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YCE: Useless Magazine

What started off as a music zine has become a credible art publication.

Useless, the brainchild of New York artist and photographer Conrad Ventur, started out as a stapled music zine, but over five years since its launch, has morphed into a tabloid-sized, much sought-after art publication. Ventur, who earned his first credit as a photographer of New York City’s burgeoning art and music scene in 2000, finished his MFA at London’s Goldsmiths, and cites Andy Warhol’s early Interview magazine as his key influence. “We didn’t want to be precious with it” the 30-year-old explains. “The mag was meant to be sort of here today, gone tomorrow. We weren’t out to make some holy grail of what’s cool and what’s not – we just wanted to share what we personally thought was fun and interesting.”

Name a person or organization that shares your DIY ethos, and explain why.
I started USELESS as a platform for the talent of people working in the creative industries, whether it be in photography, journalism, visual art, music, art direction etc.. This enabled me to loosely organize a community of like-minded people, at least a couple times a year when we publish. I give lots of props out to other independent publications that I think share this drive to organize communities, like Interviu (Doug Richmond), Matt magazine, Mono Kultur, Destroyer, Pablo International, Elk, After Collapse, Zero Tolerance, U.V., Face Hug and Site to mention just a few.

Send us a picture/video that summarizes your view of modern life, and explain why.
In my own art practice, especially following completion of my MFA at Goldsmiths, I've been really amused by the writings of JG Ballard [rip]. Though my own work is not dystopic at all. I'm always looking for the silver lining in things. Slavoj Žižek's latest book I've also been really keen on - looking at the mechanisms behind systemic violence worldwide and the hypocritical politics of democracy.

Do you think the recession has helped or hindered your creativity?
Rather, has my creativity helped or hindered the recession? I would say I've added some value lately - more than those city boys, that's for sure.

Music for a revolution - what song sums up your attitude?
The Man in Black - Johnny Cash.

What other period inspires you the most, and why?
The period at the end of this sentence, because I'm running late and I have to be at Heathrow for a flight.

Read more of the YCE feature here.