The Collective Magazine Issue 005

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TEAM FOUNDER/CREATIVE DIRECTOR Chantal Vaca EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Adriana Vaca EVENT PLANNER/ASST. CREATIVE DIRECTOR Emma Sielaff CURATORS Emma Sielaff Adriana Vaca Chantal Vaca COVER ARTIST Elena Sotos WRITERS Eunice Alpasan Gabi Iturralde Katia Savoni Adriana Vaca LAYOUT DESIGN Conal Abatangelo Sol Barrios Ronald Gonzales Rusty Green Mendy Kong Iffat Memon Emma Sielaff Chantal Vaca GRAPHICS Rusty Green Gabi Iturralde Iffat Memon


ISSUE 005 12
















Sweet Obsession World of the Wars Tabatha Bulgarian Home Asens’s Fortress

12 03



Shadowy Pleasures






and i eat VEGETABLES with my FRIENDS


The Revival of Vinyl

So Much to Do Mother Earth Untitled




Les Jardin des Souvenirs


Domestic embellishment




Untitled What’s Your Secret Talent? Grab Hold Pearls Boarders Keep Me Away Le Garçon Aquatique Sex, Sleep, Dreams, and Farts 360º with Cover Artist Elena Sotos


Take a Break!


An Account of the Year 2035


87-year-old Babushka


Meet the Artists

Creating an Inclusive, DIY, Hardcore, Punk Rock Music Scene 02


ART BY PAUL KENNETH Shadowy Pleasures (2019)


ART BY SUNCLOUD0 Untitled (2019)

ART BY SUNCLOUD0 Untitled (2019)




The Revival of Vinyl By Katia Savoni




n a digital world plagued with the need for convenience and instant gratification, it is baffling to see how vinyl records have managed to sneak back into popular culture. Some blame the hipsters, others blame problematic trend-based companies like Urban Outfitters. Many turntable owners nowadays are too young for vinyl to even invoke any form of lived nostalgia. Hell, I know that reigns true for me. My childhood comprised of giant binders full of CDs for car rides and a baby blue iPod. Yet, here I am, guilty as charged for owning a turntable and a bin full of records. Why is that? Surely, I could go on Spotify and listen to any song on any album, anywhere. Yet, despite it all, this revival goes deeper than the retro trends that vinyl seems to have been categorized into. It is escapism beyond the music itself. The ability to experience music physically and separate from the black hole of the digital realm. There is an intimacy in listening to an album the way an artist intended for it to be heard, and by purchasing that vinyl album, it directly supports the musicians that mean the most to us. In order to gain greater insight into this mysterious resurgence, I spoke with Jesse Grubbs, owner of See You CD & Vinyl in Urbana, Illinois. Here’s his take: “I’ve hypothesized about the surge of popularity that’s been happening for probably the better part of the last eight to ten years. The demographic that’s been coming into the store and that’s been buying a lot of records have been the collegeage crowd. If you’re an undergrad right now, you were probably born post-2000s. Your whole musicconsuming life has been digital music for the most part… Convenience has come and taken over everything in our lives, right? We can do everything on our phones and, while that’s great, it’s turned the world into something else. I would imagine that a reason for this surge would have to be a whole generation of people who have never owned music physically.”

PHOTO BY CHANTAL VACA See You CD & Vinyl storefront

Though the usage of the turntable has vintage roots, the majority of records that are now being pressed and frequently bought today do not. Companies have capitalized on the increase in popularity by pressing everything into vinyl. Modern record stores not only sell the used classics but also the soundtracks to the newest movies or TV shows alongside contemporary musicians. These tactics engage old and new generations alike. On the topic of used vs new record sales, Grubbs said, “I would say it’s pretty evenly split. If I had more good used records consistently, it would probably be more of that. When I do get really good used [vinyls] in, my customers are so feral. They just run in and take it all. As long as the album that they want is here, it doesn’t matter if it’s used or new. In terms of new releases, it’s bringing in people every single week.” Gone are the days of record stores being a niche subgroup known only to old people and pretentious hipsters. It has resurged into a facet of music listening that everyone is able to enjoy. Vinyl has reached the mainstream, but its popularity is unusual alongside modern-day music streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music. Yet, it does not compete with them. Listening to vinyl in and of itself is an intimate experience between the listener and the album. Though, the very same could be said about creating playlists. It is a


