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SUMMER 2013 VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 1

FEATURING

Nick Nicholls Molly Shulman Stephanie Craig Catherine Armanasco Mac Rowe Madison Gerish Meghan Luck Maggie McLaughlin


TABLE OF CONTENTS

HELLO Meet V23 | 02 ART + DESIGN Shake It Out Nick Nicholls | 06 Natural Strength Molly Shulman | 16 PHOTOGRAPHY Demimondaine Stephanie Craig | 28 Little Pink Camera Catherine Armanasco | 38 SPECIAL CONTRIBUTION Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk Maddy Talias | 48 MUSIC A Voice for the Voiceless Mac Rowe | 60 Doing It Right Madison Gerish | 70 CREATIVE WRITING The Problem Meghan Luck | 82 Guillaume’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party Maggie McLaughlin | 84 SPECIAL CONTRIBUTION Accompanying Artwork Cara DePiero | 82 GOODBYE Stay in Touch | 88


W: Website // B: Blog // F: Facebook // T: Twitter // P: Pinterest // I: Instagram // L: LinkedIn // S: SoundCloud // E: Email

THE PARTNERS Emily McNally

Victoria Riggio

Founder, Editor, Designer

Assistant Editor

W: www.emilymcnally.com

I: instagram.com/vmriggio

P: pinterest.com/emc1108

E: victoria.riggio@gmail.com

E: emilycatherinedesign@gmail.com

SUMMER 2013 FEATURES ART + DESIGN

PHOTOGRAPHY

Music

Creative Writing

Molly Shulman

Stephanie Craig

Mac Rowe

Meghan Luck

Metals and Jewelry Artist

Photographer

Dogs on Main Street

Freelance Writer

W: mollyshulman.weebly.com

W: www.stephaniecraigphotography.com

W: www.dogsonmainstreet.com

T: twitter.com/meghan_luck

F: facebook.com/molly.shulman.7

F: facebook.com/stephaniecraigphotography

F: facebook.com/dogsonmainstreet

E: luckmeghan@gmail.com

P: pinterest.com/molly32790

E: stephanie@stephaniecraigphotography.com

T: twitter.com/themacrowe

I: instagram.com/molls327

E: m.rowe42@gmail.com

Nick Nicholls

Catherine Armanasco

Madison Gerish

Maggie McLaughlin

Printmaker

Photographer

Madison Gerish and the

Freelance Writer

F: http://tinyurl.com/pcxhao8

W: www.catherinearmanasco.com

Schooley Mountain Family Band

T: twitter.com/maggiemclaugh

B: rbgw.tumblr.com

W: www.reverbnation.com/madisongerish

L: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/

F: http://tinyurl.com/oyqph6t

maggie-mclaughlin/23/334/348

E: catherinearmanasco@gmail.com

S: soundcloud.com/madison-gerish

SPECIAL CONTRIBUTIONS

2

Photography

CREATIVE WRITING

Maddy Talias

Cara DePiero

Photographer

Artist

W: www.maddytalias.com

L: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/

I: instagram.com/maddytalias

cara-depiero/37/267/87b

E: maddy@maddytalias.com

E: caradepiero@gmail.com

V23 CREATIVE MAGAZINE


SUMMER 2013 | LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

V

23 Creative Magazine is a quarterly online publication showcasing young adult artists in various areas of creative production; specifically art and design, photography, music, and creative writing. Our goal is to promote positive interaction and networking opportunities within the arts community.

During the summer of 2012, I had the opportunity to participate in a unique five-week

intensive studio in architecture and design based in Vienna, Austria. The people and places I encountered truly influenced my creative outlook and ultimately were the catalysts for this publication. V23 is a homage to the experience, as evident by its name: V for Vienna, and 23 for the 23 districts of the city, as well as the age of both myself and partner Victoria Riggio upon the publication’s debut. Most importantly, we hope that V23 leaves you feeling inspired. As young adult, twenty-something creatives ourselves, we fully understand the feelings of intimidation and self-doubt that can arise when seeing the work of experts in your field; but you don’t need to be an expert to begin making the moves and taking the risks necessary to turn your dream into a reality. We aren’t experts; our features aren’t experts. We’re all just doing what we love, learning as we go, and, through V23, here to encourage and support each other throughout our respective creative journeys. If you are interested in contributing to or being featured in future issues, please see our contact information at the end of the magazine on page 88. We would love to hear from you. Our quarterly issues are available online, free of charge, for you to enjoy and share with others. Thank you for your readership and support!

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NICK NICHOLLS MOLLY SHULMAN

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Three-block relief print; hand designed, hand carved, and hand printed

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an introduction to the art of NICK NICHOLLS Story by Victoria Riggio Artwork by Nick Nicholls

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ick’s story is unique. His youth in Ocean City, Maryland was never filled with premonitions of an artistic future. The closest he ever found himself to creating art was through simple doodles out of boredom; however, his youth was filled with individuality, and it was this that shook the art out of his bones.

It wasn’t until high school that Nick discovered his interest in art. He took introduc-

tory courses in photography and design and immediately learned that his photos took the back seat to his drawings. Nick got hooked on designing. He began pursuing it more seriously when he decided to concentrate on Fine Art at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Nick’s specialty is print making, specifically in the style of graffiti. His enjoyment is derived from knowing that he is the essence of his work. Since he is the creator of his work, he has control over what he produces. Moving his instinct, via art, is his form of connecting with others. The objective of his artwork is to impact others in someway, even if only in a minor way. The method of his production begins with listening to his individual voice; Nick pulls particular perceptions from his life. He then conceptualizes these details and combines them with collective themes, which become his avenues for relating to the people around him. Through this method, Nick conveys meaning; and although the meaning may be less than absolute to some, his style guarantees that the viewer of his work will, at the very least, be intrigued enough to consider a piece for its meaning. He uses colors set in graphics as a hook to draw one’s eyes, followed by one’s mind, to his work.

