Queenslanders, I must thank you for your patience! FINALLY, as you can see by the sweet banner above, we're dedicating this week to celebrate all manner of creative happenings coming out of sunny Brisbane! Finally finally finally.
I visited Brisbane a few months back and I must say, it was so truly lovely. Whilst Melbourne was miserable and wintery at the time, of course Brisbane was showing off, all blue skies and a balmy 25+ degrees every day. The whole city is so green and lush, strolling in 'The Valley' really did feel like being on some kind of tropical holiday, a world away from home. The people are also incredible – SO friendly and generous and chilled out and kind of 'nothing-is-ever-a-hassle', you know?
ANYWAY this week we'll uncover a broad spectrum of clever creatives who call Brisbane home, from energetic start-ups such as The Meander Journal, featured today, to established fashion icons Easton Pearson, and a few surprises in between! Of course we'll also have a very cool Brisbane home to share on Wednesday, and a little mini-guide highlighting our fave Brisbane retail, eating and cultural spots on Thursday.
A few thankyous first an ENORMOUS thankyou to emerging superstar illustrator Alice Oehr for creating our 'TDF Takes Brisbane' banner, as well as one other fabulous illo which will run later this week! Thanks also to all the lovely locals (and ex locals!) who shared their fave places and tip offs with us – Chelsea de Luca, Jenna Hipgrave, Kirra Jamison, Julian Hutton, Alison Kubler and many more. Thanks also to Megan Morton and Sophie Gannon for introductions to a number of amazing creative Brisbanites!
OK so we're kicking things off today with a little introduction to The Meander Journal – a fabulous independent quarterly online publication created by Brisbane-based design graduates Julian Hutton and Fraser Stanley. These sweet lads joined forces in shared design-job-hunting frustration in 2011, creating The Meander Journal really as a creative outlet to showcase their skills and document the creatives they admire. There's something quietly confident and very understated about this publication – it's hard to believe the boys behind it are fresh-faced recent graduates!
The Meander is 'roughly bi-monthly' (!!) and focuses on arts, design and culture, and the people, places and ideas behind it. Each issue consists of nine feature articles – a mix of interviews, images, photo essays and mixtapes. The boys were quite clear that they wanted each issue to feel 'finished' and contained, rather than generating a website or blog-style content with endless updates.
'Each issue is published directly to our website all at the same time' says Julian. 'So it operates like a publication, rather than a blog, in that each issue’s articles are made available at one time rather than gradually'. Subscribers receive an email telling them when each issue goes live. There's something very measured and old school about this approach – and it does certainly does give The Meander a unique sense of pace and consistency. (They do also have a blog on The Meander site, used to share snippets of content inbetween issues).
We asked Julian Hutton, graphic designer and co-founder of The Meander Journal, a few questions about this inspired side project.
Fraser and I have been friends for a few years now, after studying graphic design together in Brisbane. We both ran collaborative photography/art blogs and published zines in our spare time. So I guess that's how we became interested in self-publishing.
The Meander came about when most of my friends and I had graduated and were struggling to find work. We would often be competing for the same job positions, which was kind of weird and unsettling. I think this is quite a big problem right now; you have all these creative students coming out of universities and colleges expecting to get work, but there just aren't enough positions. In saying that though, this challenge pushed me to try and find other outlets for my work, and The Meander might not have come about otherwise.
Although Fraser is a co-founder of the Meander Journal, and played a huge role in its development, the initial idea for The Meander (including its name) came from hanging out with my friend Sam Thorpe. We had this idea of doing a Brisbane-based magazine/blog featuring all the local stuff that was interesting to us. The local direction of The Meander quickly changed, though, as we realised there were already people doing a good job of that, so we decided we'd like to broaden the scope and include international content. So far its been really rewarding!
I contacted Fraser and Nicholas Eckhardt (who is a visual artist but also has a background in design) literally a couple hours after conceiving the idea with Sam, to see if they'd be interested in being a part of it. My sister Casey, who has a background in arts writing, edits the publication. She has just returned from working as an editor at Southbank Centre in London.
We all have similar taste so choosing people to feature comes quite easily to us. It's all quite casual really — we generally just send each other links to people we like and think would have something interesting to share with our readers.
The Meander focuses on arts, design and culture, and the people, places and ideas behind it. Roughly bi-monthly, we publish an issue of nine feature articles that are available to view free online. We also have a blog on The Meander site, which we use to share other content and stories inbetween issues.
When we set out, we really just wanted to document the things that interested us. We decided to create the content we wanted to see more of online. Typically, each issue is a mix of interviews, images, photo essays and mixtapes. We also like to collaborate with and stay in touch with the folks we feature.
It’s been very gratifying to feature some of our favourite creatives, such as Ana Kraš, Alex Catt, Perks and Mini, Colin Lafleche, Ashley Helvey, Nathan Cowen (Haw-lin) and Axel Peemoeller to name a few. The Meander is also a process of discovering talented people here in Brisbane – such as photographer Nicolette Johnson, producer Green Nose, and independent publisher Charlie Hillhouse.
Our latest issue features more amazing people from around the world, as well as a photo essay by Fraser documenting his recent trip through Vietnam and Europe.
We are all very happy with how it's going so far. We're still a very young project, so hopefully we keep growing and collaborating with lovely people from around the world.
We want to produce something physical soon – curating an event or putting together a book, and also some more travel next year!