combination of convenience and intimacy. Mixing through streaming allows for music to be shared and played in ways that had not previously existed. Grubbs explained that the existence of playlists traces back to the mixtape, which initially broke from the concept of only listening to one album at a time, “I can’t tell you how many mix CDs I made back in the day or how many mixtapes I made to create that ʻperfect mix.’” So what does the future hold? This was the question I felt could only be answered by a record store owner: “I opened up the store five years ago, and the first week I opened I remember saying, ʻWe’re in a humongous bubble. There’s no way this is gonna last more than another year or two, there’s just no way.’ But every year the popularity has continued to double. And it keeps surprising me that more and more people are continuing to buy turntables. I still think that we’ve gotta be in this bubble of popularity that’s eventually going to have to burst. But then again, I said the same exact sentence five years ago. You’ve just got more and more people that keep coming of age that want a sense of ownership. They want it to be outside of the phone, they want it to be outside of digital means. So I think that there’s always going to be a subgroup of people with that desire.”

from the mainstream will be prime, according to Grubbs. “I think it will come back to how it started, Mostly the independent labels will do the limited run pressings. Only the biggest albums will get pressings on vinyl. And even if the popularity does drop, we will have created a whole generation of people that are interested in analog music. There will be a stronger line of people that will always buy and seek out records. I think it will be more affordable as the years go on because there’s less to exploit. I don’t see the demand for it dropping, it’ll just shift based on what people want, and what’s available.” No one really knows what’s in store for the future of our music platforms, or how we choose to experience them, but it feels like analog music is so much more than a passing fad. Digital music will never match the intimacy of handpicking a beloved record to give a listen. That sense of ownership and connection will allow for the continuation of vinyl’s coexistence among the ever-evolving music experience.

While all trends eventually plateau, I don’t believe the same can be said about the vinyl industry. If anything, the circulation of records after it fades



ART BY CLAIRE MOLENDA Sweet Obsession (2019)


ART BY DYLAN STEER World of the Wars (2019)

ART BY SKYLAR CHISM Tabatha (2019)


ART BY DONNA DIMITROVA Bulgarian Home (2019)


ART BY DONNA DIMITROVA Asen’s Fortress (2019)


SO MUCH TO DO An Exploration of Unfinished Art By: Gabi Iturralde


very creator is likely to have artworks they had big plans for but never got around to complete. We all have personal reasons for abandoning art pieces, though many artists share reasons such as lack of time, resources, and motivation. Additionally, even if they go unseen, these incompleted pieces play a vital role in the development of an artist, and it is important we recognize the impact of the unfinished artworks.

Luna Mac-Williams

is a multidisciplinary artist from Little Village, which she describes as, “A broke, brown, but beautiful neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago.” Luna explains that much of her written work takes place in this community; she uses her voice as an artist to elevate the stories she grew up hearing and experiencing. There is one specific piece she began a little over a year ago: Luna describes a play about a thirteenyear-old girl who yearns to begin a community garden in the brownfield plot next to the jail where her father is incarcerated. Luna’s beautiful and heartfelt story revolves around important yet stigmatized topics, such as enviaronmental racism, gun violence, and mental health. Luna never got past writing the first act of this play. Luna says her play is unfinishedbecause “[the play] was ambitious as fuck.”

