Void Spotlight: Great Artist Newsletters
Get inspired by (and sign up for!) some of the best artist newsletters we've discovered recently
By Siena Oristaglio on September 6th, 2017
Welcome to a new monthly series on The Void Academy Journal, in which we feature great artist newsletters! We're always on the lookout for artists whose artwork we believe in and who are doing creative things to connect with their communities. Here, we'll be listing standout aspect of each mailer we feature, informed by what we teach as key elements of effective arts newsletters. We hope these mailers will inspire you to make your own. Moreover, as you read, we suggest that you sign up for one or more (or all!) of these mailers to experience connecting with artists in this capacity. Read on for this month's features.
Esmé Weijun Wang, Love and Squalor
How they describe it: "I’ve got a little letter that floats into inboxes every month, called With Love & Squalor. I try to keep these missives in the vein of a thoughtful letter to a good friend–and in particular, a good friend who might be curious about what makes up a creative legacy, gung-ho about good writing, or intrigued by the interplay between resilience in difficult times and the mastery of an art or skill. And because our inboxes can be scary places these days, I always keep in mind how much I want my letters to make your digital life brighter."
Why we like it: Subscribers regularly receive Esmé's beautiful, personal writing, gorgeous images, discounts on her courses, free downloads of wallpapers, fun breakdown of content categories in each mailer such as "links I love," "five words," and "Esmé's clippings." These really do read like a "thoughtful letter to a friend."
About the creator: Esmé Weijun Wang is is the award-winning author of The Border of Paradise. She was named by Granta as one of the “Best of Young American Novelists” in 2017, and is the recipient of the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize for her forthcoming essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias. At The Unexpected Shape, she provides useful resources for ambitious people living with limitations.
Tommy Pico, Poetry Mixtape
How they describe it: "Here's the thing: I'm taking a break from most forms of the Internet while I work on a new writing project. But! I still want to keep in touch. Thus once a month I'll send you a list of ten or so poems that have caught my fancy, and updates on my new publications, projects, and readings."
Why we like it: Each short mailer contains a short personal update as well as 10 (always stunning) poems to read. Simple, thematic, and well worth the sign-up.
About the creator: Tommy “Teebs” Pico is author of the books IRL (Birds, LLC, 2016), Nature Poem (Tin House Books, 2017), Junk (forthcoming 2018 from Tin House Books), the zine series Hey, Teebs and the chapbook app absentMINDR (VerbalVisual 2014). He was the founder and editor in chief of birdsong, an antiracist/queer-positive collective, small press, and zine that published art and writing from 2008-2013. Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, he now lives in Brooklyn where he co-curates the reading series Poets With Attitude (PWA) with Morgan Parker at the Ace Hotel, co-hosts the podcast Food 4 Thot, and is a contributing editor at Literary Hub.
Stephanie Acosta, Artist Newsletter
How they describe it: Where you can find my upcoming projects and news from my network of collaborators!
Why we like it: Personal writing, beautiful images of recent works, and in-depth descriptions of upcoming exhibitions, performances, and discussions. Includes links to many collaborators.
About the creator: Stephanie Acosta is a multidisciplinary artist focused on the exploration of the experiential, incorporating concrete objects, created environments, solo and ensemble performances, along with experimental and documentary filmmaking as modes of inquiry. By placing the materiality of the ephemeral at the root of her practice, Acosta questions the making of immovable meanings in our manufactured limitations. Acosta’s first feature film, The Ladies Almanack, based on the writing of Djuna Barnes, premiered at Outfest 2017. I AM A POTTED PALM, a solo looking at self tokenizing and the sanctity of sincerity, recently performed in Miami and Aqui y Alla, an object theatre exhibition for Vox Populi in collaboration with J. Soto, focused on contradicting Latinx experiences and the failures of translating our selves.
Eve L. Ewing, Updates from Eve
How they describe it: "Infrequent news, events, writings, and other updates from scholar/poet/essayist/artist/donut enthusiast Eve L. Ewing."
Why we like it: Awesome, regular updates, early announcements about exciting news, free giveaways to literary and arts events, always a little extra link to a piece of art / writing / music / interview something that Ewing is enjoying at the end.
About the creator: Eve Ewing is a poet and sociologist of education. She earned a BA from the University of Chicago, an MAT from Dominican University, and an MEd and PhD from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Her first collection of poetry, essays, and visual art, Electric Arches, is forthcoming from Haymarket Books in fall 2017. Her work has been published in many venues, including Poetry Magazine, the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Nation, the New Republic, Union Station, and the anthology The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. She has been a Pushcart Prize nominee, a finalist for the Pamet River Prize, and a scholarship recipient for the New Harmony Writers Workshop.
Jayson P Smith, i don't go outside.
How they describe it: the universe told me to stay in the crib. welcome to the dispatch—home of NOMAD & IDGO: The Workshop.
