On the occasion of the independent art publishing market to be held in Bologna from 2 to 4 February 2018, named Fruit Exhibition, ATPdiary has interviewed some of the participating publishers. On that occasion you will find artist’s books, catalogs, graphic design projects, magazines and zines.
Everything will take place in the spaces of the historic Palazzo Re Enzo, where there will be a hundred independent Italian and foreign publishers, as well as a program of conferences, workshops, exhibitions and installations.
Ruja Press, Fartlek, Jose Ja Ja Ja, 2016

Ruja Press, Fartlek, Jose Ja Ja Ja, 2016

Ruja Press

ATP: How would you describe the editorial cut of your publication?

Ruja Press: Ruja Press an independent art editorial founded in 2014 in London, by two founders Ruohong Wu(architect) and Jose Ja Ja Ja(artist). It is started just by personal interests of showing art from our personal perception with 1 or 2 small zines per year, and now it grows and our publications start to be popular both inside and outside of Europe. 

ATP: Which topics are you discussing and how do you choose them?

Ruja Press: We mainly focus on contemporary drawing and comics. The reason we choose these topics is because Jose is an artist working on comics and Ruohong often experiments with line drawings. From this year we also start to working on theories and we wish to bring some text together with visual languages.

ATP: What is, in your opinion, the strength of independent publishing compared to that of large distribution?

Ruja Press: Independent publishing requires less time for publishing process and lower budget, also published in limited amount of numbers so we can experiment more in the format. We also believe the next movement in art is that artists start to publish their own work, although it is not a new thing but with the last years’ gloomy situation in art market independent publishing provides artists an alternative path to show their work to the public.

ATP: In recent years we have seen the proliferation of fairs and ‘meetings’ dedicated to independent publishing. How do you motivate this interest? Does the increase of the manifestation also correspond to an increase on the commercial level?

Ruja Press: As previous answer, the great motivation of independent publishing and fairs is the desire of artists showing their work to others. Also going to fairs by person makes young artists and graduates opportunity to meet gallery owners, media groups and other authorities that they can hardly meet before become established artists. Through this activity it will surely help them to establish their career. 

ATP: What are the main difficulties in being an independent publisher?

Ruja Press: Publishing is still our part-time interests so we may not face the same amount of difficulties as others doing it as full-time profession. For us the difficulty might be organising our time schedule so we can still focus on our own profession at the same time keep on producing very high quality of publications. But we do believe making publications give us fantastic inspiration of everything else we do, and help us to create an international society of in-depth art and culture.

Assembling Box Nr 38 - 25 artists, Redfoxpress

Assembling Box Nr 38 – 25 artists, Redfoxpress

Rorhof

ATP: Come descrivereste il taglio editoriale della vostra pubblicazione?

Rorhof: Rorhof nasce come una casa editrice indipendente dall’artista e fotografo Nicoó Degiorgis. Le pubblicazioni finora fatte possono essere sia libri d’artista di Degiorgis come anche libri curati nella forma, contenuti e nell’aspetto da lui. Ogni pubblicazioni di Rorhof ha un formato ben definito (16×24) come anche il prezzo (35€). La volontà di adattare la forma ai contenuti é una costante a RR. I nostri prodotti possono essere sia libri classici, fanzines, giornali o anche block notes passando per cartoline o leporello.

ATP: Quali temi trattate e come li scegliete?

Rorhof: I temi possono variare dal classico reportage documentaristico a lavori concettualmente più astratti. Tendenzialmente tutti i temi hanno una forte relazioni con la tematica dell’identità e dello spazio. Ogni prodotto é a sua volta una ri-mappatura dei contenuti trattati. 

ATP: Quale è, a vostro parere, la forza dell’editoria indipendente rispetto a quella di larga distribuzione?

Rorhof: La forza di essere una realtà indipendente ci permette di spaziare molto sui contenuti e sulla forma dei prodotti editoriali che produciamo. Abbiamo una forte impronta stilistica ben marcata e delineata e questo ci permette di essere riconoscibili in svariati contesti.  

ATP: Negli ultimi anni si è visto il proliferare di fiere e ‘raduni’ dedicati all’editoria indipendente. Come motivate questo interesse? All’aumentare delle manifestazione corrisponde anche un incremento sul piano commerciale?

Rorhof: Negli ultimi anni c’é stato un fortissimo incremento delle manifestazioni legate al libro di fotografia. Tuttavia rimane un mercato di nicchia, nel quale bisogna muoversi con accuratezza e buonsenso. All’estero c’é più sensibilità per quanto riguarda l’acquisto di prodotti editoriali di case editrici indipendenti – in Italia tuttavia il settore é ancora visto come ambito amatoriale. 

