Thursday, October 15, 2009

MISC Magazine Cramps Retrospective

SamuelChristopher launch MISC magazine
by Christine Clarke on May 15th, 2009
FROM boardsmag dot com

They’re directors by day, online publishers by night. Hungry Man directing duo SamuelChristopher have launched a new online design quarterly, MISC magazine.

It’s debut issue hit the web in April and, true to its name, it’s a miscellaneous showcase of non-commercial projects from artists, photographers, designers, filmmakers, writers, musicians and illustrators.

Flipping through the mag is as much a mental exercise as it is a visual trip as the temptation arises to try and make connections between the content. In the April issue, for example, a series of illustrated pieces by diverse artists sits comfortably next to photographic fashion spreads and a visual retrospective of the album art of pioneering American psychobilly/garage punk band The Cramps. But to try to make such connections is missing the point of MISC’s organized chaos.

A visual retrospective of the album art of psychobilly/garage punk band The Cramps.

“It’s called miscellaneous and its supposed to be just that,” says one half of the duo, Chris Turner. “But it doesn’t want to be completely random either otherwise it’d be a mess. It needs to have some sort of underlying order so we’ll always have an idea of an underlying theme. In the first issue we have the word black, but we’ll never put on the cover that this is the ‘Black issue.’”

“It more works as a catalyst for us, giving us parameters from which to make editorial decisions” continues Sam Tootal. “It’s quite a loose construct.”

SamuelChristopher come from a design background. They met while working at Spin, a graphic design company in South London. The duo were essentially the company’s TV department, working on a number of network branding packages for clients such as MTV and Channel 5. When opportunities to shoot live-action arose, they’d shoot the work through Hungry Man UK and in 2006 officially signed with the prodco. They’ve since completed spots for BMW, Kia, Sony HD and, most recently, the darkly hypnotic promo “The Mentalist” for Channel 5 and Warner Bros’ show of the same name.

MISC initially came from SamuelChristopher and Hungry Man’s desire to show agencies the breadth of their skills in not only live-action directing but design, photography and art direction, duties which they also handle on most of their projects. The duo decided, however, to veer away from creating a publication that they’d exclusively distribute with their reel to a more broadly distributed mag that would showcase their work and the work of artists that the duo are passionate about.

“We needed more of a reason than just that to motivate us to do it,” explains Sam. “It’s all well and good to have a selling tool at your disposal but we didn’t want it to be forced. It had to be for a less commercial and more wholesome reason.”

In the end, that more wholesome reason equated to a labor of love.

“We’ve become revitalized by having this magazine to work with because it’s a reason to go out and do the stuff we love doing - all the photography and art direction projects that would otherwise not happen or stay in a sketch book somewhere,” sums up Chris. “It’s motivated us to do the work we’ve talked about for a long time.”

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