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Art Q&A with Saffron Lily of (un)titled

Aug. 12, 2020
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Adolescent Content had the opportunity to interview Saffron Lily, the founder of (un)titled, a fellow youth-based publication. (un)titled, as indicated by the name, brands itself as a platform that resists labels while aiming “to support and elevate the diverse voices of emerging artists” and “create a beautiful, tangible, and inspiring collection of work.” 

Saffron is one of our own here at Adolescent, and we were so excited to chat with them as a youth platform founder about their goals for (un)titled, their inspirations for the brand, and their commitment to diversity.

Adolescent Content: What motivated you to start (un)titled? How did the idea come about?
Saffron Lily: I’ve always been inspired by zine culture and publications, how a community of voices and statements can be brought together in an immediately tangible sense. I was always interested in the idea of producing a publication and was fortunate enough to be surrounded by lots of art books, magazines, and newspapers growing up, so it felt like an idea that was always with me. (un)titled itself really came from a craving for a community and platform for alternative media. From my experience of submitting work from a young age, although there were some beautiful projects that I’m grateful to have had, I felt like there was a need for more platforms for artists that were young and emerging and just generally more representations of voices in media that held agency. (un)titled progressed from there.

Adolescent: Where do you draw inspiration for (un)titled? Are there any brands that have influenced the design of the publication?
Saffron: I have lots of inspirations for (un)titled—from the artists [we] feature in it, to other publications that honor creating original content such as Rookie, Crack Magazine, and i-D. I’m also inspired by the intimacy of journals and notebooks—and how that rawness can be kept and placed in an editorial sense.

Adolescent: If you had to pick a color that captures the essence of (un)titled, what would it be?
Saffron: I feel like it’s hard to assign just one—but the first shades that come to mind are black and white. Bold, minimal, and with the potential to make a statement. 

Adolescent: (un)titled is named because of its commitment to dispelling labels. In your opinion, how can labels be harmful in our society?
Saffron: I think when discussing labels in terms of identity and the language we use to express them, they can be a valuable tool—a way of providing visibility. The concept behind (un)titled was [rejecting] being defined by labels that are put upon you and instead asking what happens when others are given the space to be completely in control of that narrative. The expression really comes from the idea that it’s okay to be not one or the other but exist in multiples and that however you identify, whether you choose to or not, is valid, regardless of the perceptions that are made by others. I think labels become harmful when there’s a judgment and aggression based on a lack of understanding.

Adolescent: (un)titled is also committed to sharing diverse perspectives. What does diverse mean to you in this context?
Saffron: In the context of the publication, diverse means featuring work across a variety of mediums from international and unseen perspectives. There’s also a focus on providing a space and community to young and emerging artists within this bracket, as I feel these perspectives are underlooked, with less forums available. Within this lens however, artists included have been at different stages in life and careers—from interviews with industry professionals to people who are stepping into a new skill. 

Adolescent: What challenges have you faced in starting your own publication? What advice might you have for others who want to do the same?
Saffron: I think starting a publication comes with a lot of challenges, the most predominant challenge being financial—especially because it’s independently produced. Finding balance and working with limited resources can be tough, but building a community and publishing work has made it worth the process. The project has many ways it can grow. That’s why each social-media share, each copy of an issue bought, each submission always has such a direct and valuable impact. I’m working out how to make the project financially viable long-term, and there’ll be upcoming information on how to get involved and support the project through our platforms. To those starting out, I would say don’t put too much pressure on yourself and enjoy the process of learning new things. Keep pushing and placing importance on creating what you believe in. I would also encourage people to reach out and make connections with those you want to work with, even if it feels daunting.
Adolescent: Do you have any all-time favorite pieces that you’ve published that you feel speak to the essence of the publication?
Saffron: It’s too hard to pick a favorite! I love how they all converse with one another, which I think speaks to the essence of the publication. Each one holds different merit. You can read all of the past features on the website. I’m also really excited about sharing some new features that will be a part of Issue 003. 

Adolescent: Where do you see (un)titled in five years? What long-term goals do you have for it?
Saffron: I hope that (un)titled becomes financially supportive to artists and viable long-term and that the community grows, with more team members involved. I’d love to work on [offering] more events that focus on highlighting perspectives, alongside regular print issues and maintaining online content.

Adolescent: What can your audience always look forward to seeing in (un)titled?
Saffron: A collection of conversations from an array of international artists. A space to find something new, feel a comfort in, and be inspired.