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Bruda; 8-color screen print

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Falcor; 6-color screen print

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All of Nick’s prints featured in this issue are hand-drawn designs. Nick’s basic process is to scan a hand-drawn design into the computer, do some work on it through Photoshop, print it out, trace it on a light table, re-scan it, and gradually modify it multiple times before producing the final print. Inspiration for Nick’s prints come from many places and serve various purposes. Bruda, page 8, was designed for one of his good friends’ Virginia Beach-based clothing company. Falcor, page 9, was first drawn out by Nick years ago for a friend’s tattoo design. The original drawing for the tattoo featured his friend riding Falcor, the luck dragon from the film The Neverending Story. Nick used the drawing for his own purposes during one of his early screen printing classes back in 2011, but modified the artwork by substituting his friend’s face with his own in the style of a semi-traditional Japanese tattoo demon. As a twist, he completed his look with Michael Jackson’s iconic red Thriller jacket. Buck the Naysayers, page 11, was based off of a concept that Nick says just came to him one day. The original image underwent many edits through the computer, but was eventually re-created by hand through the use of a light table. For the final layer, Nick converted the original image to a half-tone top layer to tighten up the composition as a whole while still allowing the colors of the earlier, more loosely applied layers to come through. Pop culture also has a presence in Nick’s work. Tiger’s Blood, page 12, was inspired by the infamous rants and quotes of Charlie Sheen back in 2011. Additionally, the two versions of Mt. Smushmore, pages 14 and 15, are a play on the slang term “smushing,” meaning to have sex, made famous by the cast of the popular MTV reality show Jersey Shore. Overall, Nick believes his greatest inspiration as an artist is music. From Black Sabbath to Frank Ocean, Nick is driven to create through the music he listens to. He visualizes sound, which is a talent that has afforded him the ability to promote his work through custom gig posters for local bands. Eventually, Nick aspires to start his own print shop, a place where he can collaborate with novice, creative people, as well as challenge them to discover their contributions to the art world. Regardless of his future endeavors, one standard he holds is that he continuously grow through reinvention to maintain his excitement about art. Be on the lookout for the debut of Nick’s artistic website in the near future! n

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Buck the Naysayers

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Tiger’s Blood; single-block relief print

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“[I survived drug addiction] because I’m me. I’m different. I have a different constitution, I have a different brain, I have a different heart. I got tiger blood, man.” charlie sheen

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Mt. Smushmore; intaglio print

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Mt. Smushmore; 6-color screen print

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Tabitha; brass and copper, hollow fabricated ring

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THE LIFE AND WORK OF METALS AND JEWELRY ARTIST MOLLY SHULMAN Story by Emily McNally Artwork and Photography by Molly Shulman

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S

itting in the apartment/studio that is technically the basement of her parents’ house, twenty-three-year-old metals and jewelry artist Molly Shulman tells me that she finds herself struggling to provide information for this article in a way that seems at all impressive; however, having known Molly as an artist and as

a friend for many years, I can vouch that she is completely impressive in her own right. In addition to being a talented artist in multiple mediums, especially metals and painting, Molly is also one of the most genuine people you will ever meet: naturally cool, humorous, and always fun to be around no matter what the situation. Upon graduating from James Madison University in the spring of 2012 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Molly moved from Virginia back home to Maryland to prepare herself for her next big adventure: to live and create art in New Zealand. As an artist, Molly is fortunate enough to have been surrounded by art for most of her life. Her high school was a magnet school for the arts and as a senior, she joined the Arts and Communication Academy, which she attributes to helping develop her painting skills. When it came time for Molly to apply to colleges, she sought out art programs that were small, yet strong. “Being a person who has always been able to form strong relationships with my teachers, I knew that I wanted a smaller program,” she shares. “I was certain that with smaller classes and fewer faculty, I would be able to get to know all of my professors as people and as artists, not just as teachers.” While her current artistic concentration is metals, that wasn’t always the plan. “I went to school as a painter,” Molly explains. “It wasn’t until my senior year that I changed my concentration from painting to metals and jewelry. With the way that the BFA major at James Madison works, students have to take a number of studio electives — that is, beginner level classes of numerous medias — outside of their concentrations. I signed up for metals and jewelry because it happened to work with my schedule. I actually hated it for the first week or two; I almost dropped the class. I don’t know what exactly happened to change my mind, but by the time I finished my first pair of earrings, I was in love. To me, there is something sexy about metal. I am a person who likes to argue and be challenged. I also love getting my hands dirty, and metals did all of that for me. Metal is strong willed. I had to learn when to stop trying to make the metal do want I wanted; I had to learn that there is something really beautiful in yielding to your material. Some of my favorite pieces are the ones that have a good ratio of artist design and natural form.”

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Monile; copper and brass, chain mail necklace

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“To me, there is something sexy about metal.”

