Spare Magazine focuses on opening conversations, community as new student-run art magazine // The Observer

Spare Magazine is a new art magazine on campus in the process of publishing their first issue in April. Spare first started as an idea in the room of sophomore and current Editor-in-Chief Geo Tabet. He expressed to Spare Magazine’s now creative director and first-year Anita Feng his desire for students to have more platforms to showcase their art. 

Tabet, who had just declared his minor in Studio Art at the time, understood that community engagement is a critical element to the artistic process. Thus, Tabet said he had concerns in Notre Dame’s lack of opportunities for student artists to gain engagement for their works without relying on the arts programs. 

“We want to create a community where artists engage and interact,” Tabet said. 

Tabet also compared his upbringing in Lebanon to the political correctness of our campus and American culture.

“We can’t say that, we don’t talk about this, we can talk about that,” Tabet said, encapsulating his view of America. 

On the other hand, Tabet said he felt that places abroad were open to having more personal conversations. He said he wanted a platform to Notre Dame that encouraged those conversations through the vehicle of art. 

“Spare, as an idea, is to enable conversation without boundaries and without sensors through the use of art,” Tabet said.

Visual productions director of Spare Magazine and senior Ian Baker stated Tabet’s ideas were what made him excited to join the team. Specifically, Baker said he appreciated how Spare is encouraging people to not censor themselves, despite the environment that they are in.

Accordingly, the upcoming issue aims to address conflict and showcase people’s lives of different backgrounds. Tabet said the issue will further explore how those differences in people can either conflict or complement and develop within relationships and is intended to be looked at as a whole body of work rather than individual pieces. 

The magazine’s name came about as the reoccurrence of the word “spare” caught Tabet’s eyes while drafting the mission statement. The word is now reflected in the magazine’s tagline: “Spare us the glamour, the glitter, the looks, and give us authenticity.”  

Spare Magazine is a space for student artists who wish to “enable conversation without boundaries”, according to Editor-in-Chief Geo Tabet said.

In response to Spare, some students have questioned its relation and difference to Strike Magazine Notre Dame on social media. Strike Magazine is a nationwide student-run fashion and culture publication that can be found at many universities. 

Tabet, who worked formally at Strike Magazine ND, had discussed with one of Strike ND’s executives before launching Spare. He said they both agreed that a singular magazine cannot serve justice to the diverse creative communities on campus.

“There are so many different communities and variations of art,” Tabet said. 

Strike ND encouraged the launch of Spare according to Tabet, as it is Strike ND’s mission to foster creative communities. Furthermore, Strike ND showed support for Spare by notifying their staff that they will not tolerate ill-comments being made about Spare. 

Tabet added that both magazines help each other out when needed. Tabet himself is helping out Strike ND with a project this Saturday. 

Despite the support from Strike ND, Tabet and Baker shared the difficulties in launching Spare.

Tabet elaborated that it was difficult to get artists’ ideas across desirably, while also managing business.

Baker similarly encountered difficulties in creating and capturing art. He had to quickly change the format for the magazine and his approach to organizing shoots.

“Creating art is not always going to look uniform — it’s not always going to look the same,” Baker said. 

In particular, Baker found that micromanaging harmed the creative process, while an extended timeline allowed for more authenticity.

“[It was important] to give people grace to do the things that they want to do and to create in the space they want to,” Baker said. 

For Spare, allowing for an authentic expression of art also meant including medium beyond what would fit within a magazine. Specifically, Spare’s Instagram account allows artists to display video or music as forms of art via artist spotlights. 

“Art is not just drawings,” Baker said. “Art is photography and videography, and music and dance, and expression.” 

To emphasize that Spare was more than a magazine, the directors of Spare hosted a House Concert back in February. The guests principally consisted of staff members in order for them to get to know each other better. The House Concert intentionally combined different forms of art by including musicians, graphic artists and visual artists to the scene.

Strike Magazine artist CJ Rodgers created a representation of the seven deadly sins to celebrate the publication’s House Concert.

“Spare is a community where artists can come together and share what they’re working on and what they’re passionate about,” Baker stated. 

The seven deadly sins was the theme of the House Concert. The unique theme allowed people to creatively show their artistic expressions through makeup and outfits.

Overall, Baker said he hopes that the Notre Dame community will view Spare as a space where people can express themselves freely and lean into their passions through their art. 

Tabet said he hopes that Spare will allow for more people to be praised for their work that goes unseen. But even more importantly, he said he is aiming for the strengthening of the community through increased conversations.  

“I just want people to gain exposure, gain experience, gain knowledge and interactions with other people,” Tabet said. “And start to love one another more.”

Currently, Spare’s department staff are set, but the magazine is open to models, art and writing submissions. The submission form can be found in their Instagram bio.

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