Gwen Allen (Artists’ Magazines: An Alternative Space for Art)
To publish a magazine is to enter a heightened relationship with the present moment. Unlike books, which are intended to last for future generations, magazines are deliberately impermanent... magazines become an important new site of artistic practice, functioning as an an alternative exhibition space.
Gwen Allen (Artists’ Magazines: An Alternative Space for Art)
Some friends and I launched this project with a grant from Utah Valley University.
HEX was a weekly, community-based publication distributed throughout Utah County.
The aim was to highlight the vibrancy of the arts in the valley, kindle ideas for
creative living, affirm the attractiveness of the community and expand the scope
of its members by promoting urban and suburban exploration.
(The name HEX is an abstract nod to the tessellating shapes that make up honeycomb, the fruit of Utah’s state insect) I spent two years with the project editing, writing, photographing, designing, distributing, interviewing, recruiting contributors and securing funding for the publication.
For the first issue of Hex, we created a paper sculpture symbolizing the assembly and emergence of the new publication.
By the time this issue was printed, Nicola Pritchett and Conner Allen had taken over curatorial duties for HEX (along with Brette Richmond as lead designer), but all the photos in this issue were mine. So I feel at least a small degree of ownership.
Some people have a wonderful capacity to appreciate, again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy. A.H. Maslow
The Little Prince
by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
It simply reminds me to think like a child would think, to appreciate “plain” things that we see every day in a beautiful way. “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Bayley Brook Christensen, 18
The Power of Now
by Eckhart Tolle
It changed the way I think about and view problems. It made me stop worrying about the future and actually live in the moment. It’s liberating and powerful.
Kaitlin Snow, 22
Growing Up Brady
by Barry Williams
Untold secrets of the making of The Brady Bunch, it answered a lot of questions...
Lisa Pang Jarvie, 54
by Ayn Rand
The book demonstrated to me the principles of human efficacy and potential. It taught me humanistic optimism and perpetually inspires me to create a world that is mine and forge from it an existence that is both enriched and fulfilling.
All of this for the most monumentus of reasons: my own happiness.
Connor Allen, 20
Rich Dad Poor Dad
by Robert Kyosaki
It presented concepts I thought were fairly complex and unobtainable into relatively simple terms, and has made me look for more education about how to handle finances.
Patrick Cushenberry, 23
Art and Fear
by David Bayles
It addressed so many issues I had with my own image making and made me realize how silly I was being.
Kristen Knorr, 22
by Leo Tolstoy
I was living in Russia for a semester. The book rekindled my passion for the classics & it also began my love affair with Russian literature.
Kelly Cannon, 24
Women Who Run with the Wolves
by Clarisa Pinkola Estes.
It spoke to the depths of who I am and connected me to myself in a way no other book has.
Melinda Muir Uipi, 45
Man’s Search for Meaning
by Viktor Frankl
It gave suffering in life more meaning and purpose, and it brought me a lot of peace and confidence in being able to have a totally amazing life.
Nicki Schmidt Clark, 30
by Orson Scott Card
It really made me think about life on a grand scale.
Brad Myers, 24
by Etienne Delessert
I first read this book at a young age. It holds a melancholy tone with a sorrowful subtext, and after reading it at such a vulnerable age, I was scarred with inspiration. Ashes Ashes is a children's book featuring an unusual looking character who is compelled to take off on a pilgrimage after being told to “Shed Your Skin, Change Your Name, Wash Your Face Away.” He experiences many situations that are much like those of a curious and strong willed child. He seems happy, but his feelings of a need to move forward on his own tears him from the company of others... As an added note, this book was so influential for me that I got the character's canoe and the lines "Shed Your Skin, Change Your Name, Wash Your Face away" tattooed on my back.
Jessica Rawlins Mitchell, 23
by Amanda Mayer Stinchecum
It helped me to understand that everybody poops. Except for me. I'm a lady.
C.R. Diamond Tooth
I Am Robot
by Isaac Asimov
I was forced to re-define what it means to be a person, both how I react to others (possessing humanity), and what true life is. A person for me is now defined as anything, no matter where it came from, having a sentient mind. That person should have rights and respect given to them. Animals, etc do not have the same rights, but with their capability for pain, we are responsible for their well-being (no torture, no waste).