Faces Collection No. 1; caste bronze, dresser knobs

Faces Collection No. 2; caste bronze and silver, dresser knobs

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Electroformed titanium, decorative piece

Regarding different types of metal work, Molly loves fabrication, as she gets really great geometric shapes this way, but feels especially drawn to casting. “I enjoy combining both the natural and the artificial worlds in my work. Lost wax casting is a great way to really mix things up with your designs. There also might be a chance that I’m a junkie for the risk of casting,” she confesses. “It’s hard for me to explain casting to someone without also showing him or her the process, but most of what I have learned has been through trial and error; unfortunately, I still don’t know most of the proper terms, as I never was a very attentive student. The kind of casting that I do involves making a wax model of the object that I wish to recreate in metal. This is helpful because there are so many things that wax will do while metal just won’t. Once the wax object looks exactly as I want it to look in the end, I make my investment mold. Investment is best compared to plaster or some kind of cement. I attach my wax model to the correct base and cylindrical flask and pour the investment in. After the plaster has completely dried, the flask goes into the kiln, where the wax is melted, and all I am left with is a hollow shape inside the plaster mold. The actual casting process can be done in many different ways. The technique that I use the most is called spin casting, where the flask and the liquid hot metal are placed into a spinning device which, when set up correctly, creates a centrifugal pull guiding the metal into the mold.” When it comes to creating jewelry, Molly is especially opinionated. “Go big or go home,” she declares. “I mean it. I hate the world of commercial jewelry today. Everyone is so afraid to do something daring and wild. People still use the same basic templates and the same materials just because they know they will sell. I want the avant garde attitude that is applied to fashion design to be applied to jewelry design. I want to see new ideas and new concepts; stuff that not only serves as an accessory, but as a wearable work of art.”

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ADVICE TO ARTISTS

1

2

YOU CAN NEVER

DO NOT EVER

FROM

MAKE TOO MANY

PUT STEEL

MOLLY SHULMAN

BAND RINGS.

IN THE PICKLE.

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4

5

ALWAYS DOT YOUR “I”S

IF YOU HAVE TO EXPLAIN

THE MORE TIME SPENT ON

AND CROSS YOUR “T”S

SOMETHING, IT PROBABLY

THE INITIAL DESIGN STAGE,

BEFORE MOVING ON

LOOKS LIKE A MISTAKE.

THE LESS TIME SPENT

TO THE NEXT WORD.

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STARTING OVER LATER.

6

7

8

THINK ABOUT IT

DON’T GET CAUGHT UP IN

MAKE LOTS AND LOTS OF

AND REMEMBER

THE “WHY” AND THE “HOW.”

GREAT ART UNTIL YOU

TO BREATHE.

YOU WILL HAVE TIME TO

PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY

JUSTIFY YOUR WORK LATER.

CANNOT MAKE ANY MORE.

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Curabitur (open); steel, brass, spalted maple burl (stabilized wood), folding pocket knife

Curabitur (closed); steel, brass, spalted maple burl (stabilized wood), folding pocket knife

Flatware Trial No. 1; steel, canary wood, rosewood and epoxy paste, fork

Flatware Trial No. 2; steel, canary wood, rosewood and epoxy paste, knife

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“Sometimes, in order to break out of a block, you just gotta throw caution to the winds and make something awful, because even the worst art is better than no art.”

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In between graduating from college and preparing to move to New Zealand, Molly spent the summer teaching children at an art camp in Connecticut. “Camp was a really amazing experience. I cannot say that enough,” she reminisces. “I got to use old casting equipment and was reintroduced to soldering after spending the second half of my senior year working only with ARC and laser welding. I was also able to fine-tune a lot of my more basic skills; but the thing that really made camp amazing was working with the kids. Getting to work alongside and teach these eleven to sixteen-year-olds was a life-changing experience. I got to help kids who have real interest in art learn the trade, but I also got to help them start to think like artists.” Even after serving as an inspiration to younger artists, Molly still finds it hard to pinpoint where she herself gets her inspiration from. “That is to say, I don’t really notice what I’m doing before or when I get inspired,” she claims. “Usually it’s what comes after inspiration that gets my attention. I do know that I find talking things out with other artists to almost always be helpful.” As an artist of any kind, hitting creative road blocks is just part of the process. For Molly, creative road blocks tend to lead to a lot of frustration, as they do for many. “Some yelling, maybe a tearful call to mom, and definitely a trip to the nearest bar,” she says honestly. “What I can say here is, again, it is always helpful to have people around you who understand you. I always like to have other artists who have just gone through, or who are about to go through, what I just did around me when I order that first whiskey ginger.” As she gets ready to move across the world for the next few years, Molly opens up about the goals that she has for her last few months in the states. While many people would focus on saving up as much money as possible, Molly is extremely passionate about saving up in a different way: saving up art, saving up ideas. “What I want more than anything is to get back into creating,” she reveals. “I hope that through sharing my experiences, I am able to honestly portray my love of art, as well as the struggles that I face in creating it. As an artist, I do find myself having a lot of difficulty bringing my ideas to life through my medias. I haven’t picked up a paint brush in months, but today, after this interview, I will. I have no idea what I will paint, and I am actually pretty sure it won’t be much good; but, hey, that’s what you gotta do, isn’t it? Sometimes, in order to break out of a block, you just gotta throw caution to the winds and make something awful, because even the worst art is better than no art.” n

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STEPHANIE CRAIG CATHERINE ARMANASCO SPECIAL CONTRIBUTION

MADDY TALIAS

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Demimon d aine

A Look Into The photogra phic works of Stephanie Craig Story by Emily McNally Photography by Stephanie Craig

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rowing up in the hills of Western Massachusetts, photographer Stephanie Craig tells us that there wasn’t much to do as a kid but wander the woods and pick blueberries. “In a way, photography became my companion,” she says. Stephanie is currently still living in Western Massachusetts, where there is an

outstanding creative community. “I’m happy to be here, and to be part of such a wonderful group of people. There is something beautiful about New England in every season,” she shares. “Especially the fall.” Her favorite place in the world is a place in her home town: a special spot where “the sky opens up and the stargazing is out of this world.” When it comes to her work, Stephanie explains that she is “inspired by human connection,” stating that the bond between a photographer and its subject fuels her. Portraiture is Stephanie’s specialty. “When a portrait makes you want to know everything about the subject…that’s what I love. The concept doesn’t have to be crazy as long as the subject alone looks unforgettable.” Stephanie finds inspiration in the uniqueness of everyone she comes into contact with, as well as in books. “I find so much inspiration in used book stores,” she reveals. “They are a gift to creativity.”

