. But then the light went off. No one came out. It was silent, except for a few crickets. Breathing a bit easier, I got out of my car and furtively crept up the rickety wooden back steps. I stayed low and hoped to hide under the automatic illumination. I peered through the window of the door to see a white refrigerator and a clean kitchen countertop. The solo bulb shone over a round table with no chairs. I stepped back down onto the gravel to admire the docile cattle that nibbled to themselves. I guess I actually wasn’t as alone as I thought. I tiptoed towards the wooden gate, cautious of the dry leaves that crunched and the stones that shifted underneath my feet. I stretched my arm over the splintered plank and 70
whistled as I waved my hand. A cow standing a few yards away took notice. She stared at me motionless, with only her tail swinging side to side. I whistled a little louder and pronounced my wave, hoping to draw her closer. Uninterested in my calls, she moseyed further away from me. I laid my arms atop the gate and rested my chin on my hands, exhaling in defeat. The herd dispersed across the pasture, quietly grazing. A small flock of chickens bounced in and out of their coop. Insects buzzed in the grass. Birds chirped and soared across the landscape, retreating to their nests before dusk settled. I admired the bright streak of canary yellow spread across the horizon. The last moments of sunshine peeked through the pine treetops. Fluffy masses of clouds looked as though they were full of fire, scattered with burning shades of orange and red. Violet and magenta wisps of cirrus clouds blew across the dimming blue backdrop. A brisk breeze brushed against my skin and gently blew through my light layers of clothes. I took a slow breath, drawing out the inhale through my nose and filling my lungs before steadily releasing it back out. The air was crisp and refreshing. My limbs soothed, and my mind relaxed. I had forgotten how satisfying a deep breath felt. I settled quietly for ten minutes, taking in my surroundings. All of these intricate vignettes of life and movement gracefully and effortlessly intersected. It was grounding and harmonious to exist with it all at once. With the stress of school and the struggle of my depleting mental wellness, it had been so long since I existed in the world outside of the jumbles in my head. I couldn’t remember the last time I stood in nature to look, listen, and appreciate what swirled around me. Swept up in the anxieties of the future and the weighty pressures of youth, I had lost what it meant to just be. I watched an unaccompanied cloud dissipate into invisible vapor, clearing the sky. Half of the cattle trickled towards the cowshed. The others collected by a tree rooted in the back corner of the pasture. All but one of the chickens had returned to the coop. The lone straggler had found its way to the gravel, planting its shanks beside my car. “Bawk! Bawk!” it clucked blaringly as if to notify me of my overstayed welcome and escort me to my ride. It was time for the sun to fall and the farm to sleep. After that first visit, I dropped by as often as I could. To think, to cry, to listen, to breathe, and to be. I could breakaway and unplug while fulfillingly immersing in life. The farm became a place of peace. My overanxious worries and ruminated
Layout Designer Jamie Kinteris
thoughts would slip from my mind to be picked up and carried off by the wind. It took about a half dozen visits before any of the cows got curious. I had tried all kinds of clicks, clacks, and whistles, but I don’t think there was anything I could’ve done to entice them over. I think they just needed to feel that they would be safe. I had been admiring a pair of birds bouncing throughout the branches of a sloping birch tree when I heard a rumbly grunt. I faced forward to see a dark brown cow standing a few feet away from where I leaned against the fence. She had big, round, black doe eyes set far apart on the opposite sides of her head with long, flared eyelashes that batted down charmingly. A thick tuft of hair sat on her forehead. Like her coat, her textured muzzle was a rich umber, but a pinkishbrown stain marked the tip of her nose. Her big, fuzzy ears twitched like they were tickled by the breeze. She sniffed as she stepped forward and further into the low brightness emitting from the backdoor light. Under the warm white, her coat shone a reddish-hickory hue. Her short snorts grew louder as she moved towards me. I held my breath and kept my body still. Soon there was only the fence and half a foot between us. She towered over me, standing at least six feet tall. Wideeyed, I gulped in awe of her grand majesty. We blinked and blankly stared at each other, both unsure of what to do next. I prolonged a hearty inhale and exhale before slowly extending my hand out in front of her. Nerves shook my fingers in the cold. She stretched her neck towards my hand. Her wet nostrils wiggled and tickled my fingertips as she repeatedly sniffed, assessing this strange person who stood here all the time. After about thirty seconds, her long ashy black tongue flopped out of her mouth and licked the back of my hand. It felt rough against my skin, like a damp piece of sandpaper. Her tongue flipped back onto her snotty muzzle, before slapping down on my palm. I laughed in amazement. I was too giddy to be grossed out by the drool moving from my hand to the cuff of my shirt sleeve.
