Welcome back to my ‘Indie Mags’ series! I’ve got a big pile of magazines I’ve been reading over Christmas and January that I can’t wait to share with you. First up, is The Lifted Brow, a quarterly Australian magazine of literature, design and visual art. It’s also the first magazine sent to me through my STACK subscription – a Christmas present from my fiancé Dan!
The Lifted Brow is probably not something I would have picked up or ordered myself, so I’m glad STACK are helping to push me out of my comfort-zone of adventure/travel/lifestyle independent magazines to discover new ones.
The Lifted Brow is actually an Australian literary organisation, with their main publication being the eponymous The Lifted Brow magazine. As they are largely publish Australian writers’ and artists’ work, there were some references that were lost on me – however, it was so refreshing to have an Australian viewpoint and a whole new pool of literary and artistic talent to discover!
It was really exciting to see so many cartoons in The Lifted Brow, a narrative form that often is viewed as ‘childish’ and is neglected in print for adults. I believe comics are the fusion of storytelling and art and I really enjoyed how The Lifted Brow used them so effectively to explore challenging topics like refugees’ experiences; a sex and relationship advice column between a mother and son, and philosophical questions such as ‘what is art?’.
I agree with the publisher of The Lifted Brow, Sam Cooney, who says the magazine is for ‘people who want a magazine to attack their minds and not just caress their egos’. There is no pretentiousness to The Lifted Brow, no glossy sheen on either the words, pictures or format. It’s a magazine that feels pulled in so many directions and under so many influences and sort of defies categorisation.
Yet, everything in issue 28 is grouped under the cohesive theme of art: from an article about Elizabeth Gould, a Victorian artist who risked her life to study and draw the Australian birdlife, to the powerful ‘Refugee art project’. So many disparate voices and concerns are joined together in this issue of The Lifted Brow. It’s certainly a magazine that made me think.