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As for people who inspire Stephanie, Francesca Woodman, Katerina Plotnikara, Sayaka Maruyama, and PT Anderson are at the top of her list, although her father is the one who truly keeps her going. “He’s the most amazing person I know.” Before pursuing photography professionally, the best job that Stephanie ever had was working on a blueberry farm in Heath. “If I were able to, I’d spend every year working there,” she confesses. “There’s a kind of zen in sorting and working outside all day.” If she wasn’t a photographer, she admits she’d most likely be farming or working with animals in some way. Nature is also at the root of many of the little things in life that makes Stephanie happy. “Sitting on river rocks as the sun sets behind a mountain; tea, wandering, story telling, gardens, learning new things, discovering hidden places,” she continues. “The list goes on.” The photo shoot featured in this issue, titled Demimondaine, came about when Stephanie’s friend, a stylist, asked her to photograph some vintage Chanel suits from her store. Two of Stephanie’s friends, Molly Taylor and Cecily Santiago, agreed to model the suits for the shoot, which were styled by Tiffany Pentz. Prior to the shoot, Stephanie did a lot of research on the history of Chanel. “It is said that the earliest women to wear Chanel were demimondaine mistresses, women of fashion upon whom the rich men displayed their wealth. They lived extravagant lifestyles of fine food and clothing provided by their lovers,” she states. “To put it simply, they were the ‘classy’ prostitutes of the late 18th century. Their lifestyles were an eclectic mix of sharp business acumen, social skills, and hedonism.” One of the most famous demimondaine mistresses was Cora Pearl. “Cora was a cultural celebrity,” Stephanie elaborates. “She dressed creatively with the intent to provoke either shock or awe. She would dye her hair bold colors to bring out her clothing or make up. I thought this was a perfect match for Molly’s hair, the blonde model.” Stephanie acknowledges that she has made the subject matter a bit risky, being that in most senses, demimondaine means prostitute, but she loves that its dictionary definition is “a class of women on the fringes of society supported by wealthy lovers.” As a young creative following her dreams, Stephanie has big plans for the rest of 2013. Establishing her business is one of her top goals for this year. “I’m in the beginning stages of my career and everything is still very fresh,” she says. “I learn something new every day and I’m very grateful for this. I’d love to put a book together by the end of this year and also spend some time traveling.” Additionally, Stephanie is looking forward to shooting her scheduled 2013 weddings and working on some more personal projects. n

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Story by Maddy Talias Photography by Stephanie Craig

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“I have never deceived anyone, for I have never belonged to anyone. My independence was all my wealth: I have known no other happiness.� Cora Pearl

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THE ARTISTIC STYLE OF CATHERINE ARMANASCO Story by Emily McNally Photography by Catherine Armanasco

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hen New York City-based photographer Catherine Armanasco was about fourteen years old, she took a walk with her aunt, an artist, around her town with a little pink Samsung camera. Catherine took pictures of everything she saw. Upon returning home, she and her

aunt looked over the images. Her aunt told her that she really had “an eye.” Those words, in addition to her genuine love for photography, encouraged her to professionally pursue the art form. Her very first photography class was a black-and-white darkroom course in high school. Catherine mainly likes to shoot black-and-white film, but occasionally shoots color as well. Her work mainly consists of images that she has staged using different objects as symbols that have an underlying meaning. Catherine’s hope is that viewers look at her work with great intent on discovering the message that she is trying to convey to them.

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Untitled

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Untitled

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Untitled

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The untitled photo on page 42, as well as the untitled photo across pages 40 and 41, are part of a series that Catherine worked on this past year as part of her junior seminar class at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, New York City. Her main inspiration throughout the project was Gregory Crewdson, an American photographer best known for staged scenes of homes and neighborhoods. Catherine looked to create cinematic lighting to tell the story of her cousin, as the series deals with the fascination that she has of her cousin’s European lifestyle; specifically, the way that her cousin represents herself and her surroundings. After having been spoken to in French by her mother as a child and attending Lycée Français de New York, the French high school of New York in Manhattan, Catherine finds the lavish quality that her cousin incorporates into her life to be very desirable. Another untitled photo, page 39, is a study of the body stopped in motion. Catherine’s goal with this piece was to create some sort of distortion to the human form. Across pages 44 and 45, Time references how quickly life goes by and how people tend to spend that precious time. The image depicts a woman who is clearly bored and doing nothing of value as time is passing her by, evident through the movement of the brush strokes. Being, page 46, is an attempt at showcasing the human conscious and it being the very way that we live our lives. Catherine is particularly interested in dualism in philosophy; the teaching of a physical and spiritual world, and that the body and mind are separate. Finally, on page 47, Walk Through Carmel is one of the first few photos that Catherine took with a black-and-white film camera back in high school. For some unknown reason, once she developed the roll, the man in the image was captured as a still subject even though she had photographed him as he was walking. Additionally, while he is stationary, his surroundings appear shifted. It was a happy mistake for Catherine, as the final photograph turned out to be a very unique shot. As an artist, Catherine credits Gregory Crewdson, Lorretta Lux, Diane Arbus, and Henri Cartier-Bresson as major influences of her work. Throughout her experience in art school, she has come to realize that she is not particularly interested in being solely a photographer, but moreso in a career where she is constantly surrounded by photography, such as being the photo editor or art director of a magazine publication on a topic such as travel, home, food, or society. n

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Time

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Being

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Walk Through Carmel

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Cigarettes + Chocolate Milk a PH OTO series Photography by Maddy Talias

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MAC ROWE MADISON GERISH

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A Voice for the Voiceless Hanging out with Mac Rowe OF Dogs on Main Street Story by Victoria Riggio Photography by Maddy Talias

