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New Mexico culture is an iconic brand in itself, aptly illustrated through the struggles, perseverance and eclectic thoughts of its creators.

Cameron Ward and Natassja Santistevan want to promote the country’s cultural innovations with their new magazine Iconica.

Ward said, “Our goal for the magazine is that it will not only be a platform for people to showcase their work, but also a platform for their connections to spread.”

The publication focuses on modern lifestyles with the invisible world of fashion, the perspective of artists and photographers, and the underground cadence of local musicians.

Wordsmiths can also share their poetry, and Ward and Santistevan are open to expanding the forms of art that can be submitted.

Santistevan said, “We’re talking to spray painters, we’re talking to tattoo artists, we’re talking to DJs who have been here a long time because the architecture of Albuquerque is like that.”

They are also exploring cities outside of Albuquerque to discover more representations of the country’s niche lifestyle, including Native American influence.

Ward added, “We traveled a lot to Santa Fe, and we got … a whole lot of culture there.”

Ward grew up in Isleta and said her grandmother was a fashion designer in the more traditional sense. She discovered a deep admiration for arts and crafts, from her own creations to writing about other artists, which eventually integrated her into the Albuquerque scene.

She met Santistevan through her network and the desire to start a magazine was mutual and almost immediate. They both decided to start their journey in an inappropriate, competitive industry.

Ward said, “We were like, no expectations, let’s just go blind, and it was actually really good.”

Both were hardened and motivated by past experiences. Santistevan received a similar influence from his grandmother and was taken to sewing classes as a child. However, Santistevan was pushed away from the craft by his peers.

“I stopped sewing after being bullied,” explained Santistevan. “I would wear what I made to school… and then I kind of stopped, but I continued to use fashion to express myself.”

Santistevan began curating events and building a network while in college, and eventually stumbled across Ward’s path.

Iconica was born, traveling from brainstorming to a warm copy from the printer, encased in the hands of the creators. Each has their own strengths that allow their partnership to be balanced, and their commensurate passion for culture and craft helps drive the publication forward.

Ward said, “We have to motivate each other … encouraging each other is a big role you have to play.”

Santistevan added, “We’re like our own bosses, but also each other’s bosses.”

Both boasted about the inspiration they get from the art community and expressed their gratitude to the various sponsors they’ve worked with and mentors who are already established in the medium. From graphic designers to social media gurus to photographers to makeup artists to models.

Santistevan said, “Having those people to ask questions and to support us is definitely something that is extremely important for any artist.”

Their willingness to learn was evident in their reporting. Iconica features the local fashion scene highlighted by seasonal style, expressive galleries of photography and art, profiles of musicians gracing venues across the country, and poetry to stay in readers’ minds.

Iconica offers a behind-the-scenes look at contemporary lifestyle and culture, influencing audiences while inspiring other creators.

The development of the journal, however, remains a continuous learning process. Ward and Santistevan admitted they had trouble grasping the variables of the production, from navigating software to layout design to sponsor management.

Still, Ward and Santistevan are becoming increasingly satisfied with all aspects of the operation.

Ward said of the process, “It’s like building a brand on the fly. Like the people of Albuquerque, we are always evolving and growing.”

Already in the early life of the magazine, they saw the development. Each edition of the issue is complemented by an event where they can not only build their brand, but also connect artists with each other.

According to Ward and Santistevan, from the first announcement to the second party, the number of visitors almost tripled. They are already preparing to book an even bigger venue for the third edition.

Iconica is a quarterly publication and its next issue will be published in November. Events and questions will purposefully deviate from the norm and offer a new experience as there is a vast world of emerging artists ready for exposure.

“We want to introduce these people because it takes a lot of dedication,” Santistevan said.

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Iconica not only showcases the talents of local creators, but also fosters camaraderie within the artistic community. See the article : Global brands pay attention to Africa’s music and talent.

“We can’t really just use each other as a ladder and then move on,” Ward said. “We grow together.”

Expanding Iconica is a goal for Ward and Santistevan. They plan to continue to build the magazine and eventually bring New Mexico attention to larger markets.

“What’s really important is we want it to still be about New Mexico,” Santistevan said. “We’re just trying to get some eyes on the place.”

New Mexico is as unique as the artists who express the culture’s style and creativity, whether through fashion, photography, music or art. It is a brand earned through hard work. It’s an icon.

Home » Bright Spot » Iconica up-and-coming magazine features New Mexico lifestyle and artists

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