"Always go" is the tagline for Collective Quarterly, a magazine that encourages readers to discover new corners of the world. Each issue explores a different offbeat location through the eyes of craftspeople - from artists & musicians to chefs & designers. (
For Issue 1 of this peripatetic magazine, which focuses on one new destination each issue, the Collective Quarterly team headed to Big Sky Country: Montana. There they encountered a spirited cast of locals, from a bookshop owner who collects old saddlery in his basement to a grizzly bear tracker.
For the inaugural issue, the editors followed a group of makers to Marfa, Texas, where they came across the small desert town's icons (Donald Judd) and icons-in-the-making (the Prada store). Articles include a profile of a hat maker in the nearby outpost of Alpine, a food truck offering the delectable "Marfalafel" - and more.
Founders Jesse Lenz (left) and Seth Putnam (right) gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the magazine.
Why did you start Collective Quarterly?
We started the magazine because we were curious. Curious about what it means to live well and about finding hidden corners of the earth (some of which are in our own back yard).
On this inaugural trip, we set very few rules and just sort of let the journey happen to us. The very first story we wrote is actually one that appears toward the end of the issue, about a little roadside joint outside San Antonio. Nora Herrera and family run the taco stand and – in addition to making the biggest, tastiest tacos I’ve ever wolfed down – asked if they could have a copy of the magazine. To which we responded, “Well, can we write a story about you?”
What was the first article you assigned?
It was text to go alongside an illustration of the iconic Prada “store” in the middle of nowhere. It’s actually an art installation that’s very iconic to Marfa (everyone seems to visit it, including Beyoncé). While we were there we actually stayed away from it because we wanted to tell stories that didn’t feel overdone. When we returned, we realized we needed to cover it somehow, and luckily (or unluckily, really) a new angle has developed because the Texas Department of Transportation is considering tearing it down.
Who are your readers?
People who have a deep love of travel and creativity, who explore diverse ways of life, and who attempt to live well in the sense that they care about their legacy.
Hardest story to get off the ground?
The piece on Boquillas del Carmen, a once withering little border town in Mexico, since it necessitated actually leaving the country. But we come from strong editorial backgrounds, so the stories themselves are business as usual; it was the process of wrangling all the moving parts of a print publication that turned out to be the hardest thing by far. Hard, but immensely rewarding.
What is one story you'd like to tell, but haven’t yet?
We’ve got fairly rural places on the docket, which we’re very excited about because they nail that idea of the unseen hideaway. But personally, I’d love to explore a city that's fallen on hard times (maybe a Detroit or a Baltimore) and show that there’s still an ember in these places that hasn’t yet gone out – and may even be getting hotter.
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