M

usic was always a part of Mac Rowe’s life. Although neither of his parents played instruments, both exposed him to an array of genres and sounds. His dad introduced him to Seattle grunge and his mom, to American rock. Even before he could talk, he listened. Car rides with his mom were filled

with Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run and Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever. He knows not of a direct influence that either of these musical exposures had on him, but he knows that they had a lasting effect, even if only for creating a basis for his love of music. As he grew independent, he became involved with punk rock, as a result of his uncle’s influence, and expanded his musical sounds beyond that of what his parents had introduced him to. Much like the passive musical car rides of his infancy, through his mom’s encouragement, Mac started piano lessons at age eight, though he only continued for two short years. Although he loved music, he despised playing the piano. It was an external motivator that drove him to practice, not like his future internal desire to play the guitar. The experience of what he disliked was recognized as a main objective in discovering an outlet, an outlet for his restless mind; and he did. For Mac, creating music, with lyrics and a guitar, is a peace finding. After giving up the piano, he picked up the electric guitar, with his first guitar being an electric one. Unlike the piano, Mac’s desire to learn how to play the guitar was intrinsic; therefore, it is no surprise that he is self-taught. He’d choose a song that he liked and would then teach it to himself. It was at this point in his life that he envisioned a dream of creating a band, but, as most young children with such a dream experience, his family explained to him the difficulties of thriving in such an industry as that of music; to which he responded by acknowledging the potential struggles of his desired career while remaining true to his heart by moving forward in the direction of a future in music.

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Album: Bound in Blood Release Date: October 2nd, 2011 Label: Church Hill Records Genre: Indie folk, rock, instrumental, independent Origin: Richmond, Virginia

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“It’s only about every fifty to sixty years that someone comes along and changes the face of the music world the way Guthrie, Springsteen, and Dylan did. I’m not trying to make millions or sell out every show I ever have. I’m just trying to give people a calm and understanding voice; a voice that they can identify with...and there’s no guarantee I’ll do even that...but I have to try. I’ve got a lot to say; there’s a lot people need to hear; it’d be a shameful waste to keep it all to myself.”

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By mid to late high school, Mac took it upon himself to seriously promote his own music. He began playing more publicly, which enabled him to find his sound; he re-found himself in early American music, particularly folk. It was this style of music that made sense to him. He embodied the lyrics that early Americans were bound by; he lived what Springsteen and other American artists wrote about. Mac’s attendance in college, at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, marked the commencement of his career. He performed at MACRoCK, Harrisonburg’s annual music conference, and also frequently played at open mic nights with a variety of musicians in hopes of finding a fit for the vision that he had for his band; however, this was a more difficult task to tackle than he had anticipated. The temporary band members that he solicited to join him contradicted his American folk sound. They claimed that his style was too old for their age, describing it as a genre “their fathers would listen to;” however, this preferential contrast was merely a diverging path in his music career. He knew what he wanted and stayed true to his style by making the decision to go solo under the name Dogs on Main Street. Mac rationalized that if others disagreed with his musical intentions, then they were unfit to play his music. Overcoming the hurdle that set Mac apart from others, and consequentially set him on the path of a solo artist, molded the theme of his musical conveyance: to give a voice to the voiceless.

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After college, in continual pursuit of enlightening people through music, Mac moved to Brooklyn, New York City. While making money working coffee on the side, Mac spent the majority of his time making and performing music. He played at open mic nights, full sets, and music festivals. He played anywhere and everywhere; wherever there were people willing to listen. He conversed with different musicians and artists because they all shared the common ground of expressing themselves through the art of music. In the early fall of 2012, Mac moved up to Washington Heights in Manhattan; a move that to this day he is grateful for. It brought him into contact with two UK cowboys, Niall Connolly and Warren Malone — regulars at The Big City Folk Collective in New York. Connolly and Malone cordially welcomed Mac into their lives and into their musical world, enabling Mac to establish a base for his New York music adventure. For two reasons it is difficult for Mac to proclaim one single song on his album, Bound in Blood, as his favorite. First, until the album was completely recorded, Mac knew not that he had it in him to compose and execute it. The accomplishment of his first album ignites an overall feeling of success because it’s the composition of all seven songs that created the album as a whole. Appropriately second, each song holds a different piece of him in it. According to Mac, unless you’re someone like The Boss, there’s always something to be afraid of when performing. The audience’s reaction and energy, the sounds of his guitar and voice, and the order of his sets are just some of the thoughts and doubts that boost Mac’s nerves just before walking on stage. The one consistently calming thought that grounds Mac is that he created his music; thus, however naturally he plays is authentic to his intentions. A song may be interpreted by different ears in different ways, but so long as Mac is content with the sound that he produces, he has succeeded. People in general are Mac’s greatest inspiration for writing music. He never leaves the house without a pen and notepad on hand because his daily encounters and observations are muse-worthy. Giving a voice to the voiceless is his main goal in creating music; so really, what better way is there to capture the voiceless than through vision? Mac’s most memorable performance to date was on the stage of a local New York rock bar, The Bitter End (1961), where a twenty-two-year-old Dylan had once performed. His entrance onto the stage was filled with unsteady knees and pulsing pores; yet, once on stage, his fears subsided as he escaped to the familiar place that his mind had resided, to that place of original creation. The return to this state of mind allowed Mac to perform as honestly and as rawly as possible. He focused on being in the moment and it brought a sense of utter peace through him and to the audience. It was at this healing moment that Mac revolutionized the knowledge that he could find pure contentment in the art of music for all his days to come. He is currently working on his new full-length album, Reckoning, as of this past spring. n

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get to know Madison gerish and the schooley mountain family band Story by Emily McNally Photography by Maddy Talias