Keira Sloan Scholtz, 24
The Art of War
by Sun Tzu
Taught me how to deal with my mother.
Rafael Butron, 25
by Bob Burg
Made me realize that being a good person is going to help me in every area of my life.
Weston Arnsten, 26
by Jerry Spinelli
It was the first time I recognized what it means to be prejudiced and how one person can make a difference.
Sarah Mae Hess, 22
A Man Jumps Out of An Airplane
by Barry Yourgrau
It really influenced me as an artist and writer. It’s not necessarily deep or profound, especially on the surface, but it taught me different ways to tell stories, that there are more stunning, obscure, and beautiful ways to portray a thought.
Allie Barnes, 23
Anatomy of Peace
by Emery Reves
Completely changed my understanding of relationships, accountability, understanding and how all of these apply to obtaining peace in our own lives. We all may have peace, no matter our circumstance or surroundings. Love it.
Nicole Baird, 27
R is for Rocket
by Ray Bradbury
I first read it about 4 years ago and I fell in love with these heart-breaking stories about humanity and outer space. They are science fiction but they are such true representations of real life emotional responses. After reading it, I decided to read everything ever written by Ray Bradbury. I'm still working on that.
Lindsey Baker, 23
by Bill Peet
It's a story about a peaceful and beautiful planet where all the inhabitants (animals) live in harmony with nature until one day humans from another planet invade; ripping up the trees and grass replacing it with concrete and skyscrapers dumping chemicals into the water and air. Eventually they exhaust the planets clean air and water and leave. It's total hippy propaganda and I love it.
Annalee Morris, 21
by Lois Lowry
One of the first of its kind. Dystopian books completely blow my mind and I actually had to read this for my children's literature class this semester and I had never read it before. Books that open your mind and make you think are rad.
Neena Andersen Earl, 26
by Victor Hugo
I'm not an overly sentimental person but this is one of the few books that really makes me want to be a better person.
Ryan Goldsberry, 34
The Glass Castle
by Jeanette Walls
The title character's experience made me feel validated and seen. She gave me permission to walk away from toxic family relationships.
Vanessa Sandvig DeHart, 41
The Richest Man in Babylon
by George S. Clason
It taught me how to manage my money, put percentages towards savings, living, ect. Live off a percent of your income and not all your income.
Michelle Olthuis Moehle, 27
by Jeffrey Eugenides
Storytelling is powerful. This is the book that made me want to become a writer, made me truly appreciate the art and beauty of words.
Silvia Navejar, 26
by Elias Chacour
It's about the Christian (mostly) Palestinians and their plight in Israel as the Jews came over and displaced them; gives an entirely different perspective on Middle East/Israeli-Palestinian politics than what I thought before, and in a broader sense assisted me in having an epiphany that there are typically more sides than one in any given situation, a realization that nourishes me everyday as a husband, father, attorney and church member.
Sidney Balthasar Unrau, 48
The Things They Carried
by Tim O'Brian
I hated reading until I was given this book. Helped me in many ways overcome fear and accept challenges.
Mitchell Snow, 24
The Last Lecture
by Randy Paunch
It is a fantastic read that helped me learn how to live, even amidst hardships. It made me ponder, reflect, cry, laugh and be motivated to see what really makes life special and to live my dreams.
Nikki Barkume, 28
A People's History of the United States
by Howard Zinn
It changed my life for better and worse. Worse by making me more pessimistic and negative about things, better by forcing me to reevaluate many parts of my life, not necessarily particularly pertaining to history. However, it has forever changed the way I read history.
Caleb Darger, 21
The Portrait of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde
I found the English language was able to create pictures crisper than the eye could capture and humor better than the tongue could conjugate. What impacted me the most from the book is the story of the fall of man when it comes to hedonism—how if we were to get what we wanted all the time we would become lazy and destructive to ourselves and others. It helped me become the person who pays for what he wants, whether it be through work, study, determination, time, etc.
Darson Allred, 26
by Albert Camus
It was my first real exploration of a worldview other than Mormonism. I was fascinated by existentialism and absurdism—and I still am! My views on religion and philosophy have grown in many unexpected ways since picking up that book.
