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Lighthouse: The Art Editor

In his recent post New issue, new editors: looking forward to Issue 7, Meirion Jordan outlines the recent shuffling of Lighthouse keepers, noting the departure of Laura Elliott for her new project para·text and my appointment as ‘art editor’. Since our first issue Lighthouse has reproduced some fine artworks on our pages though we have never had a dedicated editor.

When our steering editor, Andrew McDonnell, asked myself, Laura and Julia Webb to join Lighthouse we had already known each other for a number of years having all studied at Norwich School of Art & Design; Andy on the Cultural Studies programme and the rest of us having later gone through the Creative Writing programme it morphed into when, presumably, the term was deemed by the institution to be more lucrative. Current poetry editor Jo Surzyn studied on the final year of the course before it was closed by Norwich University of the Arts, as it is now known.

The course in its original form was inaugurated by George Szirtes who has blogged here about the achievements of its alumni. When I applied the course was unique for a British undergraduate course insofar as it offered a creative writing workshop alongside visual practice modules and critical components. We were encouraged by George and others to collaborate with artists and to let our writing and visual work be extensions of each other rather than discrete units of study. This approach has not, as the blog linked to above demonstrates, produced a ‘house-style’ as has been a criticism of many creative writing communities, but rather a house approach which is centred around openness and collaboration.

That several of our founding editors came from this background perhaps explains why it didn’t feel necessary to appoint a dedicated art editor in the beginning. We felt that our connections with the art school would be sufficient to solicit illustrations directly while having an open submissions policy so that others might approach us. To date this has been effective and we have proudly reproduced artworks by Rupert Smissen, Ben Thompson, Yann Bagot and Harriet Lee-Merrion among others. However with no single editor accountable for what artworks we choose to print (and there are surely other reasons besides) we have perhaps been unclear about what kind of visual work we want. Having created that responsibility and taken it on I would like to address some frequently asked questions and other miscellaneous points:

[1] The artists I have linked to above are brilliant and we are proud to have printed their work. If they have something in common it is something we like.

[2] Lighthouse is especially proud of its Look. Our Look to some extent affects what art work we might choose to print, is the combination of our linocut logo which was designed by the wonderful printmaker Gini Hanbury and the IM Fell typeface lovingly developed by Igino Marini. We have described this elsewhere as a ‘printerly feel’.

[2a] Our Look is partly designed around the fact we print only in black and white. We don’t want to print in black and white works which were conceived in colour.

[3] This has meant a tendency towards ink and pencil drawing (I have a soft spot for good line-drawing) or collage. I also really love photography.

[4] We won’t publish childrens illustrations or anything which look like childrens illustrations nor comics.

[5] Visual poems and concrete poems are poems so submit them as poems. If you feel an ambiguity in the designation of your work please email us. If you have an ekphrastic piece mark your submission for the attention of the illustration editor as well as prose/poetry editors as appropriate.

[5a] We encourage you to send this kind of work.

[6] Feel free to email any further questions to submissions [at] lighthouse.gatehousepress.com

– Angus Sinclair

Posted 4 years ago

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