M

adison Gerish, the unrefined and earthy front woman of the folk-rock group Madison Gerish and the Schooley Mountain Family Band, has always had music in her blood. “I come from a rather musically inclined family,” she shares. “My grandma played the pipe organ as a young girl, my great uncles

were both musicians, my Aunt Kathy is a phenomenal saxophone player; so playing music really came naturally to me and Mike Rieckert, my cousin and band mate. I played a plethora of instruments as a young girl, but the one I pursued most evidently was the upright bass and then eventually the bass guitar. My mom bought me the most beautiful Rickenbacker bass for Christmas one year and I fell in love. After awhile, I knew I wanted to write songs with lyrics, so I picked up the guitar and I guess it’s been history ever since.” By the time she was thirteen, Madison was playing in an acoustic folk band and performing in local venues. “It was around that time when I knew I had to have music in my life,” she recalls. When Madison was a freshman in high school, she and her band rented a school bus and driver to take all of their friends to Chubby’s, a dive bar in Red Bank, New Jersey, so that they could play for an hour. “I guess that was pretty serious,” she laughs. Madison was introduced to great female country artists as a young age, which she attributes to influencing her sound and overall style. “My grandma and mom introduced me to Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, and most notably, Loretta Lynn. Their music has always stuck with me,” she confesses. “I love the raw, harsh themes of Loretta Lynn’s songs and her rough-around-the-edges persona; however, Levon Helm and the The Band are absolutely the most influential to my music, and especially to the Schooley Mountain Family Band’s sound and style. The Band combines blues, swing, and rock n’ roll, among other styles, in an effortless way all while switching instruments and vocalists. We’re very similar to them in that we both write songs about reality and like to have a good time.”

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Despite having known that she wanted to pursue music at a young age, Madison still went to college. “I graduated from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and while I wouldn’t say that it was valuable in the sense that I played a lot of music, it was essential to much of my songwriting,” she explains. “A lot of my songs are about my experiences and relationships with people and friends I met there. One of the most influential people at Dickinson College for me was Professor Crispin Sartwell. He offered classes such as Non-Western Aesthetics that discussed themes like country music, anarchism, and Native American culture, which were tremendously valuable to me as a musician and as a person. Professor Sartwell is also a talented blues harp player and encouraged myself and other students to pursue our musical ventures.” As for the other members of the Schooley Mountain Family Band, all New Jersey natives, guitar player Mike is Madison’s first cousin. “I’ve known him all my life,” she says. “He’s really more like a brother to me.” Their bass player, Dan Keegan, was Mike’s best friend throughout grammar school. “He’s become like a brother to me as well,” Madison comments. “We’ve been playing music together for a long time, really taught each other how to play...and we met our drummer, Rich Miller, in middle school and actually played a few shows together back then. We all did our own thing throughout college, so it’s really great to have everyone together again.” During the fall of 2012, the Schooley Mountain Family Band opened up for Childish Gambino at Dickinson College. “It’s been our most memorable performance to date,” Madison acknowledges. “We played for around 700 people, many being my close friends and family, and it was just a really a magical night. I felt like it was a ‘I’m doing it right’ kind of moment and everything has really picked up since then.” Her music has greatly evolved over time, mostly due to the number of people she plays with now. “When I first started writing music, I was composing songs for a single voice over an acoustic guitar,” she explains. “Now when I write songs, I take the other parts into consideration. It’s really made me develop as a musician; however, despite the new, fuller rock sound, I don’t think that the music has lost its folk roots.” Madison, who writes all of the songs for the Schooley Mountain Family Band, finds herself drawn to honest themes, particularly personal experiences, as these are the things that she believes she knows best. “Writing lyrics is almost a form of meditation for me, or at least a greater level of mindfulness,” she admits. “I think audiences recognize when lyrics are truthful and appreciate that frankness.” As a musician, Madison’s biggest challenge is that she does not read music. “I’m not a technically trained musician, so at times, it can be difficult expressing what I want the band to do because I don’t know the appropriate term for what I want. It can be extremely challenging, but it also makes for a unique form of communication and a creative environment,” she comments. “My cousin Mike and I having similar backgrounds and musical aesthetics, so that’s helpful, too.” When the band isn’t playing music together, you can usually find Madison on Phish’s latest tour, Dan playing football, Rich DJ-ing at the club, and Mike at the bar. Madison Gerish and the Schooley Mountain Family Band have new songs, a demo, and summer shows along the east coast on the horizon for the coming months. Their latest single, A Dose, is currently available for free download on SoundCloud. Madison’s key piece of advice for other musicians out there looking to seriously pursue music: “Love what you’re doing and have a good time doing it.” n

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“WRITING LYRICS IS ALMOST A FORM OF MEDITATION FOR ME, OR AT LEAST A GREATER LEVEL OF MINDFULNESS. I THINK AUDIENCES RECOGNIZE WHEN LYRICS ARE TRUTHFUL AND APPRECIATE THAT FRANKNESS.”

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MEGHAN LUCK MAGGIE McLaughlin SPECIAL CONTRIBUTION

CARA DEPIERO

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The Problem Story by Meghan Luck Artwork by Cara DePiero

T

he harshness of sound delights. I wave and

presence always ready to pounce, never taking into

quiver and wish for things to be different,

consideration the breadth of its effect, just doing,

and exactly as they are. To be of another

perpetually doing. It leaves me not alone.

