For Women’s History Month, I partnered with an amazing woman to share her bi-annual queer feminist art magazine, DRØME.
DRØME (or literally “dream” from the Danish word drømme) is the brainchild of three women who live across the world: Ellen Taylor in Providence, Rebecca Blandón in New York, and Caroline D’Arcy Gorman in Berlin.
The magazine showcases active “doers,” in an effort to encourage empathy and kindness instead of judgment. Its birth is particularly relevant in the midst of today’s fight against conservative ideas of order that are currently demonstrated through discrimination “against the very people and things we find most inspiring.” It features artists of different perspectives, many of which tend to be left out of the art and media world, with interviews, images, and stories.
In exchange for a review, DRØME sent me a free copy of the very first issue, the “power” issue. And I have to say… it is a beautiful magazine.
One of my first thoughts when I picked up the magazine was that the quality of the paper is really nice and wow, this is a thick magazine! I flipped through it quickly to get a sense of what it was like, and there are so many gorgeous images inside, among several interviews with inspiring women.
I wondered why these young women had decided to start a magazine of all things, when the general consensus is that paper media is slowly dying out.
The note from the editors explains it clearly:
A magazine seemed the perfect format to expressing our vision. It is no secret that magazines, books, and news papers are not what they used to be, given the accessibility of online publications. In our eyes, however, magazines are not dying. They are taking on a new meaning, as rare and special objects, crafted with great care – each one a unique and satisfying aesthetic experience.
It sure is, considering my initial reaction to the first issue!
After I read the editors’ note, I peeked at one of the interviews, and then I left it for a while after that before sitting down to really get into it. I felt intimidated like I had with Bitch magazine: the writing style is more elevated than I’ve been used to reading lately.
When I finally decided to read it last week, I felt like I was holding a piece of art in my hands.
I was nothing short of impressed. DRØME is quite a different magazine: it’s creative, stimulating, and doesn’t shove anything in your face. It’s beautiful.
The interviews in the magazine are professional and the questions asked are insightful, leading to some thought-provoking reading. The first interview in this issue is with Chaos Chaos, a band of two sisters. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the ladies through reading it. I liked that the focus of the interview is their art as well as their experiences as women in the public eye: it’s no something I’m used to reading! Most of the time when interviewers ask about the experience of being a female artist, it’s limited to a couple questions, but with DRØME’s interviews, that is the main focus.
My favourite thing about DRØME is the images.
When I was young, I never understood magazines that have images all over the place instead of text. What information could you get from that? Was I just supposed to stare at it?
In DRØME, I found myself wanting to stare at the images. I wanted to understand them. Each photo is doing something different and makes me think about society and how we understand the world. I especially love the front cover:
The power dynamics in that image are so interesting, especially since Carly Mark is looking directly at the camera. It doesn’t give off a voyeur feel like many ads do. Instead, it makes me wonder what Carly is thinking in that moment, and who the other person in the image is. What is the meaning of it?
And the fashion in this magazine! I’ve never been a super fashionista at any point in my life, but I love how much power the people in the images have because of their outfits. They express themselves so deliberately and proudly, and I know that for many queer people that’s so important. It made me really happy to see these images.
And that’s more thinking than I normally do when I look at pictures!
There are Canadians in the magazine, too.
I was really excited to see a Canadian featured in the magazine — a queer, brown Canadian, like myself! I was surprised in reading to discover Vivek Shraya is trans, and that immediately made me question myself and reflect on my internalized transphobia. I had never heard of her before, so why was I surprised? Why did I feel weird about it? I reminded myself to think more inclusively as I read the interview.
And I LOVE that this magazine challenged me as I read by not presenting her by saying, check out this “queer brown trans artist who is hugely successful!” and instead just, “this woman is incredible.” It points out that her sexuality and gender are not the only notable things about her. While I don’t think it’s a bad thing to take pride in and showcase those things, especially to celebrate success, I think leaving that information out helps people like me, who didn’t even realize the assumptions I made, to learn. It also helps people remember that people who aren’t like them are actually just like them.
Is that weird? #deep
There are also pieces in DRØME that have no text, just a label or a title and a selection of images to peruse and analyze as you will. I took my time looking at them, not always sure what they meant but always enjoying them. I can’t get over how beautiful the magazine is!
Just in general, reading DRØME felt like a unique experience, unlike what I’ve found with any other magazine.
It sounds so cheesy, but I’m totally serious! I felt like I was reconnecting with the artist in me, reading about all these musicians and artists who live their art and love to challenge limiting norms. Maybe that’s just because I’ve been neglecting my artsy side aside from writing, but I’m not sure — I really love this magazine!
It also meant a lot to me see a magazine that deliberately features queer people. I’m pretty used to being underrepresented as a queer woman of colour, but that just makes it even more special to see myself being represented. In the interviews, DRØME isn’t afraid to discuss sexuality, and the people being interviewed aren’t afraid to talk about it either — there’s no shame around the topic, and I LOVE that! It doesn’t feel like they’re there to fill a necessary diversity quota: it is purposeful, and that matters.
I am so excited to see what else DRØME comes out with.
If you’d like to purchase DRØME, visit their website here. They are a bi-annual publication, so there are only two issues a year. I know I’ll be purchasing the second issue in the summer!
Do you have a favourite magazine? Have you read DRØME? Please share your thoughts in a comment below!
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