After a year-long hiatus, monthly art magazine and supplier Papirmasse has returned with a reinvigorated subscription model. The sabbatical allowed founder Kirsten McCrea to explore new options for the venture, notably through a partnership with Ric Kasini Kadour and Christopher Byrne of Maison Kasini, the gallery where Papirmasse now operates.
“We had Kirsten put some folios together and immediately asked if we could partner up,” Kadour explained.”We told her we could provide some infrastructure and support, as well as a physical home for the project. I hope that by working together we can merge our strengths and ultimately help Papirmasse grow.” The collaboration has allowed
McCrea to continue to wage her “war against blank walls.” McCrea began Papirmasse in late 2008. An avid fan of contemporary art but not its price tag, McCrea would send subscribers prints made using digital or offset lithography for $5 a month. She also noted that art galleries can be intimidating for certain people, so she wanted to eliminate that feeling of uneasiness by sending art directly to people’s homes. What makes Papirmasse stand out from the crowd is that it is simply affordable art. Not only is a unique piece sent to the subscribers, but poetry, essays, short stories and other written content are included on the back of the print.
In its early stages, Papirmasse lacked artist participation, so the 2008 Concordia fine arts graduate used some of her own pieces. This year, McCrea expects not only a wide variety of artists to contribute but also an assortment in the type of work featured. “We are now using a different artist every month. I’m really excited for the range of talented people we are going to be working with,” she said.
Now that it has the means to include 12 different artists in the 2011 subscription, Papirmasse has been able to shift its focus from making contemporary art accessible to helping local artists. “Getting art out into the world and to stop income from being such an impediment towards art ownership is what Papirmasse is all about, but we also offer a lot of really great exposure to Montreal artists,” McCrea said. She tries to publish artists’ works in the same month they are having an event in the city.
As opposed to 2009, when prints would range from smaller accordion folded booklets to larger double sided posters, this year, Papirmasse subscribers will receive a manila envelope that contains the print. This month’s print will be a collage by local artist Jp King. The backside features a story from his forthcoming novella, Cookie Crumbs Lead to Ovens.
Low prices were a selling point for Papirmasse from the start, but since its return they have dropped even further. “It used to be $5 a month plus the cost of shipping but now it is $5, which includes the price of shipping,” said McCrea.
This year, subscribers are in for a treat as McCrea noted that they are “not looking to have a flat print every month but a few things that push the boundaries a little.” McCrea will also ask the artists to create a fine art version of their work which will be on display in Papirmasse’s touring exhibitions and also be available in the gallery.
With the help of Maison Kasini, McCrea hopes to find “people who are pursuing art, who are exhibiting regularly and artists who, even though are still emerging, are serious about what they are doing. Art is cheap, art is for everyone. Do not be afraid to engage with it.”
Papirmasse is located in the Belgo building, 372 Ste. Catherine St. West, Suite 408. They will produce special 1$ issues for Nuit Blanche on Feb. 26. For more information, visit www.papirmasse.com/art.