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IN THE PROJECT: TABULA RASA MAGAZINE

PUBLICATION
May 12, 2015
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Name.

Tabula Rasa Magazine 

Location.

NYC/Copenhagen

Who’s behind this?

Sabrina Banta, Editor in Chief

Sabrina Tamar, Managing Editor

Estee Kim, Design Director

Louise Borchers, Style Director

Fie Tiedt, PR Director

Hunter Abrams, Production Assistant

Elevator pitch.

SB: TR is a publication that serves as a platform for emerging artists to contribute fashion photographic work, based purely on its artistry rather than for its commercial value.

ST: A fashion photography publication that puts an end to limitations on what creatives can create and what we presume others want to read, watch, and consume.

EK: TR is an arts and photography curatorial, that serves as a platform and playground for creatives to just have a good time and shoot.

LB: TR is a magazine that celebrates fashion photography and creative freedom. 

HA: A fashion magazine for people who care more about images than clothing.

Why did you make this happen?

SB: I wanted to find a way to promote the artists that inspire me – the ones that take risks, tell stories, and are unapologetic in their artistic approach. Their work is merely an extension of their own identity.

ST: Because both readers and artists deserve more.

EK: To create an experience in which creative individuals can find opportunity in collaboration and artistic freedom. TR was founded to give creatives a more transparent platform that inspires for artistry rather than commercial interest.

LB: Fashion is so much more than skinny girls and trends. Fashion is style, people, stories and identity. We wanted to create a space free of the consumerist interests where talented people could pursue their ideas and visions.  

FT: NYC, the energy and most importantly the talented artists, creatives and girls behind Tabula Rasa! 

HA: It was an opportunity to do something that I had always wanted to do, which was to help create a magazine that gave the power back to the image-makers.

Inspirations?

SB: Finding beauty in everything, from the obvious – listening to the rain at my parents’ home in the mountains, to the lesser so – an end to a long relationship.

ST: Gesamtkunstwerk, Ballets Russes, Bela Tarr, Minimal Wave/Minimal synth, Joseph Szabo, Yoshishige Yoshida, Inger Christensen, new pens, sitting below the bridge in DUMBO when the train passes overhead, hearing music in corner bodegas that sounds both happy and homesick.

EK: Underrated moments, conversations, minimalism, #ffffff

LB: Everything from the dirty streets of Chinatown to the green flat fields in Denmark. And people, I love people. 

FT: Our Tabula Rasa Team. With diverse backgrounds, educational and nation-wise, we complement, inspire and push each other to move forward. It’s amazing how much you can learn from working with strong women and Hunter, of course (he’s one of the girls now). 

HA: Joe Mack, Lisa Hock-Mack, Kyle Roberts, Katie Gardner and Lenore Hanson who helped me believe that I could truly do anything my artistic heart desired; my dad whom I’ve watched build a business from the ground up; and, of course my fellow Tabula Rasa team members who make me want to work harder every single day so that we are all successful together.

Obstacles? 

SB: The obvious one is money since we are an independent non-profit foundation, but we managed to fund the first issue based off individual contributions and sponsorships so we hope to maintain that level of support for the future.

ST: Dealing with the words, “there is no budget.”

Dealing with the constant criticism “it’s impossible to do without advertising.”

EK: Two of our team members are located in Copenhagen, so it’s difficult to meet up in person regularly. As a new organization, we’re doing our best in making it work.

LB: Money and time. Things just take time. 

FT: Working from Copenhagen, I miss the NY team. Emails and Social Media make it easier for us to work together, but there is something in the face-to-face conversation you’d miss out on. Hugs, for example. 

HA: No question — the lack of money makes things very difficult.

Highlights?

SB: We have made huge strides in a very short period of time including getting the magazine into MoMA PS1, having a successful launch party at International Playground, and hosting our first gallery show. The most rewarding, though, has been the support we have received from the public and the photographers and various contributors we have worked with.

ST: The panel discussion we organized at Castle Fitzjohns gallery; celebratory Skype sessions between Hawaii, New York and Denmark; seeing the photographers smile when they flipped through the magazine for the first time.