GRAPHIC BY GABi ITURRALDE Portrait of Luna Mac-Williams


Jamarri Nix, a producer, rapper, and graphic designer that goes by KYWN, planned on dropping an EP over the summer, but never found the time to finish his project. Jamarri intended for his EP to include four songs: “Nine to Five,” “Vacay,” “Summer Fling,” and “Fireflies.” There is not much work done on “Fireflies,” but he has the essential components for all the other songs, and one of the songs is nearly finished. He explains that the main reason for never completing his Summer EP project is because most of his time was consumed by his job as a resident assistant for a summer camp. Additionally, Jamarri shares he has not completed these songs because he has a “bad habit of starting projects

and then moving to the next one.” In addition to the Summer EP Project, Jamarri has produced a wide variety of beats, but very few of what he plays has finished or recorded lyrics. Some of his beats are only skeletons of songs. Jamarri speculates that he was unable to finish his project because of his lack of dedication in his method to finish songs. He said, “Whenever I go into FL studio, I never have a plan.” Moving forward, Jamarri hopes to make time to use FL studio, a music production software, with the intention of finishing his projects. Nevertheless, since his project is intended to be released in the summer, we will not be seeing these songs released anytime in the near future.


GRAPHIC BY GABI ITURRALDE Portrait of Kathy Patino

Several works go unfinished because the concept for a piece may be too demanding for an artist. Kathy Patino, lead singer of the band Girl K, says she’s been taking on too much than she has time to chew. She describes a large unfinished drawing tentatively called “The Neighborhood.” The drawing depicts people and dogs interacting with each other in a community setting. She intends to color and finish drawing the work with acrylic markers and colored pencils, but so far she is unable to find the time, motivation, and materials. Similarly to Luna,

Kathy explains, “A lot of the times, when I know something is going to take a long time, it makes me want to do it less.” The bigger the work, the more likely we might leave it unfinished. Luna was unable to finish her work because the ambitiousness of the story made it too big to take on. Kathy finds herself unmotivated to finish “The Neighborhood” because the piece is challenging and time-consuming. Instead, Kathy has spent time developing her photography skills, honing her musical craft, and falling in love.


Zoe Willot, a singer based in Champaign, Illinois, known as Zzo, plans on finalizing and releasing a new single soon, despite leaving her work unfinished for a long time. She plans to call it “Alone.” She expresses that time is a big factor for her not finishing her musical projects. She studies jazz piano at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She says studying jazz enhances the sound of her music, but due to the time and energy that goes into being a full-time student, a barrier is placed between Zoe and the music she creates outside of class. Similarly to both Luna and Kathy, Zoe also has trouble finishing her songs due to her ear for perfection. Zoe says she has worked on a single for a long time without finishing because she is being very particular about the production of this particular song. Zoe explains, “Everytime I feel it is going to be done, I find something to work on.” Although the song is taking longer than anticipated to finish, this work has undergone a lot of evolution. Zoe initially created all the components of her song with synths, but authentic recordings of instruments would better suit the aesthetic of the song she is trying to create. When she first began the song, she did not have access to all the instruments she intended to use. Now that she does, she is working with her bandmates to record live instruments for her song. “Alone” may be unfinished, but Zoe is back on track, and plans on completing the project soon.


Everyone has their reasons for leaving a project unfinished, but the underlying theme appears to be a lack of time. These artists also demonstrate to us that progress takes patience. Ambitious ideas can turn into a completed project, but this typically can take more time and effort than originally anticipated. Furthermore, we see just because a project has remained unfinished for an extensive amount of time, does not mean we should give up on it. Kathy, Jamarri, and Zoe all plan on completing their projects. Luna, however, does not have any plans to complete her project: instead, she is redirecting her energy into a new play, once again inspired by her community. Luna has made peace with leaving her project unfinished, demonstrating that not all projects need to be completed.


ART BY CLAIRE MOLENDA Mother Earth (2019)


ART BY ANNIE DENTEN Untitled (2019)



ART BY MASSIMILIANO ESPOSITO Les Jardin des Souvenirs (2018)

ART BY SARAH GINNARD Domestic embellishment (2019)


ART BY SARAH GINNARD Domestic embellishment (2019)


ART BY ALEX KIM Caress (2019)


PHOTO COURTESY OF ALICE HIRSCH Foxtails performing at New Friends Fest 2019 in Toronto, Canada.

