Online literary magazines, POC zines, and alternative publications have been sweeping the arts community with a fiery passion towards breaking news and think pieces that result as a response to political unrest.
Hooligan Magazine, based in Chicago and Milwaukee, features interviews, reviews, and personal essays from all over the world, and it allows creators to experiment and explore various avenues in a safe and supportive space. With a total of 13 issue and a second year under its belt, Hooligan has featured artists like, Lora Mathis and Girlpool as well as topics such as “Destigmatizing Pregnancy Loss Through Art” and “Affirming Black Beauty Through Safe Spaces.”
How did the idea for Hooligan Magazine form? Was the concept of a community always important to you both?
Becky Yecker: Morgan had brought the idea of creating an arts magazine that celebrated the work and minds of people we knew and people in our community, and I immediately jumped on it, knowing that this was something that I was passionate about. Morgan and I always knew that creating a community was something that we were meant to do, something that required love and dedication. We always wanted to invite anyone with passion to share their ideas and thoughts with us, and we wanted people to view Hooligan as a collaborative experience — that we’re all apart of something that could (hopefully) be bigger than ourselves.
Hooligan is described as an arts magazine. Much of the writing is incredibly powerful and discusses socio-political issues such as race, class, and current events. What do you hope readers gain when reading the work in your issues and on your blog? What do you hope the writers gain?
BY: Originally Hooligan did start out as an arts magazine, but just like art, we are political. It’s hard to celebrate art without celebrating its core, and Hooligan’s mission is to give marginalized voices a chance to inspire, just like it is our duty to expose injustice within media and to question the general norm.
Hooligan differs from other magazines because we do not simply let the media guide us, but rather, we take what the media gives us and encourage writers to “Hooliganize” it by critically analyzing what it may mean to us, our readers, and society as a whole.
We want readers to begin looking at media and art differently; we want people to work on their media literacy with the help of Hooligan. It is our goal to show readers something they wouldn’t see in any normal publication. We want them to think about what they’re viewing but our ultimate goal is to inspire them.
What are some of the challenges that come with curating a magazine?
BY: We usually have ideas of what we want to do with each issue, but sometimes we don’t get the artists we planned on having, or artists may be difficult to communicate with. This industry, regardless how small the publication, is based on the ability to make quick decisions and change whenever need be. We usually try to include a musician of some sort, a literary figure, a small business, and some other kind of artist, but since it is Hooligan, we seek for not only talented people, but talented people that are also typically silenced by popular media.
I think the biggest challenge is making sure that everything fits Hooligan ideology, that we are keeping our message consistent, and reminding people what we stand for and believe in.
Can you talk about the process of creating an issue? What goes into design, editing, and production?
Morgan Martinez: Creating a new issue of Hooligan every month is always different. Yes, there’s a routine we try and stick by, but every issue has such a unique process in which we really continue to grow. That’s what so special about watching it flourish—there’s constant change. And with that change, we grow as artists. There’s always something more with Hooligan. By creating one concept and building off of it, we are constantly testing ourselves.
We have four main editors: Myself, Becky Yeker (Managing Editor), Meg Zulch (Content Editor), and Kenneth Miller (Editorial Assistant). Without the tireless work of each editor, it wouldn’t be heading in the direction that it is today. Together we develop a theme, scout out potential artists and businesses, create a pitch list, set deadlines, and generate content. As long as we’re navigating through the process together, we always create an issue we’re proud of.
Hooligan serves as a safe space for others to share their thoughts, struggles, and accomplishments. How do you think this goal has transformed over the time that the magazine has been up and running?
MM: Each idea always starts small. I knew so many talented, out of this world individuals who just could not catch a break with their work. To create a space that says, “Yes, we love your work, and we want you to know that it’s being presented to a group of people that believe in it just like we do but it’s also safe with us,” is not something you come across often. We wanted to create a space that had no strings attached.
Each artist who gets featured has a strong voice in what goes into their feature. There are no boundaries to it. Hooligan belongs to our readers and our artists just as much as it belongs to us. We’d like to eventually create a space that’s tangible, but that’s farther down the line.
Hooligan just turned two! Can you tell me a little bit about the event and what you hope 2016 will bring?
MM: The event takes over the time-span of six hours and includes tons of artist and small business booths as well as performances across the spectrum of poetry, comedy, and live music. This yearly collective is so special because it really gives artists the chance to network with other artists who are usually at the same point in their lives. It also allows you to come together for a beautiful celebration of art in multiple forms, with performances by individuals who will blow your mind away, almost entirely. It’s an experience that you really don’t want to miss each year and a chance to see Hooligan in more than just a virtual world.
Overall, I am really hoping that 2016 brings us the chance to take Hooligan to a level that allows us to be more interactive with our readers. I can’t wait to see how we grow.