Splash of Red

Splash of Red is an international online literary arts magazine that publishes poetry, fiction, non-fiction, art, interviews, and graphic narratives. They have published interviews with many Pulitzer Prize winners, US Poet Laureates, and acclaimed writers as well as some of the top editors and publishers in the country for their Industry Interview Series. What sets these interviews apart from others is that they focus on the readers of the literary magazine, many of whom are writers themselves. The interviews delve into writing processes of the interviewess, editing techniques, and strategies for getting around writer’s block. And the Industry Series investigates the other side of the table that writers rarely get a glimpse into in order to better their odds at getting their work published. But the meat of the publication is the fantastic submissions that come from all over the world.

The name of the publication comes from three inspirations: 1) the infamous red ink in draft after draft to get the best quality writing, 2) the blood and passion that goes into only the most skillfully crafted art, and 3) great work stands out just like a splash of red.
In 2010, Splash of Red organized numerous live events where authors came to speak with audiences for live Q and As. Some of the authors included Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Diaz, famed writer Eleanor Herman, and Daniel Wallace – author of Big Fish, who spoke with eager audience members following a showing of the film based on his novel at a local independent theater. Additionally, the online magazine involved local communities by spearheading a special public mural on the New Jersey boardwalk in Asbury Park. Three artists chose three poems published on the website and created pieces of art inspired by and including those poems which were then painted in multiple, large murals across the backdrop of the mid-Atlantic.

Interested fans can follow Splash of Red on Twitter, Facebook, or become a member and get email updates about newly published work and events. One of the things they pride themselves on is creating an online literary arts community where readers can post comments on anything published on the website, submit art inspired by splashes of red for their Red Gallery, and involving members in creative decisions and directions for the publication including suggestions for interviewees.

If you take any one thing away from this blog post, take this: check it out. The website is www.SplashOfRed.net and feel free to peruse, read, comment, and investigate at your own leisure. Make it your own and enjoy!

Featured Art for Issue 9: Jonathan Faber

Jonathan Faber

We had the opportunity of featuring six of Jonathan Faber’s paintings in our newly-released Issue 9. Jonathan’s award-winning work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout New York and Texas including the Austin Museum of Art, the David Shelton Gallery, and the Galveston Arts Center.

His work fuses the beauty of both abstract and realistic environments. Jonathan describes his new collection as “being involved within the paradox of memory and observation – seeking out subjects that co-exist between the expansive and the intimate, the recognizable and the ambiguous.” He explains that “they manifest from memories of places or things observed, lived with, or passed through.”

Jonathan draws inspiration from the houses and backyards from where he grew up: “Many things inspire me but my most recent subjects are connected to domestic objects and landscape settings. Other sources of mine examine conversations, things I’ve read, and things I’ve listened to. These associations tend to lean more into the abstract spectrum.”

He has received awards from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 2011, the Joan Mitchell Foundation in 2003, and has been nominated three times for the Arthouse Texas Prize. Faber finds creating art is about the journey and the discovery: “To me the transformative process of making paintings doesn’t necessarily lend itself to an ultimate goal. I find it’s much more exciting, productive and ambitious to try to solve problems and take risks. So goals for me tend to suggest an ending where I am more interested and concerned with discovery and where that may lead.”

This new collection takes on a slightly different tone than some of his previous work: “I think about past work as being in two camps — graduate school and post graduate school. Graduate school was about trying on a lot of different hats and mimicking for better/for worse some of my past heroes, such as Gerhardt Richter for example. Post graduate I found myself introducing a broader range of invented vocabularies and moving more or less in a linear direction from one painting to another, responding to the discoveries made in each painting. Now I look at what I make as a hybrid of many interests with a better handle on orchestrating and decoding the rules of representation.”

For those looking to hone their talents, Jonathan suggests new artists “work hard at their practice. Stay engaged with your art community so people know who you are and what you’re up to. Very few artists can live off their own work. Most artists need a second job to support themselves. It’s very important to be honest and admit to yourself what kind of artist you are.”

Being an active part of the art community is essential: “Go to every art event you can and get to know the right people in that art community. If you are the type of artist who doesn’t enjoy the social aspects of asserting oneself in this way then you will need another job like teaching a painting class or working in a design field. Just relying on the quality of your work and the purity of your spirit/conscience rarely puts enough food on the table to maintain a robust artistic practice.”

Jonathan Faber currently works part-time as an Assistant Professor at Southwestern University Georgetown in Texas and is a Lecturer at the University of Texas in his hometown of Austin. You can see Jonathan Faber’s work in Issue 9 and on his website.

 

SRAWP: 2012 Recap by Samantha Allen

Superstition Review Editors roamed the corridors and booths of the AWP Annual Conference and Bookfair to find both past contributors and literary legends. We found some familiar faces and made some new connections, and we wanted to give our readers a front row seat to the action. This AWP Recap comes from SR Intern Samantha Allen.