By Eunice Alpasan


s an Asian gal growing up in the United States, I had no standard of what it was like to see someone who I could identify with in the bands I listened to. Diving head first into the world of hardcore music, I found myself hyperaware of my identity, especially when I went to DIY shows which comprised mostly of white men as the audience and the performers. While many hardcore scenes have good intentions about being open to everyone, it doesn’t always feel that way for me. So, I sought out some badass POC, WOC, LGBTQ+, and non-binary people in the hardcore/punk scene to get their perspective.



VANESSA VALADEZ Guitarist of Crowning (Chicago, IL) She/Her/They/Them

Describe your band and its that are sometimes present when you’re a woman in music — but to music in 1-2 sentence(s): be fair, screamo is a pretty incluChaotic post-hardcore for anx- sive and encouraging scene and I’m very grateful for that. ious dorks. Your favorite performance or memory with your band? Our show in Paris I think. Tour was finally catching up with me, and I was so exhausted I could barely string sentences together. Lo and behold, it ended up being our best performance of the tour. We hit every note just right, and the crowd was a shit ton of fun. How do you think your gender and/or ethnic identity play(s) a role in your experience as a member of the hardcore music scene? There are subconscious biases 29

I think screamo is incredibly inclusive right now for women, POC, and LGBTQ+, ...but like, for instance, Beatdown Bro hardcore isn’t always super inclusive or accepting. There are definitely I do get the rare but occasional differences within each hardcore comments like: “Look at you! sub-genre. Playing bass and guitar!” Which I don’t think is meant to be conde- Any future plans? scending, but can be frustrating when you consider that no one I’m in the process of working on a would ever say things like this to a collaborative workshop for womman. What am I, a dog perform- en/women-identifying musicians ing a neat trick? As a woman, I that will tackle both gear basics do often feel like I have more to and instrument care. I’m really excited to bring together bright and prove. compassionate people to create How would you describe a safe space that both informs how inclusive the hardcore and empowers a group that often scene is for women, POC, feels patronized and trivialized. LGBTQ+, and non-binary people? Have you seen more representation these past few years?

Describe your band and its music in 1-2 sentence(s): Skramz/screamo with math rock and post-hardcore influences. Your favorite performance or memory with your band? At Backdoor Skate Shop in Greenville, North Carolina, a mosh pit formed during one of our heavier songs. It was the first time a pit was started during one of our performances, and as silly

as it sounds, it felt like I checked is improving, a majority of the an item off my bucket list. people who make up both bands and audience members are still How do you think your gen- very white and very male. I’m reder and/or ethnic identity ally happy that we’re being seen play(s) a role in your expe- and supported by those who can rience as a member of the relate to our message and us as hardcore music scene? people. I strive for the day when our existence in the scene isn’t Indisposed is comprised of two seen as “special” or “admirable,” women and two POC. It’s super but that it’s just a given we’re goawesome to see many of our Face- ing to be present, and present in book likes, followers, and Spotify large numbers. fans are women and nonbinary folks. Even though representation PHOTOS COURTESY OF KAITLYN JOHNSON AND CHRIS RILEY

Bassist of Indisposed (Chicago,IL) How would you describe how inclusive the hardcore scene is for women, POC, LGBTQ+, and non-binary people? Have you seen more representation these past few years?


It’s improving but still has a long way to go in regards to diversity and representation. However, I’ve very rarely felt unsafe or unwelcome at any show as a WOC. Many DIY venues here act as safe spaces and aim to be as inclusive as possible, and the overall vibe I can only speak with authority of the scene is supportive of peoon the Chicago hardcore scene. ple of all ethnicities, orientations,

and gender identities. Suggestions on creating a more inclusive hardcore music scene? Be nice to each other and book more bands with women, POC, and LGBTQ folks.



Vocals of For Your Health (Columbus, OH) They/Them rience as a member of the hardcore music scene?

you seen more representation these past few years?