place, a separate way, but exactly as they

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The mind breeds a company, a grouping of fools, all

are, as we expect them to be, as I dreamt them to be

desperate to be heard over one another. All those times

in my bed as a child with the lavender sheer curtains

I slipped that candy down the back of my wanting

waving in the morning. I know nothing, you want to

throat and waited for the sky to look like a dream. I

have the freedom to destroy yourself, to let it all go,

wrote truth on my arms and washed it off in the show-

to be a part of nothing, so when you are nothing, all

er the next day, clothed only in the shiny wetness of my

else is swept away. And when I am finally just the

body, my skin, the physicality of me. I let the cold water

skin of my teeth and the bone of my smile even then

ruin hope. But all hope in these days is exactly what I

I won’t be free, because I will still be here, acting on

want to be, trying to fight its way to the top of the pile,

anything but faith. All else interferes, gets in the way

swimming to breach a surface that never comes but

of my messy self, tries to distract from things I am too

is always in sight. It is not that we are hopeless, that

frightened to whisper to the mirror. Like an enemy

all is done and I am closing my eyes as I lay down my

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cheek to the cold sharp edge of a wooden desk. No, we

their happy way into the corners of my eyes are there

are not done, never will be, always have been. There

because they belong, because we all belong, because

once was a decision between retreat and advance, I did

everything fits together. But my nested identity refus-

neither, could bring my paralyzed self to no conclusion.

es. It just lies there and lets all the things that I’m afraid

I choked on a bite of muddled words and actions, so

to say to myself shiver out through my pores at night. I

eventually there was nowhere to go and nothing to

lay in bed with nothing on, struggling to pretend that it

say. But that was a long time ago. Now, I find myself

is summer in any of the places I once ran away to. I am

here, as I always have been, again wondering what

out there as the wind flows in one direction, as we walk

will be. Shouldn’t it be obvious? Is it not all laid out as

to promise to see each other again

soon as I gasp at my first unforgiving breath? There are

You see I don’t want the chatter, because the

strategies they say. It isn’t so difficult; it is with ease

barrenness of an appointment shouldn’t allow for the

at times that I sink in to myself, with urgency that I

distractions of the mind. Most of the time I am trying

want nothing, and with my body that I burn for more.

to find a way to not think, to let myself go and just

For a moment I am everywhere and nowhere, my own

float with my eyes to the firmament, to slip another

personal stratosphere. In the absence of no one I let

piece of candy down the back of my throat and wait

myself fall. The world allows what I beg for every night

for things to get better than they ever have been. To

in bed with my hands between my legs and my eyes

fall back into uncertainty and laugh at how it is the

open to five rectangular skylights that adorn the ceiling

only thing that’s sure. It’s as beautiful as they say, but

of my rooftop dorm. I look up and convince myself that

we all wake up in the morning wondering where the

the ground is solid, that snow falls because it must,

whole thing went.

and the wrinkles that have already started working

The very texture of being alive, it’s problematic. n

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Guillaume’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party Story by Maggie McLaughlin Artwork by Cara DePiero

T

he table was set in the height of style, yet artful allusions to tradition were incorporated

and central to this image was its startling authenticity,

throughout the elevating dining area. Mirrors

a rare find on this strip of Long Island. Others often

and paintings were positioned strategically

remarked that Gordo had missed his generation, which

for the best lighting so the furniture might look more

was very likely the Lost Generation. The particularly

antique and the dinner guests might appear less so. The

nervous dinner guests would jibe, “He could be Nick

answer is always in the details, Gordo thought. He must

Carraway’s right hand man!” just to get their nightly

give the guests enough clues to truly believe themselves

literary comment out of the way early on. Although

capable of solving the puzzle and at the same time, play-

Gordo preferred the opposite of opulence, he’d ac-

fully them. A true success was marked by bespectacled

knowledge even the tritest remarks with a gentlemanly

professors who lingered into the cigar hour alone, pon-

dip of the head.

dering the evidence they missed, doubting themselves. Guillaume’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party (five-stars,

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His image was essential to his business success,

On this particular evening, Gordo was satisfied with the natural unfolding of his event. He had given his sig-

thank you Hamptons Magazine, ten years running) was

nature reading of background information; chin slightly

owned by a stocky bulldog of a man named Gordo. Al-

tilted upwards, voice booming to an empty corner. He

though he had no positive attributes to speak of, Gordo

found that this bold projection to no one caused his

was a respected member of the quiet-kind-of-wealthy

guests to scoot to the edges of their seats, to better

Rolodexes. Fiftieth birthday parties, exclusive holiday

hear his cliff-hanging tale.

soirées, nights of secret significance to secret clubs—

Dominique Winters was as every bit severe and

these were his specialties. He did not to pride himself

beautiful as her name suggests. Born to the heir of an

on his discretion because it had never been called into

heir, she knew no struggle, but also had no airs. As an

question. He subscribed to no service industry clichés

only child, Dominique played with her Park Avenue

and would not spout off some line about how his work

contemporaries, but was soon disillusioned with their

was his passion, for it was not. Yes, his line of work was

frivolity. She believed in the lost art of letter writing

at times quite satisfying, but Gordo’s passion, if such a

and would pen exquisite correspondence to her friends

thing existed, was fine dining undisturbed by the world.

from her time abroad in London. These letters were

To him, a beef bourguignon in silence was simply divine.

mostly detailed riffs on a specific theme. Her words

He certainly did not curse the modern age of technol-

personified delicate frost on wrought iron balconies and

ogy for of culture and appreciation. He would never

so illuminated sunsets. All of this letter writing enticed

allow himself to fall into such simple elitism. Gordo’s

her dearest British friend, Tally, to visit New York. It was

chic aloofness was truly without airs. All pretension he

decided Tally would be chaperoned by her brother, Win,

exuded was instead complete indifference for matters

who sought to make a study of American architecture

that he found to be none of his business.

for his own London firm.

