There’s a new publication floating around town, and it’s called Mused Magazine. It’s put out by a group of young ladies and gentlemen in Santa Barbara. And guess what? It’s totally FREE! It’s filled with oodles of writing, artwork, musings (strangely enough), music reviews and other interesting stuff. Artsweek got the chance to sit down with Mused Magazine’s artistic director and general picture-savvy guru Patrick Miller to get some firsthand info on this new pile of paper.
Artsweek: Putting out a magazine is a pretty major undertaking. What made you want to do it, and how did you get organized?
Patrick Miller: Susie [Cagle, editor-in-chief] approached Sharif [Abu-Hamdeh, creative director] to see if he was interested in getting some kind of writing publication together. We had always been interested in magazine and zine culture. So then Sharif approached me knowing about my background in photography. Then Britton [Victor, marketing/advertising director] came on later with the idea of needing someone to market it and find advertising for it. The main reason we came together I think is to provide some kind of outlet in this community, which I think is full of young artists that don’t have any platform really to get themselves published and exposed.
So, obviously, there’s an attention to young artists as far as who you want to put in your magazine. Who are the people you see reading and looking at Mused?
I think them, as well as anyone who’s interested in culture, youth and any kind of artistic endeavors. I think that Santa Barbara is probably not the most saturated market for this type of publication, but what we do have in Santa Barbara is a lot of people who are interested in the arts and hopefully will be interested in what we’re trying to do.
Yeah, it’s definitely true that we have a lot of young artists, musicians and writers around without a whole lot of places to show what they do to a large number of people.
I completely agree. And all of us working on Mused are young kids that are all getting out of school, and we wanted a project that we could work on. We thought about moving it up to San Francisco, but we think that by staying down here we’ll find the people in this community that are interested. Santa Barbara’s a growing city, and I know that there’s an increasing number of people that are looking for a higher caliber of local publications.
If I’m just a guy walking down the street, and I come across the numerous stacks of free publications, why should I pick up and read Mused versus one of the others?
We’re really trying to strive for a quality that is different than most of the free publications out there. This first issue isn’t printed on magazine quality paper, but its all coming out of our pockets right now. We think that it’s going to eventually become something that is really presentable on the level of a magazine you would typically buy. I think that presentation is going to be different than any other free publication out there. We want to approach the aesthetics and design of Mused in a creative way, paying a lot of attention to our covers, images, text and graphics, which is something I don’t think you see a lot of in many free publications.
As far as your content, issue one is focused primarily on local artists and writers. Do you think that this will continue to be the main focus, or are you interested in doing pieces with better known national or international names?
We want to continue to focus on our community. The main reason we started this magazine was our interest in supporting underexposed artists, so that’s very important to us and we want to focus on that as much as possible. But that’s not to say that we’re not looking to grow as a magazine. What we really want it to be is a magazine about the arts in general, so if that takes us out of our specific community that’s okay. We’re open to change; that’s a big part of keeping things fresh.
Here are two questions that you’re bound to get a thousand times working on Mused:
One – can my buddy write for you guys?
Um, yeah, totally. We’re really interested in looking at different writers. I think that the more submissions we get, the more diversity we’ll have in the magazine. We really want to encourage people to send us stuff. Anything, even hate mail.
Here’s the number one question any ‘zine is bound to be asked:
Will you review my band?
(Laugh) Uh, sure. I think we could do that, but what we really want is for the magazine to be something different than every other art and culture magazine out there, and I think where we’re really gonna make that difference is in our writing. Publications like McSweeney’s and The Believer and stuff like that are really interesting magazines. I’d like to take parts of the culture mags that I really enjoy, the photographic style and the zine type of quality and incorporate that with the sophistication of the more glossy literary magazines and books. But we’d love to hear anything from anyone. You never know; maybe we’ll be really stoked on it. But I think for now we’re more focused on the literary and visual arts component of it.
There’s enough music ‘zines in this world, so I think that’s a good idea. Sounds like you’ve got a good thing going. Good luck with the next issue, which will be out when by the way?
We’re planning on early September, but nothing is confirmed yet.
Look for free copies of Mused Magazine all around Santa Barbara. You can also check out the website: