Good studying: Limbo is a brand new sort of journal for our turbulent instances

It's no secret that coronavirus has hit the creative industry hard. The Creative Industries Federation has described the pandemic as a "cultural disaster," while recent research suggests that over 400,000 creative jobs could be lost and the UK's creative industries are expected to lose £ 1.5 billion a week in sales this year.

For Nick Chapin, a former Frieze publisher who worked as a freelancer, the start of the blackout period meant that most of his freelance work was either canceled or suspended indefinitely.

"When my work disappeared, I didn't know exactly what to do with myself," Chapin says. “I started talking to friends and found that there were so many people in the same boat. I started to wonder and worry about all the brilliant young artists and creative minds I've worked with over the past five years, many of whom live from paycheck to paycheck.

“For most artists there is no vacation schedule or safety net. It struck me that there was a huge audience for culture and creativity that suddenly couldn't connect anymore. The galleries were closed, filming was interrupted. I thought there had to be a way to get the wheels spinning again, ”he adds.

Chapin's answer to this period of uncertainty is Limbo, a new time capsule made of print magazine and culture that was born out of a standstill. The magazine was published in cooperation with the WePresent editorial platform from WeTransfer and turns the traditional publishing model upside down by acting as a profit sharing company and distributing all profits from advertising and sales directly to the employees mentioned in the magazine and the employees who produce it.

To bring his vision for Limbo to life, Chapin has used the help of editor Francesca Gavin, who has worked with Kaleidoscope, Dazed and NTS, and David Lane, creative director of Frieze and founder of indie magazine The Gourmand.

“We knew we wanted the magazine to feel raw and visceral, a patchwork of the DIY work people did, often with new lo-fi techniques. But we also wanted to remember the history of the magazines; to ripple the clichés of glossy titles and refer to the genius of bedroom publishing from the 90s, ”says Chapin.

“Francesca once described Limbo as Smash Hits meets The Face, with the depth of The New Yorker and the kitsch of a Sunday newspaper supplement. But although there was a lot of intention behind it, the appearance was also random. We gave the artists blank pages and let them do what they wanted. And we have never been together as a team! So everything came together organically, shaped by the vicissitudes of digital collaboration and the mood of the artist community. "

The opening edition offers a mixture of art, ideas and humor, which acts as a kind of time capsule of the current crisis. A number of well-known creative professionals, including Vivienne Westwood, Wolfgang Tillmans and Tyler Mitchell, have not only contributed but also waived their fees so the funds can go to those most in need.

In the meantime, the price of the magazine varies depending on what you can and want to contribute. The cover price is £ 14 or £ 9 for unemployed readers, while an option of £ 19 is available for those who want to give more.

While Limbo started in response to the ban, it has quickly grown into something bigger as it tries to address the broader sense of insecurity we are all facing. With the flood of layoffs and closings that have hit the publishing world in recent months, including Buzzfeed and most recently the Guardian, his arrival is particularly timely.

“The publishing and creative industries as a whole are in a strange place. It is certainly not sustainable. Editorial pays very little, if any, and artists certainly don't get Instagram's profit sharing! The idea is that you play the game, work for free, and somehow earn enough to survive. It's a fragile ecosystem that I think is ripe for disruption, ”Chapin says.

“We originally imagined that this would be a one-off, almost an art project that played with the idea of ​​a magazine. However, the reception was so positive that we are now trying to promote it as an ongoing title. There seems to be a real hunger for something like this, both from artists and from advertisers. "

The first edition of Limbo has been published.