Thursday, March 6, 2014

interview with Jessica Lowe from CAT PEOPLE

Cat People comes from Australia and it's probably the most special magazine about cats and art that you've ever seen. It's very popular and the first issue is now completely sold out. It will be featured in the exhibition at the Facing Pages event at the end of the month in Arnhem.
We have a pop-up store there and we might be able to still sell just a few copies there, so please drop by!

In the meantime, here are some questions we asked editor Jessica Lowe:

Why did you start a magazine?

I started Cat People with my co-Editor, Gavin Green, because we had been thinking of a project to work on together, so we decided to make our dream publication - a magazine that combines cats, artists, photography and design.

Why do you publish a printed magazine instead of an online magazine? And why is the magazine published bilingual?

Cat People was always imagined as a print project, inspired by our love of Japanese magazines and the way they are able to produce niche print titles at a very high standard. Gavin is a photographer and I am a graphic designer, so working with print is something we love. Also, the act of committing to print establishes another layer of rigour in the editorial process, which for us meant commissioning original content and collaborations with some of our favourite artists and designers.

Publishing Cat People in a bilingual format (English & Japanese) was a way of paying homage to all the wonderful books and magazines from Japan that have inspired us, and it allows our Japanese readers to experience the magazine as much as Western readers. We would have been disappointed if it was only a picture-book in Japan.

One dollar of each issue sold will go to charity, can you tell something more about that?

We are working with the Japanese charity Animal Refuge Kansai (ARK) to assist their efforts to rescue and re-home animals displaced by abandonment and recent natural disasters in Japan. Although it is a small amount, we felt it was our duty to contribute towards such a worthy cause, and raise awareness about these issues.

Do you also love cats or are you fascinated by people obsessed with cats?

Of course we also love cats. We have two Siamese cats that are our crazy partners in the magazine. They contribute by sleeping on our keyboards, asking for food, and chewing on our books. We thought it was strange how many artists we admired were also cat-lovers, and that’s how the magazine began!

There are not so many good magazines about cats, we have one great one in The Netherlands called "De Poezenkrant" made by Dutch graphic designer Piet Schreuders. It's really funny but it's in Dutch, have you ever heard about it? what are your favourite cat magazines?

I haven’t heard of “De Poezenkrant” but I just looked it up on Google and it seems very funny! Also, because it is Dutch the graphic design is wonderful. I would have to say it is a new favourite cat magazine of mine. Most magazines about cats are what I call ‘pet’ magazines - with tips about caring for your cat, what to feed it, and so on. They are usually very dry and not artistic or conceptual at all, so I don’t generally keep up with the world of cat magazines.

 What are your favourite magazines?

Pop, Union, Lula, A Magazine, Bad Day, Mono.Kultur and mid-nineties issues of The Face.

Will the next issue also be limited to 1000 copies or are you going bigger?

Given the overwhelming response to our first issue, we would love to print a greater run for Issue Two - perhaps two or three thousand. We have almost sold out of Issue One, and we are growing our readership daily, so we hope to ensure no-one misses out in the future!

We at the Newscentre call this one The Newscentre Cat. It's owner is the chef of the Spanish tapas bar around the corner who picks up a copy of El Pais everyday. When the weather gets better in early spring the cat always sits and lies around on the magazines we pile up in front of the store. When the Spanish chef picks up his newspaper, she has to go back to the restaurant.