Recently, the Wex partnered with HISS Mag to promote the work of boundary-testing artists who identify as female, femme, queer, and/or non-binary. A print publication about contemporary art launched last year in Columbus, HISS focuses on this underserved part of the art community, creating a beautifully produced group exhibition on paper featuring artists from around the world and details on how to learn more about them. Issue 2 of the publication debuted March 3 with a party at 934 Gallery and it's available this week at locations including the Wexner Center Store, as well as online. Editor-in-chief Heather Taylor shares more info about HISS below.
What inspired you to start HISS?
Wanting to have a passion project. Wanting to have a constant discovery of new artists, practicing all mediums. Wanting to celebrate and present queer, women, femme, and non-binary artists. Educating others about contemporary art and what art can be. But mostly having a strong love for weird contemporary art, and wanting a space for said artists to have a home. I had thoughts of wanting it to be a tangible magazine but I wasn’t sure that we could execute it, but we are. It's hard work but we love it and are learning so much. [One day, we want to be] able to create jobs, internships, and have a gallery to host events and offer a place for the work from our issues to be seen.
What do you hope HISS will bring to the Columbus arts and LGBTQIA communities?
Wild, kickass work and a space to feel at home, like it does for us. A different understanding of equality in the arts within our community and a new love for the artists that we feature in our issues to further support them.
How do you connect with artists for the publication? Is there a submission process?
Social media is the best platform for me, Instagram is an amazing tool to search with, and it seems to become more and more user friendly. I use it primarily to find and archive artists and their work.
[The magazine] is curated mostly, and artists will be contacted if we are interested in featuring them. For our issues thus far, we have offered open call submissions, and some amazing artists have slipped through and blew our minds. We’re grateful they found us.
To be considered, the process for open call requires an email to us, including a selected number of works from the artist, their social media and website information, and titles of the works they are submitting if they are into titling their work. We [set the deadline] a few months ahead of when the issue would be published, to be sure to give artists enough time to submit or to finish up current pieces they're working on and want to submit.
Issue 1 had a connecting theme for its artists, "Juicy." Is there a theme for Issue 2?
For Issue 2 we decided not to go with a theme and leave it more open-ended. I am unsure how often themes will occur, but it was definitely fun to work with, and some artists created new work for “Juicy”.
What can people expect to see in Issue 2?
For this issue, I fearlessly contacted artists with a larger following or artists that seem to have [built] careers with their work. It motivated and excited me a lot when they agreed to be featured, simply because I feel like HISS is becoming more successful then I expected. It seems to me that we are doing something right, for them to consider us or even take time out of their schedule to respond.
Overall I am excited about this issue because I feel it is stronger then the last. I don't mean in the sense that the work is stronger by any means, but rather the confidence that the HISS crew has now and the knowledge that we have accumulated over the past year with our publication.