ATP: Quali sono le difficoltà principali nell’essere un editore indipendente?

Rorhof: Le difficoltà principali per una casa editrice così piccola come Rorhof, sono le alte spese di produzione delle piccole tirature come anche le spese di gestione. Avendo tirature modeste (350-500 copie solitamente) il costo di produzione é decisamente alto rispetto a tirature più alte – Aumentando la tiratura invece, diminuirebbe il costo del la singola unità aumentato per i costi di distribuzione e di gestione dell’insieme. 

WorstSeller Ediciones, Dropped Drawings, by Dr. Intransferible, 2017

WorstSeller Ediciones, Dropped Drawings, by Dr. Intransferible, 2017

Worst seller ediciones

ATP: How would you describe the editorial cut of your publication?

Worst seller ediciones: Is based on drawing and any result or exploration that can bring. We’re pretty open to our changing ideas and interests, as well as for the artists with we collaborate.

ATP: Which topics are you discussing and how do you choose them?

Worst seller ediciones: We use to talk about social subjects like censorship, violence, daily life and sometimes reflections about drawing and art. We follow what’s in our minds and publish.

ATP: What is, in your opinion, the strength of independent publishing compared to that of large distribution?

Worst seller ediciones: The freedom of speech. It can be realised on you own terms. As well the freedom for experimentation on formats and editorial process from content to object.

ATP: In recent years we have seen the proliferation of fairs and ‘meetings’ dedicated to independent publishing. How do you motivate this interest? Does the increase of the manifestation also correspond to an increase on the commercial level?

Worst seller ediciones: We participate of this and most of our exposition is through these fairs. Thanks to that we can earn some money to keep doing self publishing besides our jobs. And I don’t think there’s an increase on commercial level but maybe increase in offer of contents and ideas.

ATP: What are the main difficulties in being an independent publisher?

Worst seller ediciones: Be part of the major leagues is hard, we struggle to produce every book we make and for different reasons we are out of the standars that allows publishing houses to have a good distribution in bookshops. And books isn’t the most sold product, right? So we do this with lot of passion but we have to still keep working on something else to make it quite sustainable.

Prison Photography, AAVV, Rorhof, 2017

Prison Photography, AAVV, Rorhof, 2017

Kulturfolger

ATP: How would you describe the editorial cut of your publication?

Kulturfolger: Kulturfolger publication was meant to collect different voices – to make a list of artists, writers, ideas – and articulate with their perspectives and voices what is MANY NATURES.
Making a publication shows a certain decadence that is particularly suited to art. It needs to be abstraction; it is necessary to celebrate this abundance, the beauty of the world, the beauty of the mind, even in this way. The physical format of the magazine emphasizes somewhat random combinations of imagery. Images and stories jump between the two sections, and brief texts expand their scope. Genetics, topiary, dance, infographics… showing what is the world today – it is the big plenty we live in!

ATP: Which topics are you discussing and how do you choose them?

Kulturfolger: Although from the first glance it might seem we deal with the topic of nature, we are actually not interested in it. We rather seek ways how is nature constructed.  Since we are curators, we want to question the world we live in. Culture is our position of playing with nature. How to approach world’s richness – this is the big question? Maybe as poetry, make it impressionistic rather than definitive, make it curious rather than sensible, and a fascinating and unique experiment – and then use the format of a magazine.

ATP: What is, in your opinion, the strength of independent publishing compared to that of large distribution?

Kulturfolger: Both have its own strengths and weaknesses – large distribution is similar to social media, or to newspapers – it gives a unified voice of an authority, which is not necessarily bad. It sums up main ideas, trends and transforms them into something very accessible to median audience. Independent publishing on the other hand gives a spectrum, diversity. It allows aliens and mutants to live freely among us. Both are good.

ATP: In recent years we have seen the proliferation of fairs and ‘meetings’ dedicated to independent publishing. How do you motivate this interest? Does the increase of the manifestation also correspond to an increase on the commercial level?

Kulturfolger: This is beautiful. Clearly there’s interest from both sides for this type of events: independent publishers and audience. Since publishers don’t have strong marketing machinery behind, they deeply depend on word of mouth, their followers and own consistency. The commercial increase only comes way later, after some persistent time being present at the scene; it becomes more stable and known.

ATP: What are the main difficulties in being an independent publisher?

Kulturfolger: The main difficulty being an independent publisher is usually funds(raising). Independent money means editorial freedom, but often publishers depend on supports, financial grants that bring certain traps – self-instrumentalisation and trying to fit into certain boxes in order to easier get the money, and therefore they often loose their quirkiness, playfulness and novelty.