It takes sass and guts to stand out among the plethora of newly founded independent print publications crowding the scene these days. Catching us by its name and hooking us in with its content, the Adelaide, Australia-based KRASS Journal describes itself as “independent, ambitious, gracefully impolite” and aims to be a platform for diverse discussion. The bi-annual publication was co-founded by Sanja Grozdanic and Tess Martin, with art direction by Simon Pearce (of Frame Creative), “as an alternative to a mainstream media that, we believe, too often underestimated the intelligence and sophistication of their reader,” Grozdanic tells CH. “So many publications underestimate their reader. We hope to do the opposite. We’re writing for the critical, the open, the curious, the defiant.”
Their inaugural issue, hot off the press, features interviews with South African photographer Henrik Purienne, Australian human rights lawyer Julian Burnside, Melbourne’s supremely talented future soul quartet Hiatus Kaiyote, radical Beijing artist Ren Hang, a Catalan bank robber and more. “KRASS is German slang term for cool, tough, wicked,” Grozdanic tells CH. “It is a word we appropriated as an antidote to the slick and saccharine. The magazine doesn’t shy away from nudity, features minimal retouching and has a whole shoot sans make-up, so we are certainly aiming for our own aesthetic, and the name reflects this.”
“Molly Crabapple was KRASS’ first interview,” Grozdanic explains. “I read a piece she wrote, and found myself writing an essay in response. I emailed her, attached my writing, and asked for an interview. I didn’t know if she’d respond; she’s a symbol of strength and intelligence and humanity to me, so much more than a person who writes back to emails. She did respond. She told me that my essay was badass, and that yes, she would be interviewed.” With that approach, KRASS promises to continue offering left-of-center interviews—no matter how well-known the subject is. “KRASS is a brilliant excuse to interview a never-ending supply of brilliant minds. We write fan mail to people we find fascinating, and hope that they have time for us,” Grozdanic says.
Apathy is very dull to us.
Issue 2 is currently in the works, and features an interview with Noam Chomsky. During the interview, the topic turns to Egyptian feminist Nawal El Sadaawi. Chomsky tells KRASS, “An artist is a dissident in the sense that creative art, or any other creative activity, science or even creativity in your personal life, means departing, or at least holding up conventions to some kind of challenge and either departing from them or modifying them. If you simply conform passively, and obediently, you’re not being creative.” Grozdanic says that quote sums up KRASS’s position too, “If you’re afraid of being political, you’re either being disingenuous or willfully ignorant. Apathy is very dull to us.”
Issue 1 of KRASS Journal retails for $25; visit their Facebook page for a full list of international stockists.
Images courtesy of KRASS Journal