calm down, love life, work hard, be kind with marfa journal
What do you get when you mix a celebration of subculture, cross-culture, and pop-culture? Marfa Journal. The self-published indie-magazine is the brainchild of 22-year-old Alexandra Gordienko whose trailblazing approach to publishing is earning her...
Photography Letty Schmiterlow
Inspired by a cross-country road trip around the US and whilst only on its' second issue, the magazine has featured subjects as varied as Lindsay Lohan, Odd Future, Lizzie Fitch, Alex Olson and Karley Sciortino. Born out of fascination, fun and freedom, Marfa Journal reads like a nouveau love letter to Gordienko's friends and those who she admires.
How did Marfa Journal come about?
I was on my placement year at St Martins. I went to LA to do an internship but I met some boys with my best friend Jenny, so just went on a road trip instead and had loads of fun. We fell into this skate rap scene and we were hanging out with my friend Brick from Odd Future. We met all the boys and hung out with them instead of doing my internship. After that I went to Paris and started working for Olivier at Purple as an intern, doing Purple Diary.
How was that?
I love Olivier. I interviewed him for the second issue, he's so fucking clever. It was great for me when I showed him the magazine in Paris a couple of weeks ago. He showed me Purple before it went to print and asked my advice, I was like I've made it! After Purple I did a little bit of work for Kanye West, which was amazing!
What did you do for Kanye West?
He did a fashion line and I was working with a stylist, Hector Castro. They needed a person on board to help consult. It was really good money and it was really fun.
After, we did another road trip and I was taking pictures throughout and knew that in three months I would be coming back to school to graduate. I did Fashion Communication and Promotion, so I had to produce something like a magazine. The turning point was when I went to Marfa, it's an art mecca and I just really liked it. All these amazing artists over there , the culture clash of rednecks, Mexicans, hipsters and proper art freaks. I built the idea of Marfa Journal on that trip and then did additional interviews, photoshoots, and that was it!
What makes Marfa Journal different to anything else?
We're still young and not fully dependent on the way the industry works, so can get away with a lot. We can't expect many advertisers but those things hold you back. Mixing interesting people that you actually want to read about and the personal lives of me and my friends makes it different. It makes it easy that most of my friends are geniuses, we kind of all do these interesting jobs that link together.
Why do you think your generation is still interested in magazines?
I think there are two types of magazine, there are magazines that are very informative, like i-D which you go to to know what's up. It's like a newspaper for a certain mentality. Then there are magazines which are more objects - something that aesthetically pleases you. Something that makes you feel certain feelings, rather than purely educating you about certain things. I think there is a push in the direction as magazines as objects and that's what I want to do.
So looking at the magazine it kind of looks like you're obsessed subculture, cross-culture, and pop-culture all at the same time. Is that the magazine, an amalgamation of all three?
I think we have this in mind, things people don't expect to see next to each other, that's what makes it more interesting. I know that loads of people like our Instagram and have never seen the magazine. It's about finding reasons in things that don't go together but make sense to us and we're try to explain them through development.
How will you look to diversify and expand Marfa Journal?
We are all in this weird cultural scenario when we are linked by our phones, no real freedom for creativity, we're completely corrupted in this chase of being creative, being an artist, being different, not going to the office, and everybody aims for the same thing, that's why being creative has stopped actually being creative. We thought that if we do the magazine all the time, we're going to lose the feeling that we have for it now. So we want to destroy it from the beginning, it was actually my colleague Klara's idea. Each issue we want to take out a section of the magazine. The first issue had six sections, according to the person who defined the section, so Jeffrey Deitch was "Progressive". In the next one, we decided to take out one section and expand it on alternative platforms which will allow us to do other projects - we started with the Casual section but we did 'Casual' projects, like a collaboration with Colette and Marques'Almeida on capsule collection of customised T-shirts and the guys from IDEA Books on a small line of leather bum bags. The next one goes Obscure - you'll see what's going to happen with it. Apart from that, another expansion is the books I'd like to do, I am planning to do one with my friend Lucien Smith called MARFART and another one called MARFASHION with my friend Tamara Rothstein. I'd maybe like to make a movie too! That's something that'd happen at the end of Marfa Journal though. So far it's the magazine, books, and all the projects that will come with taking out sections of the journal and we would love to do a video game!
What's the biggest struggle you face as a female today?
I look like I'm 12 but I'm actually 22 so some people don't take me seriously when I'm at meetings, but it means I can get away with things! I can get away with a child's ticket at the cinema and I can always sneak into a festival without buying a ticket, things like that!
Text Lynette Nylander
Photography Letty Schmiterlow