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Comments were whispered about the authenticity of

guests. He described in vague, yet grandiose terms how

Gordo bellowed on:

Miss Winters’ mysterious disappearance shook her small

By the rules of all great transatlantic journeys, Tally

summer community. Of course, his story remained

and Win left their cruise liner completely bored and yet

couched in the historical context of her day, yet Gordo

in need of aristocratic relaxation. Of course, Dominique

ensured that each guest felt a bit eerie by his use of

arranged for a sojourn to her East Hampton beach cot-

still-standing local landmarks.

tage mansion. The three made quite the merry trio and

Now reach under your chairs. Clues have been

with the summer season rolling in, they were joined by

attached to the undersides. You can work in teams and

waves of new callers each day.

combine clues, or work as a lone detective. Use any form

Gordo paused, for dramatic effect, thrilled by the

of sleuthing that you find necessary; but, before you

hook he had in his dinner guests. He could now lead

discuss Miss Winters’ fate aloud, please close your eyes

their nights in any direction of his choosing, puppeteer

and take a moment to imagine the scene, place yourself

of millionaires. They were addicted to his every word.

in this fictional day.

They would feel, personally, the death of Dominique;

At first, the guests glanced around, making slightly

and they would raise manicured eyebrows suspiciously

drunk but contented smiles at each other. Once it was

at every mention of the shady character, Win. Should

silently decided that the mystery competition was to be

he stick to a classic plot—brother-as-murderer? Or

taken seriously, each set of thick lashes descended and

interweave an exotic ambassador who has returned

a silent three minutes ensued. At least one husband had

possessed by revenge? Maintaining his recondite façade

over indulged and was nudged from boozy slumber by

externally, Gordo’s excitement intoxicated his thoughts

the pointed toe of an animal skin shoe.

for a moment. This crowd needs a little romance, he

This evening though, one woman did not close her

thought. I’ll keep Win alive and innocent; we’ll pin it on

eyes. She in fact, stared directly at Gordo. Her deep

a jealous former flame and fellow heir. Named…(Gordo

green dress tastefully matched unreadable hazel eyes.

always had a plan, except when it came to naming char-

She once had deep brown hair, but now allowed a

acters. He found this spontaneity improved the authen-

gentle sign of age with a silver streak framing her face.

ticity of each dinner party.)…named…Edward Spencer.

Diamonds complemented each angle of her appearance.

And so, one afternoon during calling hours, a particularly well-dressed man walked toward Dominique’s veranda. Immediately, the house staff began to buzz with

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Gordo turned his entire body slowly to face his

the British characters’ names (decidedly appropriate) as

And she was aware that she looked stunning. She must, Gordo thought. Ever weary of clichés, Gordo did admit to him-

excitement. It was Edward Spencer, former flame to

self: this woman is alarming. He was certain she had

Miss Winters. He announced himself without theatrics

already solved the unsolvable mystery. His second

and joined Dominique, Tally and Win for a particularly

act as Sherlock would be rendered useless when she

fine afternoon under the Long Island sun. He offered to

slowly rose and unfolded the entire mystery system-

take Win to his own estate where he had a tennis court;

atically, with delicate attention to detail. She would

and off the men went for a bit of competition.

appreciate the red herrings for what they were and

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she’d think to compare carpet fibers. She would pres-

strate her genius—and now, he had wasted this perfectly

ent her evidence at a clipped pace and then taper her

cultivated thought on a disinterested dinner guest.

delivery to finally reveal in a last breath, that Edward Spencer was the killer.

A stout man with an exotic pocket square came closest to solving the murder mystery that night. Gordo

The silver-haired guest was named Vivien Montgom-

really thought he might have had it, given another a few

ery and she was, in fact, conscious of her beauty. The

minutes and perhaps sans a few glasses of wine. Rather

rest of Gordo’s imaginary scene did not play out. Ms.

than allow such victory over his craft, he returned to

Montgomery said nothing. She remained seated with

the head of the table in character and guided the diners

her enviable posture, observing Gordo and his murder

through the true events of that afternoon at Dominique

mystery allusion. No great sparks flew; she did not rise

Winters’ estate.

to impress him with a monologue.

Everyone left Guillaume’s Murder Mystery Dinner

The three minutes were ended by Gordo’s gentle

Party impressed by the cleverness of the host. Many

clinking of knife to champagne flute. The mounting

approached him to shake his hand before navigating the

volume of the room was not enough to pull him from

stairs with boozy heightened caution. Ms. Montgomery

thoughts of Ms. Montgomery.

rose and exchanged pleasantries with the rather wiry

Gordo had written a great many murder mysteries;

man to her left. She congratulated him on a recent

he was a professional. As for stories of romance, he had

journal publication and he thanked her profusely. The

only ever thought of one. This one story, he had just giv-

man then turned to his wife and headed for the stairs.

en away to the woman in green. He had held onto it for

Ms. Montgomery unceremoniously gathered her clutch,

so long, perfecting this moment. From how the woman

wrapped herself in a blush pashmina and left after the

would gaze intently, to how she’d rise up and demon-

most courteous of thanks. n

THE WRITERS AND THE ARTIST Meghan Luck is a super senior English

Maggie McLaughlin is a graduate of Boston

Cara DePiero currently lives in Chicago

Major and Social Anthropology Minor at

University, where she earned a degree in

working in Human Resources downtown.

Harvard University. Her hobbies include

International Relations, and currently

In school, she minored in Studio Art, where

searching for a job, wearing brightly col-

works for Gilt Groupe in New York City.

she continued her passion for art. In her

ored trousers, trying to write clever things

She is an avid skier and loves being outside.

free time she loves to try new unique

about metaphysical poetry, and riding

In the words of Maggie, “there’s nothing like

breakfast joints, meet new people and

Bruce (her bike).

a little pop culture to make things fun.”

laugh. A lot.

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take your pleasure seriously. charles eames

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COMING THIS SEPTEMBER:

FALL 2013 VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2

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V23 Creative Magazine: Summer 2013 (Volume 1, Issue 1)  

A quarterly online publication showcasing young adult artists in various areas of creative production.

V23 Creative Magazine: Summer 2013 (Volume 1, Issue 1)  

A quarterly online publication showcasing young adult artists in various areas of creative production.