To those who question the uncertainty of publishing in the future hands of young writers and editors, one need look no further than a small publication in Ogden that's starting to make waves. --- Blown Magazine is a independently created magazine made up of younger writers and former high school friends, reporting on local arts and entertainment that they find interesting and believe deserve more exposure than they're being given.
Since their launch last year, they've released a handful of issues and online content, and are currently working to release the magazine both in a physical and digital format. Today we chat with founding member and Editor in Chief, Jack Williams, about the start of the magazine and where they're headed as a publication. (All photos courtesy of Blown.)
Gavin: Hey Jack, first thing, tell us a little bit about yourself and the staff.
Jack: We are just a few young people who met each other at school. We all sort of gravitated towards omen another because of similar interests. We became a really tight knit group of people. We all met at Weber High School, and became friends quickly. All of us have been involved with creative projects throughout our life, but this was the most ambitious and largest.
Gavin: How did you take an interest in local arts and entertainment?
Jack: All of us sort of immersed ourselves in it to counter the mundane normalcy of high school. Being a part of the artistic counterculture became and Identity for us.
Gavin: Prior to Blown, had you written for a publication or website, or had any experience doing this?
Jack: None of us had any prior experience with journalism,but I have been writing since elementary and all of my friends have been working on their various interests (photography, graphic design, painting, etc.) for years.
Gavin: How did the idea for Blown come about and where did the name come from?
Jack: The idea originated from a plan to design a book of all of our creations, and distribute copies just throughout our friends. Then we decided we wanted to expose as many people as possible to our creativity, so we decided to start a magazine, and show other people. We wanted to spread our love of art. The name comes from something one of our friends said while on a rant about the world. “Society is Blown.” The phase mad everyone laugh at the time, but the name stuck.
Gavin: Part of the “about us” description on the website talks about society oppressing creativity. At the time of starting it, what were your thoughts on local art, music and film coming out of the scene?
Jack: I’ve always felt that there is a constant struggle in the modern world between creativity and conformity. I feel that there is an established status quo that being average or normal is okay, and we all wanted to oppose this. Ogden is a fantastic place filled with creative people and its art scene has been extremely influential for me. The community embraces local culture and local business in an amazing way. Also, I am a member of a generation that has access to so much online, just at our finger tips, and much of that is art. The underground scene has grown to become more mainstream and accessible, and its great. But there is still a general conformist mentality, and Blown is our way of combating it.
Gavin: All of you on the staff has met each other in high school. What was it like putting together the small staff and working together on this single project?
Jack: It really has been a fantastic experience. It has taken all of our talents and interests and combined them in order to achieve one goal. Blown has created a blank canvas for us to express ourselves on, and I feel it has made us all closer friends in the process.
Gavin: What was the process like in planning out the first issue and getting everything together.
Jack: When we made the first issue, we were clueless to how to produce and publish it. We used the resources we had at hand, and we were very proud of the final product. The initial reaction was amazing, and people were impressed by our initiative. Looking back, I am still proud, but we have learned a lot, gained many new resources to use, and developed our skills more. We aren’t entirely clueless now.
Gavin: The first issue came out back in mid-2013, what was the initial reaction like from readers?
Jack: Our audience was extremely small initially, but it seemed that everyone who read the first issue was interested in what we were trying to do, and our organization gained new staff that were passionate about creativity. Its amazing how many people want to help us reach our full potential. Of course, there were those who had no faith in Blown, but we overlooked them. We were determined to express ourselves.
Gavin: What's the process like in creating a new issue for you and the staff?
Jack: Its a hectic process of communication between the staff to gather all the pieces we want to feature. For me it is always a strange mix of stressful insomnia and anxious ambition. I have learned a lot from it. We try not to let it become to stressful and prevent creative freedom (which means being very lenient with deadlines).
Gavin: In issue #4 you said you'd start working more closely with Only In Ogden. How did that partnership start up and what has it been like working with them?
Jack: I had contacted Only in Ogden to ask for help publicizing Blown. I wasn't really expecting a response, let alone an offer to meet with the owner, Bryan. When we met, he offered us a chance to get our own website sponsored by Only In Ogden. It has been a great experience working with Only in Ogden, and we would not have made it this far if Bryan had not seen something in us and helped us as much as he has. It has been an amazing experience.
Gavin: Since then the content has gone entirely to the website without a formal issue being produced. Is that the direction you will continue to go in, or will you revive the magazine section again down the line?
Jack: We are working to resurrect the magazine format, in a physical issue and in a digital format. It is a medium that I feel best represents Blown.
Gavin: For those interested in contributing or working with Blown, what can they do to get involved?
Jack: Blown is always looking for new talent and content to feature. If you are interested, contact us at BlownMagazine1@gmail.com or on our Facebook page.
Gavin: What can we expect from all of you and Blown over the rest of the year?
Jack: We will be striving to make Blown bigger and better. We would like to start hosting events and become more deeply rooted within our community. Blown will continue to be an original expression and exploration of creativity.
Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?
Jack: There are many people who have helped with this process that I would like to thank, especially Bryan Smith from Only In Ogden. His mission to promote Ogden and make it a better place is a great cause. I would also like to thank Ron Atencio at Mojos in Ogden. He has helped promote us, and he has given a home to the music scene in Ogden. Also we are always looking to promote art and creative projects.
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