Magazines - several covers of Uppercase magazine

Why I Still Love Magazines, Part 2: Uppercase

Inspiration isn’t always easy to come by, and of course, you certainly can’t wait around for it if you want to stay productive. Sometimes, though, inspiration comes in a hand-held shot of artistic B-12, straight into your brainpan. When I find easy access to such sources, I like to make sure they end up in my hands whenever there’s a new offering.

Uppercase is one of the best of these sources. If you pay them some money, they’ll mail you a thick, ad-free chunk of fascinating creatives and some of the most alluring eye candy out there. It’s a color bomb of brain fodder, all ready for you to slurp up and use to make your own art—whatever your art may be.

Magazines - snaps of Uppercase

When it comes to art, design, craft and all things DIY, I like variety. Teach me why I should care about furniture making or antique fountain pen nibs. Let me see why a young woman loves to make bespoke eyeglass frames. List the tenets of good textile design. Show me what a collage artist calls “digital bollocks” and “wonga wedge lolly posh”. Give me a collection of snappy old letterhead to admire. And yes, of course I want to read about a cool old dude who makes hats. I’m not likely to learn how to create any of these things, but seeing others make, collect and appreciate makes me want to find beauty and potential in the things around me, and to savor the process of making my own art.

Pondering how they curate this quarterly publication is its own pastime. How do they discover the variety of artists and other makers they feature? What decisions do they make about presentation, interviews and photographs? What about the actual material that the publication is made of? It’s like a set of Russian nesting dolls—you can see the echoes of several artists’ design decisions as you flip through the pages.

Uppercase magazine - snaps from back issues

Looking at other people’s processes, habits and surroundings is just as inspiring as looking at what they’ve created. What did they see in that old tin box, or that dusty old radio, that led them to the finished fabric design, or to the shelf full of curious old machines that adorns a corner of their workspace? How did a collage made of old advertisements lead to a modern take on a folding chair, or an antique spool to a t-shirt company? The work of discovering what someone else saw in a discarded object or a blank wall gets your mind ready to look for your own inspiration in unexpected places.

Like any modern publication, Uppercase has a blog, and it’s packed with delights of its own. I like to check in and get a glimpse behind the scenes, and to imagine that someday I might someday submit a t-shirt design, a recipe, a video of the dog collar making process, or…who knows? Just thinking over the possibilities is motivation enough to get me to make, do and write.

I leave you with a video I found at the Uppercase blog. As someone who adores music driven by simple, pronounced percussion, and who used to date a sign painter and a furniture maker and a fellow who once made a living antiquing furniture (and—why not?—a drummer, too), this video spoke to me. Now go find what speaks to you.

Featured image via State Of Unique

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3 Responses to “Why I Still Love Magazines, Part 2: Uppercase”

  1. Tsoniki Crazy Bull April 18, 2014 at 6:01 am #

    That video is wicked cool! I love it. I bought a few back issues of UPPERCASE and also subscribed thanks to you. I love seeing the process too, seeing what makes people pick what they picked to do or create. I love that part of things.

    • kim place-gateau April 18, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

      I’m glad to have turned you on to something as cool as Uppercase. Enjoy!

  2. kim place-gateau April 18, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    You know it! I hope you enjoyed the post.