I don’t know that my gender has affected my experience at all. As for being Black and Latino, I feel like I experience people’s secondhand culture shock at shows sometimes. Your favorite performance or Our whole band is brown and sometimes we pull up to shows and memory with your band? you can tell that the people there One of my favorites was when we have never seen a black person played this tiny gallery space in San at a punk show, let alone be the Jose with our friends Awakebut- one playing. Out of the hundreds stillinbed. Some people drove hours of bands we’ve played with, I can to see us which was wild because count on my hands how many were we were so far from home. It was a predominantly POC. magical night. How would you describe how How do you think your gen- inclusive the hardcore scene der and/or ethnic identity is for women, POC, LGBTQ+, play(s) a role in your expe- and non-binary people? Have

I think it’s getting better all the time. There are more and more punk/ hardcore bands with representation of marginalized identities getting more traction and being taken seriously. Though it feels like some people treat acts that aren’t all white dudes like tokens to use in arguments sometimes, like some sort of diversity quota for tour packages.

Describe your band and its music in 1-2 sentence(s): Hardcore/screamo band that draws influence from a wide range of 90s/00s post hardcore, metalcore, screamo, etc.


Suggestions on creating a more inclusive hardcore music scene? Booking more mixed bills and playing with people that aren’t just your friends opens up a lot of room for community growth.

Describe your band and its music in 1-2 sentence(s): Chaos in cute packaging, startling but interesting with strong expressions of pure emotion. Something you probably haven’t heard before, whether that’s good or bad is up to you. How do you think your gender and/or ethnic identity play(s) a role in your experience as a member of the hardcore music scene? My gender and race have definitely played a big part in my experience and, funny enough, my reputation in the scene. I’m non-binary,

but I’m often coded as a woman. The double whammy is also being Black and Latinx. My existence has been pretty much erased by a lot of people in the Connecticut scene. However, it’s very very comforting to play shows out of state where people are generally not as closed-minded and actually try to unpack their internalized phobias. And even then, sadly, sometimes I am the darkest person in the room and that can be discouraging and make you feel lonely.

ple? Have you seen more representation these past few years?

As far as inclusivity in the hardcore/screamo scene, I’d say there are great efforts being made by a lot of people, but I still dont think it’s enough. I think that women, especially WOC, are usually pigeonholed into being something almost stereotypical. When I first started out, people thought since I was girly and sang, we were an indie band. How would you describe However, in the past few years how inclusive the hardcore I do definitely feel like there is a scene is for women, POC, LG- stronger effort to advocate repBTQ+, and non-binary peo- resentation in the scene.

Vocalist/bassist of Foxtails (Monroe,CT) They/Them Suggestions on creating a POC/WOC/LGBTQ+ artists to the more inclusive hardcore music point where they’ll sort of tokenize you and not even really listen to scene? your music. These people are peoMake friends with women. Make ple and they deserve to be treated friends with POC, with queer like... people. people, and see them as humans, friends, and artists instead of com- Final thoughts? modities or people you can use to look good. I feel like some people We need women in music, especialin the scene can be a bit performa- ly in hardcore/screamo. Although tive with their support for women/ I am non-binary, I am able to reso-


nate with womanhood, and feminine pain is some of the deepest, rawest, most genuine, powerful pain that exists. To embody that through screamo is something so beautiful to me that I am so sad when women feel discouraged from performing as artists in screamo because it’s so dominated by people who don’t understand. If I didn’t hear someone else like me doing it, I probably would’ve never done it myself.


ART BY MICAH MCCOY Untitled (2019)

The Collective Magazine visited a house show party in Urbana, Illinois, on November 16, 2019. We asked the attendees what their secret talents are.









ART BY DONNA DIMITROVA Boarders Keep Me Away (2019)

ART BY MASSIMILIANO ESPOSITO Le Garรงon Aquatique (2018)

ART BY EMMA SIELAFF Sex, Sleep, Dreams, and Farts (2019)

01 42

PHOTO BY CHANTAL VACA One of Elena Soto’s bedroom walls, featuring the stick she found.


lena Sotos is an artist and Chicago local. She studies new media, journalism, and philosophy at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. You can find her work on Instagram @elena.sotos and on the cover of this magazine.

reflects your art or do you think your art is a product of the way that you’ve set your life up to be?

