Art magazines are getting bigger, reaching the proportions of newspapers and bibles, with more and more (and less and less art-related) ads. They’re glossier and more colourful, with less text. They’re not necessarily better. Then there’s an unassuming little quarterly from Canada named Bad Day, founded by editor Eva Michon and her friend, graphic designer Colin Bergh. Each issue is the size of a novella and is printed in one colour. Its subjects are as multifarious as the design is restricted and consistent. One issue had Jason Schwartzman, Vito Acconci, Mark Fast, and Salem. Another has Glenn O’Brien, No Age, and Gaspar Noe.
The interviews - and there are nothing but interviews - have a lo-fi, conversational feel. In 2011, Bad Day will move out of its native city, Toronto, to set up a cool office somewhere in New York. Not, er, bad for a project that began as a zine, three years ago, with 50 xeroxed, stapled-together copies. Issue 10, out in February, will have a print run of 5,000. It’ll star Sofia Coppola on the cover. Here, Michon talks about what makes Bad Day special, unexpected, and so easy to like.
Dazed Digital: What did you want to do with Bad Day that hadn’t been done in a magazine before?
Eva Michon: [Colin Bergh and I] wanted to do something in print. The fact that it’s so personal and it’s exactly what we like at the time that we make it, makes it unique, I think? It’s grown a lot, but it’s still pretty limited-edition, compared to other magazines. It’s more like a book than a magazine, I would say. When we finally get it in our hands, it’s a pretty special thing. It would be weird if we did a hundred thousand.
DD: Once an issue is sold out, you don’t reprint it, right?
Eva Michon: No. We actually really like it when it’s sold out. If you have an old issue, no one else will have a reprint. I mean, like, we’re only three years into it. Five years from now, they’ll definitely be collector’s items.
DD: How does each issue start? With a cover star, or a colour, or what?
Eva Michon: It starts with a wishlist, where we talk about who we want in the issue for probably a good month or something. We compile a huge list, with twenty or thirty people on it. Then I kind of go through it and find the people that will work well together within the issue. It’s really about our interests. It’s not just me.
DD: Do you have a favourite cover story or interview or anything?
Eva Michon: I think that, recently, I really really like the Jason Schwartzman interview because it’s so funny. My favourite interviews are really easy to read, not too academic, and you get a point of view you might not have expected. You learn something from it.
DD: A lot of art magazines now only tell you about what you already know and like; it doesn’t feel you learn anything. How do you stay constant without being predictable?
Eva Michon: Yeah, I agree, and we always try to do something a bit unexpected. Sometimes the really random stuff doesn’t work out. For example, we tried to get Nicki Minaj with this upcoming issue, but it ended up being impossible. Maybe it’s because that isn’t our market. But it would be so cool to see her in an art magazine.
DD: Who else do you have on your wish list?
Eva Michon: Charlotte Gainsbourg is one of mine. Ricky Gervais - I love him! Coco Gordon Moore, she’d be really awesome. That’s funny, I just did another interview where they asked that question. Um, Barack Obama. Oprah.
DD: Not Kanye West?
Eva Michon: No, but I like his new album.
DD: Someone should interview him over Twitter.
Eva Michon: I don’t follow him on Twitter. I like to have my own relationship with him and his work.
DD: Twitter ruins a lot of famous people...
Eva Michon: I’m very particular about who I follow on there.
DD: Do you follow Vincent Gallo?
Eva Michon: Yeah, I do. Oh yeah, Vincent Gallo’s on the list! I’ve been a fan of him since I was like fifteen years old. Colin [Bergh] and I, our friendship is kind of based on our bonding around Vincent Gallo. I’ve had four or five encounters where I’ve seen [Gallo] and could have gone to talk to him, but I don’t want to be like a fan.