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1985 for Cap Gun Collective - blog

What Happened in 1985…

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Because she’s just that driven of an artist, our very lovely Kaitlyn Parks of Cap Gun Collective has launched an online journal, creative studio and library of emerging artists, powered by contributors from around the world. Identifying visionary artists emerging from obscurity, 1985 is your guide to artists, ideas, inspiration and collaboration, connecting people and platforms and promoting up-and-coming artists through editorials and images. So—what drives a full-time producer to embellish her to-do list? We used our inside connects to grab Kaitlyn and get straight at the source. Read on for the deets…

What inspired you to launch this project in your ample free time?

As a producer I’ve worked with directors, brands and ad agencies to put together creative teams for production—cinematographers, art directors, casting—and sometimes I get the opportunity to bring in artists from other mediums. This is the part of my job I love the most. Filmmaking cannot exist without collaboration, it’s essential to this industry, and now more relevant than ever across many, if not most industries as things shift digitally.

The idea came as I took a step back and looked at the vast network of artists and creators I had developed over the years. I thought—”There are so many brilliant people here, why don’t I share this with other people looking for collaborators, creators and artists?” The impact of exposing talent to other people and projects could be great—and there’s nothing I want more than to see these artists continuing to work, grow and create. Particularly the less established, emerging artists—incredible artists that I’ve taken a chance on and I think others should too. I want to give them recognition through 1985.

So my thought was to create a platform where I could introduce the artists in my network to the creative community—a free resource for people to find collaborators, get to know them through the content and reach out to them directly. What then really put the project in motion was the idea of utilizing not only my network but also the networks of other people—growing the reach exponentially.

With 1985 we’re able to support artists without getting caught up in the business of representation or institutionalization, which can be counter-productive for art. 1985 allows us to focus on all kinds of work, artists and the stories that surround them both. I hope in the future we’ll be able to play a role in the development of art and production based on collaborations within our network of artists—maybe a sort of platform that can evolve to connect niche brands looking for non-traditional creative. I think the future is about making a sustainable infrastructure for collective autonomy.

How did you curate both the contributors and the content?

In the case of 1985, the curation really does have to do with the selection of contributors. That’s the beauty and the challenge of it. Contributors must not only be able to tell a story in a written or visual format, they must also have a network of emerging artists to draw from. We try to have a balance of artists from a variety of mediums in each issue—designers, painters, musicians, filmmakers, etc. Other than that, curating artists and work comes down to who is relevant, current and undiscovered. We focus on the emerging artist—those who are under the mainstream radar. There is also a level of talent and taste we maintain with our selections—we have an abundance of artists yet we only feature 6 artists per issue, and so we select the best of the best.

What inspires you/Where do you find your inspiration?

New York City. Brooklyn. My neighborhood in Brooklyn, Bushwick, inspires me daily. There’s so much freedom to create here—it’s really having it’s moment á la Lower Manhattan in the ’70s, ’80s. Bushwick is in the middle of a free art and self-organization movement. Like everything in this city, it’s fleeting, so I appreciate it everyday and want to share it with the world. I’ve never seen artists work as hard as these people do—literally 24/7. It’s all self-motivated, there’s no corporation holding anyone accountable, it’s all free will. Painters, sculptors, engineers, street artists, metal-workers—being around talent with such an entrepreneurial spirit inspires me to keep pushing 1985 as a digital collective.

1985 is as much of a current resource as it is a documentation of time—documenting artists who are in their infancy in the course of their career. Aspen Magazine inspires me along those same lines. It was a publication that released a limited amount of issues between 1965-1970 and was essentially a magazine in a box. Each issue contained pieces of physical media—recordings, posters, post-cards, literature. Aspen was ahead of its time in terms of format and interactivity, and now it serves as a time capsule of the counter-culture, influencers and artists of the time. Each piece within the issue had it’s own individuality. The format gave them the freedom to curate several different voices—with less editing, art directing and shaping than we see in traditional publications. Aspen Magazine inspires me to take a different approach to new media and to give contributors and artists the freedom to portray their work and voice in the most authentic and organic way possible.

How often do you publish?

We publish a new issue every month. Once we have a few issues under our belt, you’ll be able to use the search filter to search or browse fields and artist type. You can find who and what you’re looking for, get to know them and contact them directly.

How do we sign up to stay current/make sure we get the latest?

We endeavored to cover all the main bases—Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Vimeo,  Pinterest…so really whatever platform(s) you prefer to collect and organize your news, I suppose…Or just subscribe and we’ll let you know every time a new issue releases!

Do you have any plans to print 1985 in the not-so-distant-future?

No plans currently in place to print 1985. In the next year or two, I would like to do a special annual edition but in a mix of experimental digital formats. Something that really pushes technology—a symphony of coding and storytelling. I have a love of paper, so I would also love to do an annual print edition of 1985—not out of necessity but more as a throwback to paper magazines. A paper magazine is a piece of art in itself, so to print 1985 would be a real treat. The visuals and depth of our articles would translate nicely into paper. These are all just dreams at the moment!

Any challenges/proud moments/solid stories you want to add/share?

Hmm…I don’t have anything too crazy! Everyone I’ve worked with to create this—contributors, artists, photographers, they have all been really great and supportive of the project. Very thankful to everyone who helped get this off the ground—web developer Aaron Rutledge of Little Arrows put in tons of work making the site come to life. Aaron recently built the travel site Valet.com founded by Cool Hunting—we were lucky to be in good hands. Aaron is a genius. Our designer, Mattias Nilsson, based in Sweden, designed the site while working around his day job running his record label Kning Disk.

And then our contributors, who are the lifeblood of the project…it’s been amazing to see the great work they come up with. Each contributor has a very different background, and they are all dear friends of mine so it’s been a great experience having this trust with them and giving them the freedom to shape these stories and then seeing what they come back with—it’s always thoroughly entertaining and a real joy for me. 1985 contributors range from producers, entrepreneurs, creatives, professional writers, and I would say they are all “left of center” so to speak.

Periel Aschenbrand is a bad-ass who I just adore, she’s a writer and her second book released just the other day actually—On My Knees. I’m about half way through reading it and it’s beautifully offensive—she gives Lena Dunham a run for her money! The press is calling her the “Lady Gaga of literature.”

Contributor Chris Faraone has just released his third book. He’s an ex hip-hop writer who is now a voice for the “99%” with the global Occupy movement—his first book 99 Nights with the 99 Percent covered the movement from the trenches. Chris, a native New Yorker, lives in Boston  just a few blocks away from the Boston Bombings this year. He penned a book with his reportage and perspective on the violence and tragedy. He released the e-book Heartbreak Hell less than a month after the bombings. That amazes me.

Writer/producer Jonathan Mayor has written numerous TV and feature scripts and is currently publishing a graphic novel, Lorie Loire is reppin’ for Berlin where she paints and pens scripts, Kelly Mellott is a publishing veteran who cut her teeth as a writer and editor with the culture and music magazine, Venus, Lily Mueller-Marcus (issue #2) is a landscape designer, writer and founder of the music discovery website Showshow.fm…—it’s a group of very diverse yet like-minded people from all over the place—Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Berlin…! The funny thing is that no one has met each other…I guess I’m the common thread. I would love to get them all in a room some day. It would be fantastic to see!

Thanks so  much for your time Kaitlyn—we’ll be sure to keep eyes peeled for upcoming issues on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Vimeo and Pinterest!

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