Fresh from the dramatics of last week, the focus shifts from athletics to art on the blog this week. Last night saw one of our current crafters celebrating the official launch of an open art space right in the heart of Bristol and connected to her project on Sponsorcraft. Simone Kidner, a student in her 6th year of studying Architecture at the University of the West of England, has embarked on an exciting new project called PAPERpotential. PAPERpotential is a magazine that will showcase the very best in creative talent from around the Bristol area. As well as distributing the printed editions to various locations around the city, the magazine will be linked to an online network where subscribers and businesses will be able to access the portfolios of great local creatives. This will allow users of the network to appreciate work, seek cooperation with projects and even offer jobs.
So why has she chosen to do this? And why now, you might ask?
Who better to ask than the founder/crafter-in-chief herself? Creative people need more ways of getting their skills and work out into the open, explains Simone. “When students leave university they are in their creative prime; they are stuffed full of ideas and enthusiastic about getting out into the world of work. But it can also be a daunting process – how do we get out there and show people our ideas and skills? Well, my friends, we start a magazine that is linked to an online social network, which local creative businesses can access to search for the best local creative talent for their needs.”
Sound like a neat idea? It’s an especially attractive one at the moment, we feel. Too many talented youngsters struggle to demonstrate their creativity in any way that might lead them to a job. They have few platforms from which to do so. PAPERpotential sets out to change all that. It aims to provide inspirational young minds with a much larger audience for their work. But not only this. The goal is to be of benefit both to those wishing to promote themselves beyond their immediate friendship circles and to groups and businesses hunting for certain skills. Who knows? Some of the work could even give birth to new projects and businesses. It can therefore be seen as an information exchange through the medium of something wonderfully creative, like a publication.
What kind of work is Simone looking for then?
Simone has a broad definition of creative talent and is hoping for contributions from a wide range of areas. “I’m not going to tell anybody they can’t be featured in the magazine,” says Simone. “Anybody can be creative, no matter what their field. If we like their work, they’ll be in there.” By way of example, Simone told us of a scientist she knew who grew clusters of mould over a map of the UK to illustrate the motorway network. “It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but something like that can be a great way of getting people to experiment with different disciplines. Why can’t scientists be creative too?”
Great! How can I get involved?
People from the Bristol area are being invited to send images, text, small samples of work and to tell PAPER what their skills and motivations are so that Simone and co can verify that they will be ‘an inspirational asset to the network’. We’re not sure exactly what this means either but I might send in some old doodles and see if I can get a feature Successful applicants will be invited to register and put together an online portfolio. Once complete, they will have full access to the network and begin to reap its many benefits.
What are these benefits exactly?
Members will benefit from access to other inspirational work from a variety of creative fields, they can get advice from their peers, will hear first about up and coming events and local creative jobs and, last but not least, they’ll be in the running to be published in PAPER for free. This could happen on a number of different occasions if somebody keeps producing exciting work.
According to Simone, “every edition, we will combine the brilliant minds of 10 creatives from different fields to showcase not only their individual excellence but their ability to work together in producing the PAPERpotential magazine.” Being seen to be involved with such a young, vibrant and collaborative publication would represent one obvious bonus for contributors. However, there is also the fact that, as a consequence, they could now find themselves targeted by businesses.
How exactly will that work? And what kinds of businesses will they be?
“We will link this network to creative businesses through the subscription,” says Simone. “This will allow local businesses to access the network, to advertise jobs, and search for people that have the skills they require. We aim to help creative people reach their potential.” By this, she means unlocking career potential as well as just raw artistic potential. The goal is to translate skills into something people can pursue as more than just a hobby. And to create something beautiful in the process.
Simone is looking for anyone with a creative approach to what they do. She has already received a lot of interest locally but, as ever, the more people that apply, the better the magazine’s content will be. The same, of course, applies to businesses. The more businesses that get involved, the better the creative opportunities for people on the network. The network she’s growing will only get stronger over time.
What will the magazines look like then?
