Yellowzine: Q&A with founder and editor Aisha Ayoade

Ahead of Yellowzine Live next week, we catch up with the co-founder and editor of this independent visual art zine celebrating BAME talent.

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How did you come to co-found Yellowzine and why?

The initial thought happened in May 2017. It was third year second semester and I was interested in anything but my coursework. As it was nearing the end of my university career I was in a rush to figure out my calling. Myself and my brother are both artistic: I'm a painter and he's a graphic designer. We both felt that the world of art for minority ethnic people in the UK is often seen as non-serious and/or restrictive. We're constantly made to justify our choices and are placed in boxes that identify us solely by our race.

Yellowzine came about because not only did we want to document and centralise the varying talents of minority ethnic artists in the UK, we wanted to show art as a legitimate career and share the stories and progressions of creatives. So, one phone call to my brother Oreoluwa, and we got moving pretty quickly.

Why did you choose illustration for the theme of your first issue?

We felt that illustration would allow us to get closest to our artists. Illustration is an art form that's solely dependent on the style and imagination of the artist. With other forms, such as photography, there are external factors such as lighting, people and sets that have an influence on the final product. The first issue was based around self-definition and identity and we felt that illustration was a medium that would best capture those themes.

Which three illustrators from this issue do you want to shout about and why? 

Every single of one our illustrators was great to work with and showed talent in so many different ways. Aside from the four artists who will be a part of the talk next week, we'd love to shout out about Laylah Amarchih, Hannah Buckman and Maia Aranovich (images below). Each of these three women has a distinct artistic style and cohesive body of work. Laylah's work tends to show stylised, artistic versions of real-life places, whereas Maia and Hannah's art depicts more surreal characters. What all three have in common though is an other-worldlyness and it's always exciting to see what they produce next.

You’ve recently relaunched your website to include interviews and resources. Tell us about your ambitions for Yellowzine outside of print.

The expansion of our website is the beginning of our vision for Yellowzine. We want the magazine to be an accompanying factor to something much bigger. We're trying to create a hub for minority ethnic visual artists that is the go-to for art-related events in the UK, and which is also the place to get an insight into the creative lives of artists through interviews and networking opportunities. We're hoping to then build a platform to host exhibitions for artists and give them access to places and spaces they want to be in. A lot is in the works at the moment and it's going to take a lot of planning and pushing to be exactly where we want to be. We're looking forward to seeing what the future holds for us.

How can artists and illustrators get involved?

We love a friendly DM but it's always best to email us, that way we can have all our submissions in one, easy to search place. Our email address is info@yellwzine.com and if you could put the word "submission" somewhere in your subject, that'd be great!

Images above are by Joy Miessi, one of the four Yellowzine artists who will be joining us to discuss their work next week. 

Want to find out more about the work of Yellowzine and its artsits? Book your place at the talk on Thursday 5 July