The way that I set up my environment is all because of my personality. The reason that I decorate my space What do you think makes you an artist? the way that I do is the same reason that I make art. I guess I just like how things look. And it’s also a way The way I choose to approach problems and ques- of making use of things. Like that stick. I found it when tions. When I want to look into something or have I was going for a walk and I was like “I don’t know questions, my immediate response is to make some- what to do with this it, but I want it.” I hung it up at thing or draw. It’s just a way of working through things first and then I wanted to make use of that paper so for me. I covered it. I guess they interact with each other the way that I create my spaces. Do you feel the way that you live your life



How would you describe your art? It’s not really confined or predictable, but exploratory. My behavior around a lot of things, like a song or a particular food or a place I really like, is the same: I’ll wear it out non-stop and then if I feel like I’ve exhausted it I can move on. Or a lot of times I’m thinking about a specific concept and then I’ll become kind of one-track minded and obsessed with it and so everything I do kind of orients itself towards figuring that out. Now I’ve started to have more of a language, like it’s more identifiable as my work. There’s some things that repeat themselves, but for the most part it can look really different just because my style changes based on the new things I’m exploring.

Do you have a favorite medium to work with? I think the medium lends itself to the concept or topic that I’m exploring. So, it’s more so about that than the medium itself. But I do really like process oriented things like ceramics and printmaking because they require a specific skill set. I like to do things that require technical skills. Occupying my hands while I’m thinking through things is a good way to meditate on it and focus. Also, once you understand a process and you’ve thoroughly explored the physical skills involved with it you can start to branch out and explore. Where do you seek inspiration, or do you just stumble upon it? 44

ART COURTESY OF ELENA SOTOS Keystone Species (2019)



I really like surrealist art, but that’s a bit of a new exploration. I like to go on bike rides. I like to go on walks a lot and talk to people, explore, and read. Just travelling down rabbit holes. I’ll just run with it and let it take me wherever. Do you have a process for creating a piece?

move on to the next thing. I like all of them for different reasons. You mentioned how your obsession with a concept sometimes drives your projects, what are some obsessions that have led to your pieces?

I think about the piece for a long time and make a plan before I do anything with it. I’m careful about the final piece. I like to run a lot of tests beforehand and know how it’s going to turn out. I’ll practice a lot and read up on it. And even if it’s experimental I don’t like to run the experiments on the final piece because I don’t know how it’s going to turn out. I like to have an understanding of what to expect before it’s done.

One thing that’s become very consistent in my work is spheres and circles. I love spheres specifically because they’re so dynamic and you can never see every side of it. That’s one way that I choose to explore. Looking at new perspectives and certain things from multiple perspectives. There was also a point when I was thinking a lot about determinism and if people are in control of their lives. Or is everyone kind of just reactionary and bumping into each other and thereDo you play favorites with your pieces? fore causing things to happen? I was really obsessed with people dancing. I think that everything is fluid, I definitely have favorites. I also look towards what and we’re all interacting with each other. It’s kind of other people are drawn to. But because it’s very re- like a dance floor rather than just dancing and moving actionary I don’t think about it afterwards, and then I around each other. 46



An Account of the Year 2035 Story by Adriana Vaca Illustrations by Emma Sielaff

At 6 years old Tomas loved asking questions. Sometimes I felt like he liked asking more than he liked finding out the answers. We spent a lot of time together. We were both curious and loved eating fruit. We spent a good amount of time this way. I picked him up from my brother’s house, and on the front porch we decided how we’d spend our afternoon. The weather forecast was partly sunny partly cloudy. “Where are we going?” he asked. “We could... go see a movie, go to the dog park, look at plants at the arboretum, go for a bike ride...” I could have gone on, but the less options the more quickly Tomas chooses. He decided on looking at plants, said, “I need some fresh air.” We took the bus to the local Arboretum Dome. Tomas loved having a window seat. I also preferred the window seat, but I’ve had many years of window seats so I thought I’d give him a chance to catch up. I remembered flights when I was young. I’d much rather crawl over strangers’ legs to go to the bathroom than miss the type of window gazing I could accomplish up there. I liked flying on cloudy days. Watching the clouds from above was surreal. Their oddly shaped shadows on the ground was an inverse of laying in the grass from below, looking up at them and labelling nouns to their forms. I wanted to extend my hand out the window and touch one of them. I watched Tomas watch the window. At each stop he’d point out someone’s 51