Simone was keen that PAPERpotential would not have a heavily branded and commercial feel. “Our front cover is a canvas completely dedicated to a piece of outstanding work from within the magazine, no text or logos, simply the work,” she told us. However, she hasn’t left the magazine without any way of recognising it. “The magazine is uniquely identifiable by its cut edge,” explains Simone. When turned sideways, a series of (what originally seem like bizarre) cuts to the right edge of the magazine all of a sudden appear to spell out the outline of the word PAPER. I have to confess to being utterly mindblown by this when she first revealed it to me. I’ve no doubt you will be too.
In addition to this, when lined up together, the spines of all the magazines will reveal another piece of work. This will not only add a sense of unity to the series but will also make them collectable and incentivise people who miss an edition to buy it.
In the words of Simone herself, “the magazine itself will be a piece of art – a collector’s item – and each issue is themed to unite the work, providing quality content to a wide audience of creative minds.” The idea is not just to cram the magazine full of creative content (as good as that would be) but to have a theme to bring it all into some sort of cohesive whole.
OK, sounds cool. So why has she decided to start this project in Bristol?
Simone has been impressed by the amount of creative people in the city and wants to build a creative community which shares ideas and cooperates. “I am from Bristol and have always been amazed by the wealth of creativity within this city,” says Simone. “There is an endless supply of talented people here that would benefit from being exposed to a wider audience. I want to show you what creative people can achieve when working together.”
Anything else I should know about?
Simone’s working to establish a creative network that convenes and cooperates in person rather than only in print and online. She’s set up some live art space leading up to her shop, PAPERstudios, at The Galleries in Broadmead. “Alongside PAPER we are also opening a pop-up studio with gallery and shop,” she explains. “PAPERstudios creates low-cost studio space for individuals looking to work within a creative community, allowing us to bounce ideas off each other, collaborate and share information.”
What kinds of things does she get up to when she’s not working on PAPERpotential?
Simone has just finished her 6th year of an Architecture course at UWE. She also has a passion for handmade jewellery.
“Alongside full-time education and setting up PAPERpotential, I also collaborate with a friend entering architecture competitions and have a small business making and selling my own jewellery locally in Bristol.”
It was actually the experience of entering these competitions that caused Simone to come up with the idea for PAPERpotential.
“We were doing competitions and sending in our work and we suddenly thought it would be great to actually see all the entries; to be the person who was receiving them all,” explains Simone. “I thought I’d set up a magazine and encourage all sorts of talented people to submit work for it.”
What kind of people might benefit from the magazine?
“I am hardworking and creative,” says Simone. “I think I represent the type of person that we want to promote at PAPERpotential. I believe that this project could help set up numerous opportunities for people to collaborate and find work in their desired field.” PAPER certainly has potential. It could be an amazing resource for aspiring young creatives in Bristol.
Why is she teaming up with Sponsorcraft?
She’s currently raising funding for the project over new Bristol-based crowd-funding platform, Sponsorcraft. “I really liked the idea of Sponsorcraft because when I go to people asking for sponsorship, there’s something for them to see,” says Simone. “It’s laid out nicely with the video and the rewards. It’s not just me saying ‘Give me money!’ It’s also a lot more secure for people who want to fund me. I’m there on the website. It’s clear what I want to do. I’m contactable. I’m not just going to run away and spend the money down the pub.”
In much the same way as Sponsorcraft showcases exciting projects for fans of the website and potential sponsors, PAPERpotential will showcase exciting artists and innovators for fans of the magazine and businesses looking for specific skills.
What exactly does she need the money for? How will it be spent?
Simone is looking for £3850. She’s chosen not to stuff the magazine itself with all manner of advertisements so will have to find alternative ways of funding the project. “We may be creative, hard working and full of potential, but we need a kick start,” she explains. The costs will be split into advertising (printing Posters and Flyers looking to reach creative people for content, as well as businesses looking for creative skills – £200), printing and distributing the first issue (printing – £1800, distribution – £100) and, finally, they need to get the full and completed ‘Social Network Website’ up and running (they currently have a holding website to advertise the project but want to provide a creative resource, service and to build a social network too! This will cost £1400 to produce and run).