If you haven’t heard of Stack Magazines yet, brace yourself, you’re about to begin a lifelong love affair. When you subscribe to Stack, you’ll receive a different magazine each month, from independent publishers boasting every cultural insight imaginable – and did we mention that they ship to locations all across the globe?
We caught up with founder Steve Watson, for more details on what Stack offers and the exclusive subscription discount for Cass Art customers.
What gave you the idea to launch Stack Magazines?
Stack came from a chance encounter of inspirations. I read a blog post by Russell Davies on ways to stay interesting. One way was to read a different magazine every week, "because magazines let you explore the solar system of human activities from your armchair”. Then a friend told me about a t-shirt subscription his wife had bought him - every month he received a different limited edition t-shirt delivered to his door. He never knew what he was going to get next, but he did know it was going to be really cool and he would never otherwise have found these designs.
It occurred to me that maybe I could combine these ideas by sending out some of the independent magazines I loved and wrote for, but that most people had never heard of.
Can you tell us a bit about the magazines on offer?
They’re the sort of magazines that are made with passion rather than as a vehicle for carrying advertising - I love the fact that they exist because somebody out there can’t stand the idea of the world without this magazine in it. I think that sort of enthusiasm jumps off the page and really makes them stand out. They offer an independent point of view from outside the mainstream, and Stack subscribers are the sort of people who value that perspective, whether as a way to find inspiration for their work or art, or just as a nice way of relaxing at the weekend.
They’re also the sort of magazines you won’t find in most newsagents. If you live or work in London or Manchester you could, if you wanted, seek out a fairly balanced diet of good independent magazines, but if you’re not near one of those cities the reality is that you simply won’t be able to find most of these magazines. That’s something I feel really strongly about - I’m from Hull, and I love the fact that with Stack, anybody can stay up to date with the most interesting independent publishing. Even if they live in Hull.
Can you tell us a little about the art specific publications?
VNA is a street art magazine that takes a genuinely global look at arguably the world’s most fast-changing art scene. Increasingly we’re seeing street art appearing in galleries and other sanctioned places, but there’s still loads of stuff being created that could literally be scrubbed away the next day. VNA gives lots of space to interviews with the artists themselves to get the inside line on their inspirations and ambitions, and specialises in excellent photography documenting street art in cities all over the world.
Elephant is edited by Marc Valli, owner of the Magma bookshops, and it’s like a magazine-lover’s exercise in creating the ultimate print object. It has a lovely cloth spine that sets it apart as a bit special, and they spare no expense with the various paper stocks inside. It covers the art world in an irreverent and exciting way, challenging preconceptions, shedding light on under-appreciated artists and groups, and asking new questions about old favourites.
The Gourmand is the place where art and food meet and get messy. Again, it’s a beautiful object made from the best quality papers, and it gives equal importance to the words and pictures. The last issue had a fantastic photo story on birds in cooking, and a long, meaty essay on the shamanic wonder of making stock. Excellent stuff.
Eye is the journal of graphic design, and I’m sure your readers will know all about it.
Printed Pages is the upstart from It’s Nice That - a smaller, cheaper, fresher, more fun version of It’s Nice That magazine that’s much closer in tone to the blog itself.