Nicole C. Vernon, 26
The Holy Secret
by James Ferrell
It teaches you to find holiness and love for the things that really matter; those things that God finds Holy. I learned to read and understand scriptures in a beautiful way. To ask questions and let it take me on a journey of discovery. It definitely makes you think on a deeper level, which I love.
Heidi Brinkerhoff, 30
Songs of Earth and Power
by Greg Bear
As a kid, I felt like it wasn't OK for a man to be interested in poetry, but this book made me believe that it was a pure, powerful form of expression, which ignited my love affair with all forms of writing.
Nick Scholz, 27
The Earth Has a Soul
by Carl Jung
Our culture (and most of the world) is sick from having severed humanity's vital connection with nature. Jung's book reminds me that I am a natural human being, and to act accordingly.
Lindsey Nelson, 29
Born to Love
by Clinton Brock
This book and the principles in it have been a game changer for me; literally a life saver. It has inspired me & helped me grow & heal in ways I didn't think possible. Everyday I practice the principles and I discover ever more amazing results.
Heaven is Here
by Stephanie Nielson
Five years ago, she was in a terrible airplane crash. She was severely burned and in a comma for 2 months. Since she is from Provo, she talks about Utah Valley so beautifully. Her love of motherhood and family life is simply inspiring. And her experience is just incredible. You can't read it without feeling awe at the power of hope and the perseverance of love.
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
by Tom Wolfe
I discovered an era and a counter-culture that would forever affect my tastes in music, books, movies and art. One led to another and I soon discovered my favorite authors, poets, and musicians from the Beat Generation into the revolution of the 1960s. These artists have inspired and informed my own writing since high school and continue to do so today.
Trish Hopkinson, 40
A Series of Unfortunate Events
by Lemony Snickets
Snicket's use of unique rhetoric and memorable characters were told in a such an artistic, melancholy way, and it inspired my childhood so drastically that I decided to become a writer and study literature (and possibly get a tattoo of an eye on my ankle). To this day, no book has made a similar impression upon me.
Jaren Jolley, 18
Tuesdays with Morrie
by Mitch Albom
This book made me cry harder than any other book I have read. It helped me to appreciate each day and to enjoy life in its simplest form. It also helped me to appreciate old people and their wisdom and stories, and taught me to reach out more to others around me and to slow down and take time with them. I recommend this book to all—especially those that (like me) are selfish and need to learn to be grateful again.
Faith Heaton Jolley, 24
Tuesdays with Morrie
by Mitch Albom
My 12th grade English teacher had us read the book, but before she did she swore that it would be different than any other book that had been assigned to students in the past. And it was. It was literally the first time I couldn't put a book down, and it was for an assignment. The book is just full of Morrie's input from a perspective that I have never experienced.
Kevin Olsen, 22
Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher
This book made a huge difference in the way I treat and judge people. Not only was the way I look at others different but the way I look at life. “You can't go back to how things were. How you thought they were. All you really have is... now.”
McKayla Koch, 18
Everything Is Illuminated
by Jonathan Safran Foer
It taught me that it's okay to love people how I want to do so, that there's nothing wrong with love, especially not in the face of danger and fate.
Hunter Moore, 18
Alice in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll
It is the basis on which I judge any main character in my life and currently dictates how I choose the people I let surround me.
Katt Mason, 32
Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger
At the time I thought I was mature and had everything figured out, but it made me question my maturity.
Kathleen Frewin, 20
by Mario Puzo
Taught me that ignorance is no way to live.
Chris Pavlos, 27
Three Cups of Tea
by Greg Mortenson
Makes me want to get involved with helping girls get an education and empowering women.
Bobby Nofchissey, 61
by Tom Robbins
Truly psychedelic fiction. Reminds me time is illusionary and when two people commit to each other, they can outlast the fabric of reality.
Hannah Smith, 24
Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone.
This book taught me the joy in reading a good book. It was a constant in my life through some crazy years, and it has a good message.
Chrys Rafferty, 22
by Sharon Creech
It inspired me just to run and be myself. But more importantly, she was an example of accepting changes and growing with them.
