If you really sat down and tried, you could turn a lot of pages in the space of 30 days. While we've spent over a decade providing you with about 120 of those pages every month, it turns out that VICE isn't the only magazine in the world. This series, Ink Spots, is a helpful guide to which zines, pamphlets, and publications you should be reading when you're not reading ours.
Hate is a labour of love for photographer Scarlett Carlos Clarke and writer Luisa Le Voguer Couyet. It's ostensibly a zine about how different individuals see the world, but they'll pick a universal topic – for example mental health, the theme of the latest issue – and call out for responses from their close network of artists, writers and photographers who are usually already well known in their own right. The result is a zine that feels a bit miscellaneous, but also deeply personal.
This month, other London-based zines converge alongside Hate at the ICA for its Artist Self Publisher's Fair, so we decided to catch up with Scarlett and Luisa about what makes their publication stand out from the crowd. Here, they look back on the lessons they've learnt from doing a DIY magazine together, three issues in, and tell us why the time is ripe to talk about mental health – whether that means publishing their good friend's suicide note, or shining a light on life inside a mental care home.
VICE: Hi guys, let's start with the logistics – how and where do you find the time to put Hate together?
Luisa: Well we talk about Hate pretty much every day. Scarlett's recently moved down to the seaside, about an hour outside of London, so I'll go down there for a few days and work on it.
Scarlett: Then we speak over the phone or email every day and try and try and meet every week in the lead up to the issue being printed. I think in the beginning it was stressful because we didn't really know what we were doing but it gets easier each issue.
Luisa: Yeah, sometimes we argue but not very often, I think that's normal and healthy, when you have two people with creative ideas, there is always potential for friction so I think we do very well to remain such good friends. I'm quite bossy but Scaz is really patient with me.
And how do you come to agree on what goes into an issue? Is there an editorial line you try to stick to?
Scarlett: I guess work that is uncompromising and writing that's honest. We have no advertising so we can publish work which wouldn't necessarily be printed in a more mainstream magazine. There aren't any rules or boundaries except for the ones we create. I get to shoot stuff that I wouldn't necessarily get to do in my own day to day work, for example. The only problem is sometimes being able to do whatever you want artistically makes it harder; if you can put anything in you have to check that you're actually saying something important.
Luisa: Themes help with that. For the first issue we didn't have a theme, just work published by people we know, or work that already existed that we liked. I don't think we had a clear idea of what it would be like. But the second issue we did a theme of sex and gender – so looking at abortion in Northern Ireland, or what it means to be empowered – and this one is on mental health, so we have stuff on addiction, homelessness, suicide. So issues two and three have been a lot more focussed. I want to do the next one on the environment.
Why mental health?
Scarlett: Well our friend Matt Irwin recently passed away because of mental health problems so it felt like the right time. Also: every single person knows someone who suffers from a mental health problem, so it's kind of a relevant topic.
Luisa: Totally. It's everywhere and you can't always see it. Scarlett and I grew up with it in our lives through people we knew from an early age. When things become too much, when mental health takes over, when your life grinds to a halt, it colours your perception. I think we just wanted to look at that through the lens of Hate.
And what's in the issue?
Scarlett: This one has had a lot of open submissions. This painter from Newcastle called Hannah King emailed and her work was incredible, so that was a nice surprise. Another artist, Joe Sweeney, has done a one off for us, which is brilliant – it's an installation piece made out of painted chips.
Luisa: Alex Sebley has written an amazing piece. When he was 16 he worked as a cleaner at a home for mentally ill people, which is where he first began to explore photography actually. He's submitted these amazing portraits of the people there. I also really like Louise Gray's contribution. A lot of her work is filled with positivity and I really wanted to include some of that in this issue.
And have you guys done anything for the issue?
Scarlett: This issue's got less stuff from Luisa and I and more from other people. Mine's quite childish. I've been doing images of faces made out of food. You know, when you're eating and look down at your plate. It's humorous, we've got a lot of serious stuff in the issue and it's important to have things that are light-hearted.
Luisa: I worked in a call centre for three months last year and I got to do a lot of writing there. I wrote this story – a commentary on a cat. The life of a cat. And I wrote this other thing in response to seeing other people have breakdowns. Both are in the issue.
You guys tend to throw a party for each issue – are you planning one this time?
Luisa: Yep. I think it's important to mark the event, like you'd mark a birthday. And it's been one year since we did the first Hate so it feels significant.
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