Why we like it: Sent regularly, subscribers receive personal updates, excerpts from poems, links to writing online, news, and sometimes a Spotify playlist or something else extra. Feels like a bite-sized intimate moment every time.
About the creator: Jayson P Smith is a 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Their poems & interviews appear in journals such as Gulf Coast, Nepantla, Vinyl, fields magazine, & The Offing. Jayson has received previous support from The Poetry Project, The Conversation Literary Festival, Callaloo, & Millay Colony for the Arts. Originally from the Bronx, Jayson lives/works in Brooklyn as founder of NOMAD, a Crown-Heights based performance series.
Melisa Gira Grant, MGG
How they describe it: From my desk.
Why we like it: Beautiful design, images, links to most recent published pieces, as well as behind-the-writing process thoughts from MGG. Always varied and engaging.
About the creator: Melissa Gira Grant is a journalist and author, covering sexual politics, criminal justice, and human rights. She is a contributing writer for Pacific Standard and the Village Voice. Her feature reporting has been published in the Guardian, BuzzFeed, VICE, and The Nation, and her commentary has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Slate, and Jezebel, among other publications. Her latest book is Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work, which the Baltimore City Paper named one of their top ten non-fiction books of the year.
Larissa Pham, Intimacies
How they describe it: Semi-regular letters from yr friend LP.
Why we like it: Intimate writing, beautiful newsletter. Pham often "[uses] a small thing to illuminate big things, or [uses] the personal to illuminate something that might mean something to other people." (Via Electric Literature)
About the creator: Larissa Pham's art and writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Paris Review Daily, Bookforum, Guernica, The Nation, Rolling Stone, Adult Mag, Nerve, New York Magazine, Maxim, ELLE, Dazed, Salon, Adbusters, GOOD, The Rumpus, The Hairpin, Gawker, VICE, The Intentional, Packet Bi-Weekly, The Yale Literary Magazine, and elsewhere. She is the author of Fantasian, a New Lovers novella from Badlands Unlimited, out October 25, 2016. You can purchase Fantasian here, or in stores worldwide.
Kaki King, Don't Miss Out
How they describe it: Stay on top of new music, tour dates and other exciting news.
Why we like it: Excellent opt-in incentive (a download of her new song), very engaging, lots of Q&A's with subscribers, includes behind-the-scenes photos, images of her songwriting notes, and is all linked with her Patreon, where she offers guitar masterclasses.
About the creator: Hailed by Rolling Stone as “a genre unto herself,” composer and guitarist Kaki King is a true iconoclast. Over the past 10 years the Brooklyn-based artist has released six extraordinarily diverse and distinctive albums (from which B-sides & Rarities has been largely culled), performed with such icons as Foo Fighters, Timbaland, and The Mountain Goats, contributed to a variety of film and TV soundtracks including Golden Globe-nominated work on Sean Penn’s Into The Wild, and played to an increasingly fervent following of music lovers on innumerable world tours.
Joanna C. Valente, When I Was Human
How they describe it: Weekly words & heart stoppers.
Why we like it: Regular personal, engaging updates. Often includes full poems as well as links to art and writing Valente is loving. Always a treasure trove.
About the creator: Joanna C. Valente is a ghost who lives in Brooklyn, New York. Joanna is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015) Marys of the Sea (The Operating System, 2017), Xenos (Agape Editions, 2016), and Sexting the Dead (Unknown Press, 2017). They are the editor of A Shadow Map: Writing By Survivors of Sexual Assault (CCM, 2017), and received an MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Joanna is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, as well as the managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine and Civil Coping Mechanisms. Some of Joanna’s work has appeared in Prelude, BUST, Brooklyn Magazine,Columbia Journal, Electric Literature, Joyland, Tarpaulin Sky, The Feminist Wire, Spork Press, among others. Joanna currently teaches courses at Brooklyn Poets.
Pippin Barr, Pippin Barr Makes Games
How they describe it: I, Pippin Barr, solemnly swear to tell you when I'm just about to release a new videogame and to ask you sometimes if you could volunteer to test a game in progress.
Why we like it: Sends out a short update every time he releases a new game or one that needs testing. Direct, simple, fun.
About the creator: Pippin Barr makes games, writes words, and creates images. He wrote a book called How to Play a Video Game. He's an Assistant Professor in the Department of Design and Computation Arts at Concordia University in Montréal. He's the associate director of the TAG Lab, part of the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture, and Technology. He currently teaches an introduction to creative programming, a game design studio, and an internet/web-based art studio. Previously, he has taught game design, experience design, prototyping, and criticism at institutions including the Institute of Digital Games at the University of Malta, the Center for Computer Games Research at the IT University of Copenhagen in Denmark and the HotSoft Lab at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He hasa Ph.D. and an M.Sc. from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.
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