FEATURE | 28 August 2019
Photos: Courtesy of The Earth Issue, Pages from Issue No. 3
Interview & Text: Martin Hufnagel
THE EARTH ISSUE
The Earth Issue is a collective of artists and creative professionals working at the intersection of fine art and environmentalism. I talked to founder Elena Cremona about making a magazine without any experience, the feeling after the release of the first issue, her future plans, and much more.
When did you become aware of the environment/the earth?
When I became more aware of myself and my surroundings and my conscious thoughts etc, I also became more aware of what it means to be connected to our earth. I think people have trouble going beyond themselves. It’s quite easy to just get stuck with yourself instead of actually seeing the world for what it is, that it needs help, that it needs a voice, that it needs a community. If you have love for others, then you have love for the planet as well, and that is what we need right now.
How did you get the idea to create a magazine? And what were your intentions when launching The Earth Issue?
It all started by trying to make sense of all the different aspects that we are born into. I’ve always found it hard to understand society and its constant preoccupation, obsession even, for needing and wanting material possessions, rather than appreciating the planet that we inhabit. Humanity has altered the definition of what it means to be a visitor on this home we call Mother Earth. We are now driven by power, money and exploitation, and satisfying greed seems to be placed above the wellbeing of our planet.
As a photographer, I find it important to use my work as a tool to awaken consciousness and to create a sense of awareness and respect for our irreplaceable landscapes. To me, being able to create is the most honest form of self-expression. It’s important for me to actively be part of a movement, and even to be able to provide people with a platform, represented by visual artists and environmental activists who share a dedication to raising awareness of the beauty of nature.
The Earth Issue is a testament of artists who have come together through mutual love for our environment. The Earth Issue started as a printed publication and has now grown into a collective of creative professionals working at the intersection of fine art and environmentalism. Organizing exhibitions, workshops, competitions, and educational talks – we hope to challenge the mindset of society, to inspire and harness the power of social change and, most of all, to evoke an emotional and tactile connection between Nature and us.
Most of all, The Earth Issue is about trying to unite all the wonderful nature loving artists and giving them a platform to showcase how influential nature truly is.
Did you have any experience making a magazine before? How did you find collaborators?
Absolutely none. I was lucky to work with my co-founder Maela Ohana who has had experience with zines and online zines. She is the founder of the Archive Collective, an online platform (and now gallery) in Montreal, which has a big following already. Together we sent out an open call, and gathered collaborators that way, and also approached artists who we liked ourselves. At this point, we have a big platform and community with The Earth Issue, so finding collaborators is never hard – there are so many inspirational artists out there.
What was the feeling after the publication of the first issue?
Proud, and a feeling of being able to share that with others.
On what kind of paper is the magazine printed, and how is it produced?
All our issues are printed using non-soya vegetable oil-based inks on 100% recycled paper. We work with a printer in the UK that is powered by 100% renewable energy with investment in waterless printing presses, using vegetable oil based inks and with a zero waste to landfill policy since 2005.
Anglia Print has eliminated the use of all hazardous substances and water in production. Being certified carbon neutral, they use materials from eco-friendly, ethically and environmentally certified sources: 95% (by volume) of the material purchased is Forest Stewardship Council certified or recycled.
What are your future plans for The Earth Issue?
We will be ever expanding our collective as a creative platform through publications, exhibitions, educational talks and other collaborative projects. Our aim is to bring art to the forefront of climate change discussion. At The Earth Issue, we believe that creativity is one of the most powerful tools to effect social change. We want to enable artists who are passionate about nature to unleash their creativity on to the world and stand up for the preservation of our planet. Our values lie in collaboration, nature preservation, sustainability, creativity, integrity, inclusivity, innovation and the educational benefits of art.
As an independent label in the UK, what’s the most challenging topic at the moment?
There are so many at the moment. This year has really shone a magnifying glass on a lot of very important issues that needed to change for a long time, and I’m happy about that. The most challenging as a new brand is navigating Covid-19 and the new challenges it brings. Keeping our studio, partners and customers safe is the most important thing.