funny hat or shiny shoes. We arrived at our stop, stepped out of the bus, and walked down the block. It was sunny on our side of the street. I fished out Tomas’ sunglasses from my tote. They were a shiny emerald green. The

same color as his sneakers, the walls in his room, and all the art he brought home from school. At the entrance of the Arboretum there was a room with a wall filled with magazines from Before. Things from Before were on display all over the place. They were reminders: movies replaying at cinemas, statistics on subway platforms, sums of trash transformed into public art. “What’s that?” Tomas pointed to a magazine above him. Most things were above him. At about 3 feet and 11inches, “4 foot on a good day!” he often exclaimed, he needed some help navigating the world out of reach. I followed his point and extended my arm to reach the copy of National Geographic he indicated, and picked it from its shelf. He was asking about an animal on the cover, a Woolly Mammoth. The issues headline: “Reviving Extinct Species: We Can, But Should We?” It was from 2013, practically an antique. I dusted it off and handed it to him. “What’s that?” “A Woolly Mammoth.” “What’s that?” “An animal from a long time ago.” “What happened to it?” “It went extinct.” “What’s that?” “It’s when a certain type of animal isn’t around anymore. Sometimes it’s natural and sometimes it’s because of humans.” 52

“Oh. I’d like to see a Woolly Mammoth.” He flipped through the magazine, spending very long on some pages and flipping quickly through others. I knew his research would be awhile, so I led us over to the cushioned seats that lined the wall of the entrance room. The room had a few plants in it already, though these were more of the plants you’d see in offices: snake plants and a few ZZ. It had magazines covering all sorts of fauna and flora, a small water fountain, and a visitors’ sign-in sheet on a chipped clipboard. We sat. My dress left the bottom half of my thighs exposed to the fabric. I felt the pink corduroy of the seats etch their lines into me. Tomas sat all the way back so his feet dangled off the edge. “What’s this?” “An elephant.” Flip, flip. “What’s this?” “A tiger.” Flip. “What’s this?” “Sea turtle.” Flip, flip, flip. “Red panda.”


Each animal he pointed to was an endangered species at the time of this issue’s publishing date. A majority of these animals were now extinct. To me, they felt recently passed. I could still picture them in my head from my zoo visits, watching Animal Planet, my excursions on the trips I had taken when I thought the world was ending. To him they were just photos in an old magazine. The elephant he pointed at might as well have been a mythical beast from times unknown. I thought back to his older brother’s nursery. My sister-in-law decorated it with clean lines and even colors. It was a gray-scale jungle. All the furniture was either white or gray. The accessories explored the levels between black and white. It was adorned with a plethora of child-approved animals: tigers, lions, giraffes, elephants, etc. Many of which were now being pointed out by Tomas in the magazine. I broke the news that most of the animals he saw in the magazine were extinct. How it was us, humans, that made it happen. How people didn’t want to share resources with the other creatures of the Earth. “We used to eat chickens, ya know?” I told him. “No!” he replied, confused, astounded. Chickens were his favorite mythical creature. He never assumed you could eat them because no one ever told him he could. Before there was such a disconnection between the farm animals present in nursery songs and children’s books and movies, and the pigs, cows, chickens that were being fed to them. “People would go watch movies about animals that were heroes, and then they would go take their kids to get a Happy Meal that would have the animals as part of their meals!” “What’s a Happy Meal?” “It was a meal sold at a restaurant from before you were born. They were for kids and had either a burger, which was cow, or nuggets, which were chicken, fries, and a drink.” 54