Boston Walch, 20
The Diving Bell and The Butterfly
by Jean-Dominique Bauby
It was powerful because of the effort it took to write every single word (it was transcribed as the author blinked his left eye—the only movement he was capable of after a massive stroke). It also helped me to think about the importance of human thoughts and writing them down.
Alex Heywood, 19
by Ayn Rand
Feeling guilty for doing well is insanity and will result in the collapse of the economy and society, as we can see all around us. It reaffirmed and solidified my philosophy that by striving hard to fulfill my potential, I make the world a better place. Excelling isn't selfish, it is essential.
Katherine Elizabeth Pyne, 27
by Pat Conroy
It helped me learn about people and what makes them tick. So interesting. I cried when I finished it.
Kris Bunnell, 33
The Art of Racing in the Rain
by Garth Stein
This book changed my perspective on the capacity that humans/animals have to love. It is about loyalty life and love. Every living creature needs relationships to gain meaning and perspective in their lives. That aspect of life is essential for each of us and has the ability to get us through even the darkest hour.
Tishna Lynn Campbell, 26
Roll of Thunder Hear Me Cry
by Mildred D. Taylor
It was probably the first book that made me cry and woke me up to prejudice.
Sunny Hendry, 25
The (self-proclaimed) Jocks of Geekdom
by Clark Goldsberry
Rain rolled down the windshield, but my vision still seemed impaired when I stepped out of my car.
I saw a wet field of grass, with tall, dripping trees, and a blur of tunics, cloaks and chainmail darting through the trunks. As I approached, and my vision seemed to get worse, the Sun broke through the clouds, flashing on damp shields and swords as they spun and twisted and clashed in the rain. In those brief moments, I wasn’t in Utah and it wasn’t the 21st century.
I had stumbled onto combat practice for the Watchmen of Ered Duath, a realm within the Belegarth Medieval Combat Society. This realm, along with hundreds of others all around the world, endeavors to bring the Dark Ages to the light. Each member adopts a persona, dons period-specific garb, wields a foam-covered weapon and battles to win their guild favor among the expansive community of neo-Medievalists.
“Within our group there’s a spectrum,” said Thomas Baker, or Elwrath Blood Falcon, who joined the guild over a decade ago. Some are more intrigued by the imaginative aspect and others are intrigued more by the combat aspect, but most, like Baker, view the combat as a sport. “There’s no magic, no leveling up. It’s a game as regimented as football. There are legal and illegal moves, there’s an honor system and referees.”
But more than a sport, everyone agrees, it’s a community. The incredibly eclectic group is extremely cohesive. It offers much more than bruises and an excuse to hit people with foam-covered pvc pipe. Bruce Nash, or Nashova of the Forsaken, who has been fighting in the guild for over 14 years, mentioned some of the benefits of Medieval combat. “I had a real rage issue as a kid and I was depressed. When I first started coming to Belegarth in my teens I ran into supportive people who helped me get to a better place. And now I’ve been doing it for over half my life.”
Watching the group fight as the Sun dove into the hills, I saw people from every walk of life. Ages ranged from 14 to 40-somethings, and attire spanned the entire gamut from chainmail to Killswitch Engage t-shirts. Some wore tunics and cloaks, others wore basketball shorts and sneakers. As I watched, a Jeep filled with high schoolers sped by yelling obscenities at the group. And yet they kept fighting, completely un-phased. I couldn’t tell if they were oblivious to the profanity or if it was so commonplace that it no longer ruffled their feathers. Either way, I was impressed at their general lack of concern for the negativity that had been thrown at them. There was something magnetic about Belegarth that drew in a wide variety of people—and then kept them there.
The Watchmen of Ered Duath (or the “Watchmen of the Shadow Mountains” in Elvish) has been an active realm for over 20 years. Other realms in the surrounding area have come and gone, but the Watchmen have remained in full force. The exact recipe for a successful, cohesive realm is hard to pin down, but each member I talked to mentioned that the personalities within their group, although obscure, were warm and open to everyone. And if a group doesn’t meld socially, they said, it will split apart.
Personalities, in addition to a combined interest in Medievalism, are the binding forces in these realms. Baker summed up his 10 years of Belegarth experience by saying, “I used to love the combat, but now it’s the people that keep me coming. I’ve created a family.”
Their convictions rang in my ears as I walked back to my car, and back to the 21st century.