Illustrations by Jamie Kinteris
Normally, an unfamiliar experience like this one would’ve prompted me to retreat. Stress, trauma, and depression had closed me off and shuttered me in. Sinking into the world on my phone and enveloping myself in the digital lives of others demanded nothing of me but my attention and clicks. But as social media became my escape, it also made me feel insecure, inadequate, and worthless. Hypnotized by the blue light, I had gotten caught in the endless, addictive scroll and instant, empty gratification. I was desperate to find healing in
the same place that brought me harm. But here, on the farm, there was no one to tell me that I wasn’t enough. There were no corners to hide and cower in. This was real life, fresh air, and tangible tranquility in the scrapes of a cow tongue. It was a vulnerable moment of trust. Trying not to startle her, I steadily placed my hand on the fuzzy scruff between her eyes that sloped down towards her nose. I gently stroked the thick patch of soft chestnut hair as she began to lap her tongue around my forearm, dampening my sleeve. My heart pounded and thumped so hard that it could’ve ripped right out of my chest. Exhilaration coursed through my body, racing around from my feet to my head. But I didn’t feel fear. My mind was calm and present. I was comforted by the silky feeling of her hair between my fingers. I wanted to get closer. I swung my head side to side, looking out for any potential tattlers and assessing the level of risk as if I hadn’t already trespassed more than too many times. I stealthily stepped a few feet towards the gate of the corral pen. I gripped both hands around the cool steel of the cattle guard and placed my foot on the rail. I scoped out the scene with a couple more head turns. “Should I really do this?” I sighed. I lifted myself over the guard and dismounted onto the mushy grass. My heartbeat increased as my new friend sauntered towards me. It wasn’t until she was right in front of me that I could truly take in her might. Her body was wide and large. Her legs looked almost comically short and narrow in proportion to her big and tall build. I reached out my hand, and she licked my palm contently, seeming comfortable in my presence. Mindful not to make any sudden movements, I cautiously stepped to her side and began brushing her short, coarse coat. Her tongue passed over my shoulder as I rested my head against her neck. She felt warm against my temple, her hair pricked my skin, and she faintly smelled of muddy grass. My hand moved with the expansion and contraction of her stomach as she respired in and out. Listening to her rumbly, steady huffs, I balanced my breathing with hers. My heart rate evened, and I settled in the serene moment. I looked up at the robust forest that met the horizon. Orange clouds drifted off as the sun faded down the sapphire sky. Birds flew by, singing their evening tune. I closed my eyes and drew in the soothing air, lovingly leaning against my sweet cow friend. I surrendered my worries and myself to the peace of nature, and it had so tenderly embraced me in.
Layout Designer Ciarra Chasse
Illustrations by Kate Lodge (candles); Julia Bolton (rose); Justin March (bed)
Layout Designer Kaitlyn Johnson
A Chance Time is against us, especially you.
sound of you yelling at me is all I hear out
Cast your pains aside and celebrate your life.
of the darkness of my room.
A pain in your chest like no other? Don’t worry, spell out your worries and we’ll carry you
My eyes water as my
on. Your two decades of living have burdened
voice cracks when I try to yell back.
you to this point. Just let it go
will I ever get to settle this?
but remember me after. Haunt me if You can never know how I’ll miss you.
you want. But
Won’t you at least stay for May? Don’t
give me a chance to forgive you. A chance for
forget my birthday. Won’t you wait for
me to know what ground we could’ve stood on.
me? Or are you still angry?
Just let me apologize.
I have no reason for my words now and
A single breath more is all I need from you. A
know you have no use for them.
chance, to feel like it was time for you to go.
I couldn’t call. I
you’ll never know how sorry I am. You’ll
could’ve tried to help you instead of staying
never experience how alone this feels.
loved by you from afar. Get back to me, please. Stay You needed my help and I tried,
away from the urge to go,
from the sound of heaven calling you in.
The sky can wait, I’m too impatient. It’s all too
sound of a life for you.
