One year ago, editor and photographer Heather Taylor conceived of Hiss Mag, a quarterly “femme run publication covering contemporary art, music, and culture.” Its first issue, “Juicy,” which included 39 artists working in multiple mediums, was featured by the Wexner Art Center, and since its inception, Hiss Mag has expanded its geography beyond Columbus to reach the rest of the country by coordinating print availability in bookstores across state lines. Now, Hiss Mag is gearing up to release issue two on March 3rd.
The words Taylor uses to describe the project seem as intentional as the art picked to spread its pages; in one post, Taylor dedicates the publication to “the visionaries that feel marginalized and silenced that are choosing a unique, inventive path for their lives,” in another, the editor writes that Hiss is to be “tangible” at the end of the month. Tangibility and uplift seem imperative to the project, which seeks to “create a platform where people can discover and listen to new voices and visions from the artists we feature.” Pointing out that women, gender non-conforming, trans, and LGBTQIA artists often get left out of mainstream publications, Hiss Mag‘s commitment to the weight and prestige of a printed publication echoes a larger question in the art world: who gets to take up space and why?
On the pages of Hiss Mag, at least, it is artists systematically blocked from other institutional support who are invited to sprawl. And Hiss Mag‘s community support clearly extends beyond paper – the magazine’s Facebook and Instagram are both littered with examples and promotions of featured artists’ work. It’s relieving, frankly, to watch a magazine cheerlead its own contributors, and energizing to see the amount of collaboration that can be built in just one year. The glossy finish of the print, the crowd-funded publication, and the enthusiastic praise of artists from Hiss all point to the possibility of support, rather than exploitation, in contribution.
Lissa Bella Donna, featured in Hiss Mag issue 1
This Saturday, Hiss Mag will celebrate its latest launch at 7pm in the 934 Gallery in Columbus. Food and drinks will be provided by Four String Brewery. There will also be copies of issue two available, which promises features of 49 artists – an almost shocking number of collaborators for an independently run magazine. In addition, the party is promoting the launch of a companion zine to Hiss, “Dont Spit,” a “photo collective created by women to highlight and encourage female photographers.”