A little while back, we received some mysterious mail. The name on the envelop: Bryce Charlie. It was a customized envelop with illustrations on it. In it we found three issues of CHUMP magazine, as well as a handwritten and wax-sealed letter.
One part art. Two parts hooliganism. An analog assault on modern times. That's what we were told, CHUMP magazine is. And it turned out there is no better way to describe it. Talking to Bryce Charlie, the creative mind behind the magazine, it only becomes clearer: There is a whole lot of passion and love for the extraordinary and the unique between these little pages. This mashup of illustration, text, and photographs was created by someone who truly cares about art and knows how to effectively put separate pieces together to create something bigger. The tiny A5 pages of CHUMP magazine, can suck you into their black-grey world and only spit you out again after you've felt all the feels.
Now, Bryce Charlie is planning to go even bigger with his upcoming issue #5. Time for us to let you all know about this wonderful magazine! We've chatted with Bryce about his intentions and plans.
Hi Bryce, welcome to our Lomography Magazine. Please tell our community a little bit about yourself.
I'm a creative producer from Edmonton, AB. Currently living and working out of Montreal, QC. I'm also one of the hooligans behind CHUMP. Now CHUMP, to date, has been putting out these weird-oh collaborative print zines and hosting pop-up art shows primarily featuring analogue photographers.
Congratulations on issue number 5 of the CHUMP magazine! We were stunned when we first received the package with the first three issues and how much effort, passion and amazing pieces of art these little magazines contained. What sparked the idea to create CHUMP magazine for you?
Thanks! Your kind words make me blush. For issue 5 we're moving into a full-on magazine, which is a big step up from the little 32-page zines we've been doing.
Actually calling issue 5 a magazine is a bad description for it. Issue 5 is closer to a book. It focuses on one long-form piece of gonzo journalism that blends in the bizarre illustration and film photography work of my longtime creative partner Ryan Thomas. To get back to the question, I think CHUMP comes from a place of self-doubt and digital isolation.
The anger, frustration, and sadness that comes with being creative in these twisted up modern times. Where, in a lot of ways, it feels like the world is about to implode. It comes from that struggle of trying to create good meaningful work, while the only advice you're being given is to hustle more, run Instagram bots, and growth-hack your way to success. What sparked CHUMP was a deep sense of desperation. A need to break free from this weird digital loneliness.
Creating a print magazine in our digital age is risky, as we all know. Why is it important for you to get CHUMP out into the world in a physical way?
I think the big risk with a creative project like this, the risk that tends to kill us creatives, is letting our ego and ambition outweigh our reality. Quitting the day job, maxing out credit cards in the hope that the next project is going to be the thing that financially sustains you hardly ever works out.
Now with that all being said, I actually believe right now is the best time in decades to be messing around with print. As you fine folks know, there's this huge resurgence in all things analogue. People are pushing away from digital platforms in favor of tangible objects. It feels like there is this drive to experience life over just viewing it through a screen.
Why newspapers and magazines are struggling is because they are trying to compete with the internet as an access point to information. I mean, that's just foolish. That's like me trying to beat McGregor in a fist fight. I would get my head kicked in, and that's what you see happening to these traditional print outlets. If you're going to create a print publication that can not only survive but flourish in the digital age, it needs to play to the natural strengths that print has to offer: timelessness.
That's why CHUMP needed to be a print publication. I know it's bold, but we're trying to create something timeless. Something you can lose yourself in, that you keep coming back to. Like a great novel you deeply consume. The digital realm just isn't meant for this type of deep thought. It's meant for fast, binge-y, mindless consumption. Like chomping candy until your stomach hurts and your teeth fall out - enjoyable but devoid of nutrients.
CHUMP combines creative texts, illustrations, and photos from various artists, so perfectly curated that it seems like one single piece of art. What does a piece have to have, in order for it to find its way into the magazine?
The piece needs to have an emotional truth. The art needs to make us feel something. That's about all there is to it.
The overall mood of the zine is rather dark - as opposed to what we find in regular magazine shelves - and there’s a lot of social criticism in it. Are these things essential for you in art?
Is it dark? Yeah, I guess it is pretty heavy. Maybe we should have tossed in some splashes of color and emojis to lighten the mood. Jesting aside, there hasn't been much pause for self-reflection with this project, just an outpouring of expression - kinda like a good cry while slam-dancing in the rain.
I wouldn't say social criticism is essential to art. There's nothing wrong with art that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. Sometimes that is exactly what you need - a bit of an escape. That's just not what CHUMP is. All we're trying to do here is reflect back what it feels like to be human right now, in these times. The only essentialness I would tie into art is that art needs to make you feel something.
Who would you say CHUMP magazine is for?
Honestly, I know this is the most self-indulgent answer ever, but we made CHUMP for ourselves. Ryan and I needed an outlet where we could just create and reach out to other creatives.
Before CHUMP we just kept getting lost in that strange modern internet phenomenon of "if you're good or passionate about something you need to monetize it". Me and that kid made a blood pact, signed and witnessed by our Copy Editor Lindsey, that we wouldn't talk about scaling, monetization, or target audiences. Damned if i’m to break my oath! Really though, we're just making the work and putting it out there. Something about it seems to be resonating with people.
But I mean by this point in the interview you know if what we're doing with CHUMP is for you or not. If you're digging the vibe, email us (firstname.lastname@example.org). We're doing a pay-what-you-can-afford pre-buy of the book. And if money is tight, please still reach out - we'll work out a trade. Art for art, yeah?
From an old or the latest issue: Can you show us one piece you specifically love and tell us why?
I'm going with this one though. Everything just seems to pair so nicely. It showcases everything we've been jamming on in one spread - the art shows, the analogue photography, the illustration work, and the writing. I think this spread captures the core of CHUMP:
Apart from the new issue, you’ve also been working on some new projects, right? Do you want to give us a little sneak peek on what we can look forward to?
Yeah, I'm working away on some stuff. I don't want to say too much about it yet though. In short, we're going to put out this book and then I'm going to get back to collaborating with and showcasing other artists. The focus is placed on working with analogue photographers.
Any last words to our community?
Go create. Just focus on making good work. Let the rest of the nonsense fall to the wayside. This creative racket we're all wrapped up in is a slow build and at times can be disheartening. So if you're jamming on anything we can help with, want to talk art and life, or just need some words of encouragement, shoot us a line at email@example.com.
Make sure to follow CHUMP on Instagram for updates.