In her keynote address, Margaret Atwood talked about the old English root of the word “craft.” Craft, she noted, is the en vogue word for what writers do; chances are you have encountered the phrase the craft of writing many times in recent years. “Craft” comes from a word that means skill, implying a strength that comes from practice. Ms. Atwood reflected that craft is not something inherent, like artistic genius, but something you must work at.

This rang true for me as I attended the panels at my first AWP conference. As a creative writing student, I’ve always had a sense of how much work goes into being a writer. But it wasn’t until I sat among crowds of writers scribbling away at their notepads that I understood how devoted they all are to the craft. Around 10,000 people attended the AWP conference this year, 3,000 of whom were students. And almost every one of them is or aspires to be a writer.

Admittedly, in the weeks leading up to AWP, I was nervous. I worried I would be overwhelmed, or get lost, or lose the ability to form articulate sentences in front of important writers. The first morning of the conference, interview editor Erin Caldwell and I were so apprehensive we didn’t notice when the cab driver gave us the wrong change, fleecing us out of $10. Then we sat down at our first panel. After a few minutes of frantic note-taking, the anxiety disappeared. Everyone else was jotting down notes with the same level of devotion, laughing at the same nerdy jokes, flipping through the schedule of events with the same look of awe-struck frenzy. I had a sense of coming home; I was among my people.

Being among so very many of “my people” was an especially profound experience when a panelist would read a passage from a classic work aloud to make a point. During one panel on points of view in fiction, a panelist read a long excerpt from Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road. While he was reading aloud, I was utterly transported into the work, and when it ended, I could tell I was not the only one who felt as though I was waking from a dream. The communality of this experience – sitting among a crowd being entranced by a story – was moving in a primal way. The discussion of the technical elements that created that moment of transcendence was rendered far more impactful by the experience of being in a community. Moments like that made it easy to branch out and make friends. I learned that it’s a big world, but also a small and welcoming one.

Now that I’m home and have had a chance to think about my first time at AWP, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to the supporters of Superstition Review. Of those 3,000 or so students at the conference this weekend, we encountered only one other publication run by undergraduate students. No other publication we met at AWP, however, gives undergraduates the same experience working with renowned writers and high-quality work that Superstition Review does. Seeing so many other publications represented at the seemingly endless bookfair reminded me just how unique we are. We are the first undergraduate-run magazine to publish a long list of nationally recognized authors, and every person we met who was familiar with our publication expressed admiration for our mission. If it wasn’t for our readers and contributors, I never would have had the incredible experience I was lucky enough to have this weekend, and for that I thank all of you.

Recap: bell hooks at ASU

Each week here at Superstition Review, we like to showcase the talents of our interns. This week’s piece comes from Samantha Allen on her recent discussion with author bell hooks. 

Feminist writer and cultural critic bell hooks visited Arizona State University’s Tempe campus to speak about race and gender in a historical context. Earlier in the day some of our staff at Superstition Review were given the opportunity to participate in a small group discussion with bell. This discussion covered everything from the recent ban of ethnic studies in Tucson, to the novel The Help, to evangelist Billy Graham’s changing religious views. A prominent theme of our talks centered on the idea of community. “Communities,” she said, “are what give us the strength to live our convictions even in the face of hostility.”

As bell illustrated through stories from her personal life, these “communities of resistance” aren’t always free of conflict. She shared stories about the people in her life who have acted in ways that are harmful to her and to her views, all the while doing good by supporting her in her work, or by making great strides towards promoting racial equality. She called this contradiction “multiple intentionalities” – when people or groups do both harm and good. How do we cope with these contradictions? Do we ignore the good in someone’s actions because they have also done wrong? Do we overlook the unpleasant qualities so we can continue to idealize them as saints and angels? We live in a binary culture that has no place for contradictions. bell hooks used a story about a conflict in the humanities department at Berea College, where she teaches, to discuss how the inability to deal with multiple intentionalities can become an impediment to building communities of resistance. Even when the goals are the same, it’s easy to be divided by our differences.

This message of importance in building communities of resistance seemed to resonate deeply with everyone in the room. It’s no secret that Arizona has been the battleground for a number of contentious political issues in these past couple of years. The actions of our state legislature have given Arizona a particular reputation for intolerance, one that conflicts with the values of the Humanities Department at Arizona State University. The ASU Humanities department celebrates diversity and the commitment to social justice. The very act of getting together to discuss these issues with bell hooks is a step toward building a similar community here in the heart of Arizona. Although this state is mired in ideological conflict, it’s important to remember to act with loving-kindness, as bell pointed out in our discussion. No one is black and white; no one acts in only one direction. The concept of multiple intentionalities is particularly applicable to the current cultural climate in Arizona.

In the end, the discussion with bell hooks left me with this thought: as artists, writers, and readers, it is our job to tackle these contradictions in life. The human tendency to do good with the right hand and harm with the left is, perhaps, the very thing that drives us to create. How else can we make sense of ourselves and our world with all its contradictions if not through art? I’m thankful to be a part of the community here at Superstition Review, where our interns, contributors, and readers are all committed to the art that makes sense of our crazy, convoluted world.