Interview: Élémentaire Zine

We spoke to Mark Kiszely and Theodora Pangos, the team behind arts publication Élémentaire Zine and we exclusively reveal the poster for their next issue! How did we get such a scoop? Well it helps when one of them is also part-Raccoon.

Élémentaire’s idea is simple but effective, they announce their theme and then showcase submitted work from artists based around that initial concept. Within two issues they have managed to gather a vast amount of interest from numerous photographers, painters, collage artists and more across the globe. Currently the zine is halfway through it’s ‘Element’ series and we can announce that the theme for next issue will be ‘Earth’ and show you the cool new poster.


We asked the project founders Mark and Theodora about Élémentaire Zine’s future, the ideas behind the publication and our chances of being involved:

Hey guys, can you tell us a bit about the idea behind Élémentaire Zine?

Mark Kiszely:  ‘Élémentaire is a platform to showcase artwork in all its mediums. The idea is pretty simple, we aim to create a publication that is one half magazine, one half exhibition.’

Theodora Pangos: ‘The magazine is tailored around finding and showcasing talented creatives and their work. The work submitted and shown in the magazine has links to the artist’s website and a small biography. Planned exhibition events with the selected submissions for the magazine will be produced regularly. This will mostly interrogate the physicality of the object and how editorial and exhibition design can be fused: create environments that communicate.’

You have released two issues so far; the first ‘Water’ and the second being ‘Fire’. Did you notice a distinct difference in the type of work submitted for both?

MK: ‘Its difficult to say. With ‘Water’ we relied solely on submissions and artists taking the time to send work to a zine with no history, something we appreciated hugely. For ‘Fire’ we began to source some artists personally, if we felt their work suited our style and added another dimension to the zine. The submission route, however, is something we believe passionately in. There are a hell of a lot of hidden gems out there that we’re desperate to unearth’

TP: ‘The caliber of the submissions continued to be the same, but what has changed is the quantity. We’ve had some excellent submissions and we hope this will resume.’

Are you surprised with the sheer amount of interest you have received from people in just two issues?

TP: ‘Élémentaire is growing organically. We are trying to engage with work and ideas that interest us and it seems that people are interested in that as well. It’s about wanting to make things, to create new ways of engaging in ideas and by keeping the magazine cross-disciplinary, we are able to attract audiences from all these different worlds and introduce them to other mediums.’

Is there a particular piece you were really proud to have featured?

MK: ‘All of them? That sounds a tactical answer but it’s really true. We wouldn’t include a piece if we didn’t admire it.’

TP: ‘Tima Radya’s ( work that was featured in the ‘Fire’ Issue explores the attribute and potential that we as artists can serve as agents for social change. I think that a piece is successful if there is an educational process that the audience can learn to appreciate.’

What’s the theme of the next issue and what does that mean to you?

MK: ‘The next issue will be all about ‘Earth’. It’s the penultimate issue in our element series, and one I’ve been especially excited for! I think it provides the widest scope out of all of the elements, so I’m looking forward to displaying a very diverse selection of work. It’s also the first issue where I’ve thought about submitting work myself, so I’m certainly taking a much stronger personal interest in it.’

What kind of themes are you going to use once you’ve moved past the elements?

MK: ‘Now that would be ruining the surprise, wouldn’t it? There are some big ideas contending for the next series though, so don’t you fret, and we might even throw in the odd one-off in between series.

What is the final goal for Élémentaire? Are you hoping to eventually have a physical publication?

TP: ‘We try hard to support the cultural growth and believe in working collaboratively towards that. It is an un-mediated forum that doesn’t have to go through the filter of saleability, through which artists can reach the public directly with their work. We make it simply because we want people to read it and be inspired. Our aim is to keep it moving forward with exhibits and artistic collaborations.’

MK: ‘We’re already experimenting and discussing ways in which we could bring Élémentaire into print form. We want the magazine itself to be a work of art, and to feel special the holder, both in content and in texture. When Élémentaire takes the next step we’ll be doing it properly, so bear with us whilst we explore. 

Exhibitions of the work from each issue is also certainly something we aim to achieve, incorporating set design to create a real atmosphere and adding an element of interactivity. Other than that, we’re just taking it one step at a time, giving ourselves time to grow. A final goal makes it sound like it will end. I guess our only final goal is that it never does.’ 

If we submitted some tasteful nudes of us wearing Raccoon masks, what are the chances that we could be in the next issue?

MK: ‘Perhaps if you create a Raccoon mask out of leaves and twigs we could take it into consideration?’

(We’re taking that as a definite yes.)

If you’re an artist looking to display your work in the next issue or you’re just looking to find out more, then you should check out the Élémentaire Zine Facebook for all the details and links to the first two issues.


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