Much like an ampersand, which connects two separate things, Humber’s new literary journal connects creative writing and visual arts – and the first featured artist in the journal has a fascination with the ampersand symbol and its representation of connecting.
The Humber Literary Review will be the school’s first ever-literary journal, and is being produced by the English faculty within the Department of English. The bi-annual publication is in partnership with Humber Press.
While the print version of the journal’s launch isn’t until May 14, the online edition will launch April 1, featuring their first artist, Toronto-based Kirsten McCrea.
In fact, McCrea’s childhood dream was to become a writer.
She was 12 years old when she read that American writer Lois Lowry had her first written work published at the same age.
“I’m such a failure, oh no!” McCrea exclaimed, expressing her then-felt disappointment at being such an unaccomplished 12-year-old.
But she always had a simultaneous interest in art and began to focus her pursuit on that. McCrea graduated in 2008 from Concordia University in Montreal with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
“As you get older you only have time to hone one craft, so I dropped writing by the wayside,” she said.
The journal will feature a different artist for every issue.
Meaghan Strimas, one of the managing editors with Hillary Rexe of HLR, said featuring one artist per issue is engaging for the reader.
“It’s neat to showcase one artist in particular,” she said. “It gives the audience an overview of that person’s work so they can get to know that artist in particular.”
It’s difficult to ignore McCrea’s illustrations: the vibrancy and level of minute detail forces the eye to look inside the image and get to know it both piece by piece and as a whole.
McCrea’s illustrations have walked hand-in-hand with the written word before. Her work has been on the covers of other literary publications, including Poetry Magazine.
McCrea also runs Papirmass, an art subscription that sends a monthly print to each subscriber for an affordable price of $5.75 per month, or $69 per year. The print has art on the front and writing on the back, and has featured about 100 different artists since 2008.
“(The combination) seemed so obvious to me. I don’t know why it works but it seemed like a really natural pairing,” she said about the marriage of visual and written art that Papirmass presents.
There is no literal connection between McCrea’s stunning illustrations and the content of the written contributions that will grace the pages of the first issue of HLR. But a metaphorical connection might exist.
“Visually, (McCrea’s) work is so dense and layered and I think, in many ways, the writing is the same, whether it be essays or poems,” said Strimas.
Christian Leveille is the art and illustrations editor for the journal and chose newer work by McCrea that hasn’t been largely available to an audience yet.
“I was really struck by a lot of the collisions that (McCrea) seems to engage with,” he said. “There’s a playfulness to (the chosen illustrations). There’s not a strict ideological interpretation. They let the reader examine them and play around with what their meaning might be,” Leveille said.
Kirsten McCrea’s illustrations to be featured in The Humber Literary Review can be found in The Humber Literary Review in April.
To find out more about Papirmass, other artwork and projects by McCrea go to hellokirsten.com.