Of course, I wish you didn’t have to go!
let me. Look where that brought you now.
The moment seemed almost too imperfect, as a woman sings ‘Silver Springs’ to me,
I’ll remember what you said and
that alone makes me wish you were here. She
follow your words till my own death bed.
loves making me cry, as I sit alone in my room.
you didn’t even let me give my two cents
You, being one thing in life I wanted to change.
down to our last call. Illustrations by Kaitlyn Johnson
‘til I get my peace, the rage inside of me won’t settle. The
Layout Designer Ciarra Chasse
I don’t know if I have ever felt real happiness but I know I will be close when I lay between your thighs and your hands carve out hollows in my soul
I am only human and I am only sin I cannot redeem myself because my faith never began and my garments have always been unclean I am afraid of my fate but I am certain of the women in your skin I will bare myself to you
Illustration by Regan Atchue
I know how Judas feels laying at the feet of his savior, waiting for relief and knowing no certainty but doubt
Layout Designer Chloe Kinteris
Dark hair drapes down to my hips, Blue eyes peer around the room, instictively. Animalistic. Tall. Confident. I am fierce. Intimidating. Charming. I would lure them in, I’m always hungry, Obviously. Men are stupid, Easy to hunt. Minimal effort required for my preferred cuisine. My palate wasn’t always so refined. Carrots, potatoes, salami, sundried tomatoes? Yuck! Blech! What was I thinking? When I was younger, I thought, “People are people.” Yet, they are so different. Men taste better. Illustration by Samantha Sposito
Tonight I’m heading to the ice arena. I sorted out my tupperware containers from the pantry, Starting to meal plan for the week. They had to replace the entire hockey team that season. They weren’t going to make it to playoffs anyway.
Searing Searing Layout Designer Erin Tilley
Surely the searing sun
Shall stop searing sons
Bustling down the board
And amply apply All ample admiration for
The busy boys.
Juggling the just Justice of the
But, Busy buzzing business boys
Order our organization to be
Reorganized right away.
Seriously at the sky Ever so clever, As San Jose heats heats
Ever so drowned,
In days of dryness
The horizon Families and flowers Burns burns bodies
with flaws floundering
from under uniformed ugliness.
And hills And heroes.
Not fun nor nice. Many mouths, maneuver
Illustration by Tran Quoc Huy Le
Carefully creating chaos
Every ending emerging in
And Californian catastrophe.
Calling cops and killers kindred
While the sun sears
To create complete competence in this crisis.
the sons’ serious search for sanctuary.
Busy buzzing business boys
Busy buzzing business boys
Help homes hills and
Boastfully banter blatantly
Wholly become heroes
becoming burdensome beasts.
Sophia Franzik 77
LIARS The poets say a lot of things,
But I never want to believe them They are idealists, they write about the things they want. They write about everything as if it’s all beautiful. But not everything is beautiful like the poets say. Poets say life is beautiful. But life is real. Just real.
The poets talk about love that is good and real, The love that sweeps you off your feet, Love that never brings hurt. The poets lied. That kind of love isn’t real. It exists on pages, in books, in volumes. But those stories are never real.
The poets were right about one thing, Love is beautiful. But love is also real. Love will hurt you. It’s not the elegant words Darcy spoke to Elizabeth. The hurt is inevitable in love, Everything ends one day, But the poets never want to admit that.
Layout Designer Erin Tilley
The poets want the world to be perfect, They want it to all be beautiful. But I am not a poet.
I guess I’m like the poets, Because I just lied to you. I do think everything is beautiful, I think everything is beautiful because nothing is perfect. It is these imperfections I see in life that make me happy. Because in the end, nothing is perfect. But there is beauty in everything.
Just because the ruins of Rome aren’t perfect anymore, That doesnt make them less beautiful. Just because rain has taken over the skies, and the whole world looks grey, That doesnt make the world look any less beautiful. Just because there is hurt in love, That doesnt make it less beautiful. So let me rephrase,
The poets say a lot of things, But I never want to believe them They are idealists, they write about the things they want. They write about everything as if it’s all perfect. But not everything is perfect like the poets say. Poets say life is beautiful. And they are right, But it’s not perfect.
Illustrations by Erin Tilley
Boxing Gloves...........................Haylee Skoog
Watering Can............................Lauren Martin