Tomas was astounded, “Doesn’t sound very happy if animals were hurt.” “I know. They just thought if ‘happy’ was in the title that people would think it was.” “Would they eat Walter?” Walter was my brother’s dog. He was a small/medium dog, half Wheaten Terrier half Mini Poodle on his dad’s side. This mix is also known as a Whoodle. He was hypoallergenic with black curly fur and, thanks to modern technology, was now able to live forever. Pet-Tech changed the game for the household animal industry. People no longer had to say goodbye to the furry members of their family. This immortality only applied to death from old age. All this advancement and yet still one of the most common deaths for canines is related to chasing squirrels. “Other places would eat dog, but where we live it wasn’t common.” He sighed in relief. I think seeing his best friend with a side of BBQ sauce would’ve given his little heart palpitations. “A lot of people didn’t know better. And if they did, they didn’t care.” “Will we change?” He said it so off-handedly. Still flipping through pages and running his hands over the animals on the silky paper. It looked as if he was petting them. He didn’t know, but this is one of the most important questions he’d ever ask. “We already have.” He thought about this. He handed over the National Geographic, which I placed back neatly on the shelf. Content with the answer, he grabbed my hand and pulled me to the area of the Arboretum with the vegetation. The corduroy seats left lines across the back of my thighs. 55

We walked into the lush landscape, and he began to ask questions of the plants inside as he did the animals on the pages. Luckily, there were signs among all the different types of foliage describing the common name, scientiďŹ c name, natural habit, and any other information of interest. Unluckily, Tomas was just beginning to learn how to read, and I had the job of being his interpreter. I answered his questions all afternoon.


ART BY EMMA SIELAFF 87-year-old Babushka (2019)




Meet the Artists Elena is an experimental artist from Chicago whose work explores time, space and human interactions with and throughout them. Website: Pages: Front and back cover and 43-46 ELENA SOTOS

Seattle-based artist who seeks to combine traditional art forms with the emerging style of youth artists. Website: Page: 03 TAYLOR WANG

Paul completed his BFA in the Advanced Painting Program from SAIC and is currently teaching and pursuing his MFA degree at UIUC. Instagram: @PaulKennethArt Page: 04 PAUL KENNETH 59

suncloud0 is an artist, explorer, dancer, lover, soon to be physicist and will one day climb a mountain naked. Pages: 05-06 BOBBY SAX

i am just a big bowl of nothing, welcome to my soup. Instagram: Pages: 07-08, 41 and 5758 EMMA SIELAFF

If the art is an extension of the artist, then does that make me a ball of wool or a baby? A baby ball of wool? Instagram: @clairee.bee Pages: 07 and 20 CLAIRE MOLENDA

Meet the Artists I’m a visual artist that explores guesture and implied motion mostly dedicated to understanding intimacy and connection between people.

Annie is a photographer from the West Suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. Page: 21


The purpose of my life is just to create. My latest ongoing project has been repainting found objects that I refer to as my beautiful circus children. Instagram: ski0blu Page: 14 SKYLAR CHISM

I combine multimedia art techniques with experimental design to transform physical, virtual, and mental scapes. Instagram: bird_dot Pages:15-16 and 39 DONNA DIMITROVA


I’ve always loved to write, but it wasn’t until recently that I became more confident to share it with others. Instagram: @maddiedolinsky Page: 22 MADELINE DOLINSKY

To me, being an artist comes from a deep-rooted necessity. It’s a natural way to transform your emotions, fears and desires into a concrete object like a painting. Instagram: @maxartinparis Pages: 23-24 and 40 MASSIMILIANO ESPOSITO 60

Meet the Artists My work is concerning the phenomenon of the skin suit we all walk around in, and the adornment of surfaces via thread. Instagram: @sarah.ginnard Pages: 25-26 SARAH GINNARD

I like to draw. Page: 27


I am a documentary photographer capturing themes of anxiety, duplicity, and social detachment. Instagram: @micahmccoy Pages: 33-4 MICAH MCCOY 61

Hi, I’m Kat, and my life? It’s kinda crazy. Instagram: @katlantis.kay Pages: 37-38


My writing explores an alternate reality where I know exactly what to say. I dedicate my short story to my nephew Mariano. Instagram: @adri.vaca Pages: 51-56 ADRIANA VACA



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