Friday, Dec. 7 sees the release of issue four of Lux Zine, the homegrown photography publication launched by Aaron War and Devon Tencza in January of this year. The stylish zines showcase photography from locals and creatives well beyond New Mexico's borders. Carefully created and hand-stapled and distributed, each of the limited edition zines comes with a random 5x7 photograph featured in the issue.
Ahead of the latest issue's launch, which will be held from 7 to 10pm on Saturday, Dec. 15 at Tractor Brewing Four Hills (13170 Central Ave. SE), War and Tencza told us all about Lux' history and where the scrappy publication is headed.
Alibi: What need did you see for this type of publication in Albuquerque?
Aaron War and Devon Tencza: We see a lot of artists relying on the internet to showcase their work with a severe lack of affordable and regularly made print media available. Additionally, what we see here is an art scene that is increasingly exclusive. As UNM alumni, we've seen how cliques can form in the academic world and permeate outward, often being intimidating or impossible for outsiders to penetrate. We felt like we needed a platform that is ready to support artists from all backgrounds, both formal and informal. There is so much good work out there, why wouldn't we want to come together and learn from each other?
When did the idea start taking shape and how did you get started?
After graduation, we felt so disconnected from the environment and people that we spent so much time with. Honestly, we spent a lot of time looking at artists that used YouTube as their platform.We started seeing that many of these artists made their own books and something just clicked. If we couldn't find something here to be a part of, why not make it? Not really knowing much about bookmaking, we realized that the punk rock nature of a zine was more our speed. We bought a ream or two of decent photo paper, a long edge stapler, and asked some people that we respected to participate. For the first two issues, we snuck into our ex-employers' buildings and used their facilities to print it. There were a lot of complications, but we made it work and had a lot of fun!
How has everything gone so far?
Fantastic, through the zine we have met some incredible people who really stand behind what we are doing. From business owners and teachers, to independent bookmakers and self taught artists, we are consistently surprised with the positivity of readers and the growth of the zine. Because of consistent support, we generally sell out of each issue before the next call is even made. Because of the support, we actually have been able to increase the quality, quantity and size of the zine without raising the price. Lastly, we really have to express our gratitude to Picture Perfect Photo Lab for sponsoring the zine, helping us with printing the bonus photographs that come with each issue and giving people a physical location to purchase them at.
What challenges have you encountered?
Well, we try to be inclusive and consider each submission for what it is, rather than who it is by. A definite challenge is figuring out when and why we should say no to a submission. We generally say no when there are discrepancies in image format, artist agenda or integrity. Another challenge is stepping outside of ourselves as artists and acting as curators.
What have you learned along the way?
We have learned a lot about presentation and format because we want to do the work justice. Every issue looks more cohesive as we learn more. As a couple, working together creatively has taught us a lot about each other and how we communicate.
What do you hope happens as a result of all the hard work you're putting into this publication?
As a result of Lux, we hope to show people that it doesn't take a lot of money or connections to showcase your work or meet new people. This all started as an angsty middle finger to the art community, but what we found was that a ton of people felt the same way. We want to motivate artists and readers to look for new and different work, create something of their own and to appreciate art as an object.
What will the release party be like?
Well, thanks to Tractor Brewing Company, we have a great venue to release issue four of Lux. Tractor has been very welcoming, and their support of the art community is widely known. Our release parties are always very fun and very relaxed. Most of the local artists that are featured usually come, we have a table where zines can be purchased, and we drink lots of delicious beer and celebrate everyone's hard work. Everyone is very open and inviting, so we encourage any and all to come by and say hi.