As the art world slowed down in 2020, the Elephant team considered our own pace, allowing ourselves more time to create two beautifully crafted, collectible print issues per year. Over the last six months, we have evaluated the things that matter the most to us: joyful design, artists who are breaking down boundaries, and candid conversations about vital social issues. Today we launch the first issue in our brand-new biannual format: Issue 45, Spring/Summer 2021.
A full redesign by art director Tom Joyes places playfulness and accessibility at the forefront of the new magazine, with references to comic-book styles, teen pulp titles and lifestyle magazine layouts. New typography is also introduced throughout, using guest typefaces from up-and-coming foundries including ABC Dinamo and Pizza Typefaces.
Artists, their work and their voices, continue to be at the centre of the magazine, giving space to everyone from the emerging to the established. Elephant’s first double interview takes the form of a conversation between cover stars Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe and Kwesi Botchway, who discuss the new age of portraiture, their encounters with the art market, and the language of Black representation. Quaicoe’s striking self-portrait features on the main-release cover, while a detail from Botchway’s Metamorphose in July appears on a limited-edition version.
In New York, New Guard, we visit the young makers who continue to work in the US metropolis, despite the many spatial and financial challenges that come with it: Farah al Qasimi, Quil Lemons and more share stories of competition, survival and poignant peer support in the Big Apple. Intimacy and physical closeness—both sorely missed in our mid-pandemic world—are threaded throughout the magazine, from Bruegel’s raucous moments of 16th-century revelry, to the surreal sensuality of Aaron Gilbert’s domestic scenes.
“A full redesign by art director Tom Joyes places playfulness and accessibility at the forefront of the new magazine”
Art’s power to make meaningful change is as present as ever: the issue includes in-depth interviews with award-winning artist and activist Poulomi Basu (photographed by Maria Lax), food-focused duo Cooking Sections, multidisciplinary artist Alberta Whittle, and the groundbreaking photographer Ingrid Pollard. Experimental features include the first instalment in an exclusive series by Toyin Ojih Odutola, poetry from Joël Andrianomearisoa and a collaborative essay on the architecture of Marseille from Jayden Ali and Lotty Sanna. A new portfolio section also presents work by Imogen-Blue Hinojosa, which explores transitioning and the representation of trans bodies.
The last year has brought even more urgency to climate conversations, and there are many things to learn from this period of reduced output. Placing anything physical into the world carries a weight of responsibility, and we are proud to create a magazine that is fully recyclable, with FSC certified paper stocks and all printing carbon offset through our investment in Netherlands national park De Biesbosch.