When Nunna Worku left Queen’s in 2016, her goal was to turn Kingston into her canvas.
On Saturday night, she launched the second issue of Blanc, a creative magazine that features local talent, fashion, poetry and photography.
Before creating and becoming Editor in Chief of Blanc, Worku studied geology at Queen’s. Over time, however, she found herself putting sleep and schoolwork aside to stay up all night painting.
“I restarted painting in second-year, and I was like, ‘this makes me happy’,” she told The Journal. “At the end of the day, I feel energized by it. Then I was like, ‘okay, goodbye Queen’s, hello Kingston’.”
Along with creative director Ryan Peng, ArtSci ‘18, and marketing director Orlaith Croke-Martin, ArtSci ‘18, Worku wanted to create something that wasn’t solely affiliated with university students. Instead, she gave a platform to local artists like Kingston designer Francisco Corbett, who held a runway at the launch party on Saturday.
“Kingston is a city full of artists. Unfortunately, as a Queen’s student in the Queen’s community, we don’t see enough of it,”
Croke-Martin said. She added that Blanc is a “really great way of showcasing Kingston’s beauty and the beauty of the people here and what they have to give.”
Croke-Martin explained although Blanc’s first issue, released last spring, was their “first taste of what [the magazine] could be,” they still needed to develop their production skills to achieve its full potential.
The team spent long days and nights channeling their passion into the second issue’s theme, ‘Naturally.’
Inspired by the simplicity of summer, Worku explained the team “felt connected to [their] environment” and wanted to give that connection the “medium it deserves.”
“It’s exactly what we wanted,” Croke-Martin said of the issue’s outcome.
As a result, Blanc’s second issue features a combination of soft, pastel photography with poetry to offer an elegant, carefully presented selection of work. Peng incorporates wildflowers into many of his clean shots, which range from beautiful meadows to graffiti-covered streets.
He further extends this naturality to his models, who are often barefoot, without makeup or bare-chested and dressed in casual fashion.
“We don’t tell the models to look to the sky at a 45-degree angle and look sexy,” he told The Journal. “We have a conversation with them, and it’s a very authentic, natural process.”
“Everything is natural,” Worku added. “At the end of the day, who we are is natural.”
This philosophy stems from the “state of flow,” which Peng described as “going with your environment, feeling connected to it, reflecting from it and growing from it, like a little plant.”
This state of flow can be felt throughout the second issue. The images and lines of poetry physically blend together into a colourful collage of art that makes Blanc, which is set to become a quarterly publication, a new asset to Kingston’s creative community.
While Worku intends to return to Queen’s one day, her magazine introduced her to the possibilities of the city outside.
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