This week’s interview is with Azita Rasoli of They Magazine, a zine based out of Los Angeles that uses design and original pieces to create a dialogue between art and literature. Azita discusses They’s past issues, must-read zines, and more.
Twenty Two: Let’s start with the basics. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Azita: I’m an LA native, a graphic designer, photographer, and ex-student of advertising at Art Center College of Design.
Twenty Two: What’s They Magazine about? Why did you start it? How did the idea for creating it come about?
Azita: They Magazine started in 2010 as a side project for me and my boyfriend Marshall Rake who was living in NY at the time. We started the zine as a way to keep us more connected despite the distance and thought it would just be something fun for us to do. As it progressed we started getting a little more serious about our content and began involving other people to contribute short stories.
Twenty Two: Who’s your ideal reader?
Azita: Anyone who likes storytelling and who are naturally curious.
Twenty Two: Where do you get inspiration from?
Azita: I know it sounds lame but we get inspiration from everyday life and our interactions with people or things.
Twenty Two: Can you describe the process that you go through when you’re creating a new issue?
Azita: We always start out with a theme to (loosely) base the issue off of. The first issue was really abstract, had very little written content, but was based off of the theme “Repurposing.” The second issue‘s theme was Observations, and the third was Transparency. Once we have a theme we assemble a team of writers we want to feature and let them work their magic. We don’t have any restrictions for them other than to work off of the theme. It doesn’t have to be literal and can be only a sentence if they want (we kind of love one liners). As long as they are having fun and doing whatever they want, we’re happy.
We usually plan a photo shoot for the issue and then select any other snapshots we have that might fit aesthetically. When it’s all put together we always throw a party/ art show for all of our followers! For our second issue we had a showcase of 50 artists who contributed imagery for these over-sized posters hung up at the venue. I think it’s so awesome that we’ve been able to make an amazing network of creative people (writers, illustrators, photographers, and designers) just by starting They!
Twenty Two: If you could do a feature on anything, what would it be?
Azita: I’d like to involve fashion more into the zine somehow. We had our friend Hannah Metz loan us some clothes from her vintage shop The Loved One for our shoot in the last issue and it was so much fun! The great thing about having your own magazine is that you can do anything you want because you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself. Everything we’ve done is because we wanted to, and everything we’re doing for this next and future issues will be what we want. You don’t find that opportunity very often in the real world and that’s what I love so much about having this to work on.
Twenty Two: What are your favorite magazines in a similar space? Any must-reads we should get our hands on?
Twenty Two: What can readers expect from the fourth issue? Any sneak peeks?
Azita: We’re still in the primitive stages of planning, but our readers can expect a lot of lies…
Twenty Two: When you’re not photographing for They, what are you doing? Do you have other projects in the works?
Azita: Usually freelancing or working at Beso, which is essentially a comparison shopping website but with featured editorial content. When I’m not working I’m usually at home playing with my crazy dog, trying out some new recipes to cook up, or daydreaming about taking long road trips. I don’t have any really notable projects coming up but I’m always looking to collaborate and do something fun!
A special thanks to Azita for giving us the opportunity to learn more about They Magazine. You can keep up with They by checking out their website, Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter. You can purchase the latest issue here.
Click on the images below to see more from They Magazine.
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