BitDepth 691 - August 04

Richard Rawlins wanted young people entering the advertising business to have some creative fun, so he made an online arts magazine.
The best local arts magazine you've never seen

Richard Rawlins at CMB Advertising. Photograph by Mark Lyndersay.

The notion came to Richard Rawlins while he was on a flight to St Petersburg, Florida. He was talking to colleague Marlon Darbeau about life in advertising when he realised that young designers weren't having nearly as much fun as he did when he started in the field.
So he created a magazine that would become a playground for a new generation of artists, writers and designers working in advertising in Trinidad and Tobago.
"Personal work is a powerful part of the creative process," Rawlins said. "The magazine was a way of bringing people in the industry together to do projects."

The magazine is called Draconian Switch, a nod to Rawlins' management style as a creative director, and it's available for download at The current issue may not be safe for reading at work, focusing as it does on the recently concluded Erotic Art Week, a stealth art show that was spread out in nooks and galleries all around Woodbrook.
It isn't the first time that the magazine has done curatorial work on an exhibition installation, in the online archives you'll find a catalog for the Access Denied installations and intriguing creative monographs featuring work by Darbeau, Dave Williams and Christopher Cozier.

The magazine is very much a designer's publication, with the style of the presentation of the art and commentary changing not just from issue to issue but often from page to page. It's art, interpreting art and framing words about art and the artistic impulse.
Chances are, you've never seen it because it's never been printed and while the commitment to electronic distribution limits access to the web savvy, it's also proven to be liberating.
An artist is chosen as the focus of the issue, writers are assigned and a designer interprets the two for the virtual page.

"When you produce this way, the worries about printing and the costs associated with that go away. Everything is flexible, right down to the masthead. You have InDesign (page layout software from Adobe), you make a PDF and we post it online," Rawlins explains.
All issues of the magazine and the special editions live on the Artzpub website, which is designed and managed by Anderson Mitchell.
Rawlins keeps an eye on the on the web traffic on Artzpub and notes with a smile that the most popular download on the website is the recent Erotic Art issue, followed by the James Hackett and Marlon Dabreau issues.
"Well, you put erotic in the name and..." he mused.

What began as a collection of creatively considered monographs has become something more like an arts magazine, though future issues will continue the focus on local artists. The next issue will feature photographer Laura Ferreira and the issue beyond that will examine the work of the current graduating class of UWI's art school.
Eight issues later, the group of contributors, featured artists and designers has now morphed into a loose arts collective that's almost 25 strong, 15 of them working directly on the publication and most of them are a generation behind him, but Rawlins still isn't satisfied.

"I'd like to see more people in the industry get involved and contribute more," he said. "The process of collaboration makes you think differently, when we're doing this, there are no blocks on."
"I've been lucky in this business. I don't know 'no'. No matter where I've worked, I've had a lot of freedom and a lot of opportunities and I want to share that experience with a new generation of creative people."

BitDepth 692 - Videographer Terry Smith's Indigroove
BitDepth 690 - Georgia Popplewell's work with blog aggregator Global Voices
BitDepth 689 - Brett Lewis' animation and compositing project at Movietowne
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