"If nobody's going to pay me to do what I want at this point in my life, then screw it. I'll do it myself."
That's how Jake Morrow, member of Toronto art collective Gutterbird
and editor-in-chief of its bi-monthly magazine Nest,
describes why he recently quit his job for two months to dedicate himself to Nest'
redesign. But his attitude also sums up the Gutterbird project more generally.
The collective, says Billy Cudgel, who founded Gutterbird in early 2010, "has as its mission enabling and supporting artists within the city." It's a broad mandate but there's no other way to describe what Gutterbird does. To support and spread the work of their family of artists, they use any and all mediums, from blogging
, to live performances
and online visual art galleries
After only two years in operation, Gutterbird has transformed from what Cudgel describes, as a "slapped-together website and a really small scale zine-y magazine" to an organization of more than 50 artists, including musicians, poets, writers and visual artists. The collective has amassed a loyal following after having released six issues of the magazine, hosted launch parties and concerts and maintained an active and regularly updated online presence.
On August 2, at the launch of party for the newest issue of Nest, Gutterbird will celebrate two especially important milestones. The collective will be premiering the newest, glossy iteration of the magazine, as well as showcasing Gutterbird's new Logan and Gerrard studio space. No longer just a virtual presence, Gutterbird now has a physical home.
The new studio and magazine redesign are big milestones for an organization built entirely on volunteer labour. Cudgel, Morrow, and the rest of the Gutterbird team balance the project with full-time jobs. Cudgel says it's worth to it to get a chance to build up this community of artists and create opportunities for them to what they love doing.
"We just know a lot of people who love the arts and work in the arts and cannot make a living. But it's more than that, they can't find a place to showcase their work. And so we see Guttterbird as, if not a useful stepping stone, then at least a way to have themselves heard and seen and be able to keep doing what they're doing."
Writer: Katia Snukal
Sources: Billy Cudgel, Founder, Gutterbird Artist Collective & Jake Morrow, Editor-in-chief, Nest magazine, Gutterbird Artist Collective