EK: From the birth of Tabula Rasa Magazine, Inc. in October 2013 and its launch in May 2014, it’s completely invigorating to have an audience and following that responds to what we’re doing. As a non-profit organization, direct support is a fortune to us. We also held our first annual gallery collaboration with the lovely people at Gasoline.xxx and Vandervoort Studio in NYC this June.

LB: Every time someone supported the magazine it felt like Christmas; Anatol in action for Therese + Joel rocking garters and platforms like he was born to do it; editing/seeing the photographers’ final work; holding the printed magazine; getting the magazine on the shelves of McNally Jackson; selling out at McNally Jackson. 

FT: May 28th Tabula Rasa Magazine Launch Party in NYC. It was amazing to meet all our friends and backers – more than 200 people came to celebrate the launch of our first issue. 

HA: Taking my copy of Tabula Rasa to the Huntington School of Fine Arts to show it to my mentors. HSFA was really my sanctuary and creative playground from when I was younger and there is no way I would have been the person I am today without having gone there. 

Biggest lessons learned so far? 

SB: The three P’s – patience, persistence, and perseverance.

ST: Patience. Progress isn’t linear. Listen to criticism and process it— like curating, recognize its value, but learn to see when it fits and when it doesn’t.

EK: Like what Louise had just said, good things take time. Our first fundraising campaign on Kickstarter was short of reaching our goal amount, but we tried again and exceeded our goal amount. We could have sat in discouragement after months of hard work, but an honest point of view will take you a long way.

LB: Things take time. We are on our own schedule, but so is everyone else. Persistence, persistence, persistence.

FT – We need to find a larger space for Tabula Rasa Magazine vol. 2 launch party 🙂

HA: Nothing is ever set in stone.

If Tabula Rasa was a song or an album what would it be? 

SB: ‘Independent Woman’ by Destiny’s Child.

ST: A mash-up of a no-name NY band’s self-released LP and a ‘Sound of Copenhagen’ compilation.

EK: Something untitled.

LB: Definitely a compilation of some sort.  

FT: Spice Girls first album ‘Spice’ – white cover and lots of GIRL POWER! 

HA: Beyoncé’s latest album ‘Beyoncé – it’s fresh, beautiful, multi-faceted and, most importantly, it’s FIERCE.

Dream collaborator?

SB: The list is endless, but the photographer I really have my eye on right now is Jamie Hawkesworth. His distinct vision and ability to maintain his artistic integrity, whether it’s for a personal project or a client, is what we look for in our contributors.

ST: For me, dream collaborations often end up in retrospect—the most fulfilling things come when you let go of expectation. That being said, V1 Gallery, Palais de Tokyo, Iris van Herpen, and Xeno & Oaklander would be up there on the list for me.

EK: Hm, there’s many! But would love to curate a future event or issue with Lykke Li, Wyne Veen, Ivania Carpio.

LB: FKA Twigs is amazing. I’d love to collaborate with her! 

FT: MoMA, New Museum and ARKEN Museum in Denmark. It would be amazing to feature our photographers at a gallery event in these beautiful surroundings. 

HA: My dream would be a shoot with Paolo Roversi, styled by Lori Goldstein, and with Tilda Swinton as model.

Parting wisdom?

SB: Embrace failure and dream big it is much easier to scale dreams down and rationalize them into fruition rather than not having the imagination or capacity to understand what you could possibly achieve. 

ST: Doing something because it’s what everyone else is doing and doing something because it’s what no one else is doing are opposite ends of the pendulum— and ultimately the same. Don’t look to the outside for inspiration like holding a compass—the direction comes from within yourself.

EK: ‘ Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. ‘ – Sol Lewitt’s letter to Eva Hesse. Go read.

LB: No one is gonna do it for you.

FT: Do what you love and love while you do it! 

HA: Everyone has the right to create.

What’s next?

SB: Everything. It is really just the beginning for us.

ST: Whatever the “now” will become.

EK: Working on our newly launched digital platform – tabularasamagazine.com and directing Volume II of Tabula Rasa. We’ll keep you posted!

LB: Issue 2 

FT: Tabula Rasa’s new online platform tabularasamagazine.com.

HA: Time to start thinking about Tabula Rasa Volume 2!

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