PANTA is an independent magazine by Book a Street Artist that celebrates creative culture around the world. It features the work of emerging artists and writers and focuses on artistic and cultural initiatives that have the power to take on social, cultural and environmental issues. Art is for everyone, but often limited to an elite in the spaces of galleries, museums, theatres and concert halls. PANTA’s mission is to break this ideology and create a platform to support projects by creative talents who use their craft—be it street art, photography, design, illustration, writing, music, performance, architecture and other creative vocations—to try to make a positive impact on society.
In the same rogue spirit of street art and getting projects out of galleries and into the world where they belong, PANTA is self-published through MagCloud. To find out more about the publishing power they found in MagCloud, we spoke to the creative and strategic minds behind Panta, an independent magazine that celebrates the power of creativity to address social, cultural and environmental issues around the world.
The magazine is beautiful. Who is to blame for starting all this?
Thank you! We work hard on it, so that’s always nice to hear. The culprits are Charlotte Specht, Guille Lasarte and Mario Rueda. Charlotte and Mario created a startup called Book a Street Artist and Guille sometimes took photos of the artists for them. Then one day, the three of us decided to make a little something ‘extra’ for the startup, just for fun and to fulfill our creative needs. And we divided the tasks rather well. Charlotte is in charge of production, Mario is in charge of marketing, and Guille does the design. But we all end up doing a little bit of everything.
The subtitle is “Book a Street Artist Magazine.” What does that mean and how did it drive the launch?
Well, this is actually a subtitle we’re trying to get away from. The magazine is published by Book a Street Artist, but we don’t necessarily only feature pieces on artists in the agency’s portfolio. We do not—and never have—feature only street art. Since the beginning, the idea was to tell stories of artists of all kinds who have a strong message.
Your blend of ingredients of street art, photography, art, design, music, etc. is such a diverse mix of subjects. What binds all these topics together?
What binds them all together is their message and their objective, although sometimes we feature an artist’s work simply because we fall in love with it. We’re now trying to tag the magazine as an “artivism” magazine that showcases the work of artists who are trying to combine their craft with a good cause—be it social, cultural, political, environmental, and so forth. Art is a very strong tool to promote positive change, and we want to bring that to people’s attention, to show that there is much more to art than what we can find in the institutionalized art world. We are more interested in the bigger picture of what art has the power to achieve for communities and society at large. And there are so many artists doing great work out there, we wanted to have a channel to present it.
Art is a very strong tool to promote positive change, and we want to bring that to people’s attention, to show that there is much more to art than what we can find in the institutionalized art world.
Were there fears in starting your own magazine? Were you ever told “don’t bother?”
No, mainly because we didn’t ask anyone, we just did it. We were ignorant of many things back then but since all three of us are very passionate about this project, we just said we’ll do what we want and learn as we go.
Was there a sales goal from the beginning or was it simply a desire to create your own publication that inspired you to begin publishing?
Definitely the latter. The independent publishing scene is growing exponentially, and rarely are the publishers/editors solely interested in financial gain when they start an indie magazine. For us at least, it’s more about making something beautiful and celebrating art with a cause rather than making a lot of money. We curate the magazine carefully, and we always make sure the advertisers are in line with the magazine’s ideology.
So many creatives are fearful of starting their own “thing.” What advice would you have for them?
Don’t ask too many people because everyone has an opinion. We don’t mean don’t listen and try to learn everything you can about something you’re interested in developing, but don’t bother with people who will go down the pessimistic route. Just go for it and, if possible, try to find partners to team up with who are as passionate about the project as you are. You will need them, and they will need you for support for the project to grow. No man is an island!
I would imagine doing your own magazine comes with all kinds of freedom as opposed to say working on assignment for someone else, but what are the limitations of self-publishing?
Well the freedom is what we are after—no censorship, no adjusting things according to someone’s interests. That’s the beauty of independent publishing. That being said, the limits are, obviously, financial. We run a small ship and we want to grow, but it’s a big challenge.
Well the freedom is what we are after—no censorship, no adjusting things according to someone’s interests. That’s the beauty of independent publishing.
Why Magcloud? What would you love to see in the future with this platform?
We didn’t want PANTA to be an “e-magazine” and exist solely online, but we didn’t have money to invest in a print run either. So Magcloud seemed like a great service to use for on-demand printing. It’s because of Magcloud that we were ever even able to see the magazine in its intended form—the print form—and for our readers to have it available for purchase online.
How do you find your contributors?
Endless hours of research! And over the years, we’ve created a strong network of regular contributors who form the PANTA family.
What is the dream story you haven’t yet been able to run? Or the dream interview that eludes you?
There are many artists who are doing amazing work for important causes who are way too busy or simply non-reachable for an interview. We don’t want to mention specific names because we haven’t given up on reaching them yet!
What is the one thing you need that you don’t have?
A suitcase full of cash for a larger print run and other PANTA-related investments we’d like to do!
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