playful nudity and crass fashion with artist and zine maker claire milbrath
Nuns, nobs, and Hari Nef: we celebrate the 13th issue of Editorial Magazine, Canada's most unique zine.
Frustrated with the dusty tombs of large establishment publications and the sheer lack of space to showcase Montreal's thriving art scene, Canadian artist Claire Milbrath decided to take matters into her own hands. And with that, Editorial Magazine was born.
Homegrown, honest and authentic, Editorial has managed to carve out a reputation for itself as one of the coolest zines in the world. From its unadulterated fashion features of topless women and tribal subcultures, to its give-a-fuck photography of breastfeeding nuns, when it comes to putting the magazine together, there is no holding back. Naïve in its temperament, it's a snapshot of creativity from Claire and her circle of friends. There's also a strong erotic undercurrent as Claire's own pornographic illustrations playing a large part in the mag's overall aesthetic. With the release of the 13th issue, we catch up with Claire to talk illicit images, censorship in fashion, and the bullshit prerequisites for making it in the art world.
Tell me a bit about yourself and where you grew up?
I grew up in Victoria, a small town on the West Coast of Canada. Now I live in Montreal where I run the Editorial from my apartment.
When did you first become interested in art?
Probably since childhood. I opted out for most team activities so art classes were a good alternative.
What inspires you?
I love learning about other people, their processes, their success stories. I'm inspired by the Naïve Art, but probably only because I share their limitations in my own work.
What are your principle concerns as an artist?
What's the story behind Editorial Magazine?
I started the magazine during my last year at university. I was frustrated because there was so much art happening in Montreal and no place to show it. Maybe because I studied History at school I personally felt excluded from the art scene here. The only publications I knew to submit work to seemed to be inaccessible, large establishments. I started the Editorial primarily to showcase my own and my friends' work.
Does it have an underlining message?
I don't think so, just unpretentious art and fashion, no holds barred!
What was the concept behind this particular issue?
There was no concept; I guess I wanted it to feel 'fun' as winter was finally ending.
There's quite a bit of nudity involved and illicit images, do they serve to shock and provoke or are they merely part of the visual fabric of the magazine?
Yes, it's true, although I think it's a subconscious choice. My personal work often borders on pornography, maybe I'm drawn to that in others' work. I like crass art, especially when it's curated by females. I don't think fashion should be censored, the nudity makes it more playful. Fashion is usually too serious.
What makes the magazine stand out from others?
I actually think our naivety to the 'business' and lack of financial backing allows us to be freer than most publications. We have no allegiance to a brand or corporation, so I feel the content and the process is completely natural. I think our covers are proof of that - more than half of the cover artists we've featured were previously unpublished or unrecognized. I think it's important to ignore the (bullshit) prerequisites for making it in the art world.
How important is it to you personally to create new conversations?
I think conversations should happen naturally, but I'm happy to facilitate those discussions.
What are you working on at the moment?
I've just finished distributing the new issue so now I have a window of time to paint. I want to make a book of paintings, like a big picture book. We're also about to release our first Editorial cassette - featuring all unreleased stuff from musical friends we've featured in the past. I'm really excited for the future.
Text Tish Weinstock
Images courtesy the artists and Editorial Magazine