In the latter half of 2008, I caught wind of a new player on the Adelaide street press scene. That player was Merge Magazine, brainchild of two passionate and engaged young twenty-somethings, Josh Fanning and Owen Lindsay, each with a burning desire to support home-grown culture. Differentiating itself from its competitors with its heavily pictorial and colloquial journalistic approaches, its content and form are rich in creativity and make for an enticing monthly read.
Having enjoyed the editorial support of Merge during our recent Adelaide Fringe ‘Basement Beats’ season, I was flattered to receive a phone call from Josh asking me if I was keen to deliver some cover art (in a similar style to the pixel art on the Basement Beats poster) for the May 2009 edition. From my perspective, it really was a dream brief. They wanted a colourful retro pixel-art aesthetic, reminiscent of mid-late 1980’s gaming. The content of the illustrations has to run with a feature story about job hunting in a digital world, and difficult economic climate. ‘Super Mario Brothers’ was toted as a starting point, and a few rough sketches provided to me sewed some further ideas about ‘power-up’ items, social climbing and pursuit of the dollar as possible sub-concepts.
I turned the job around as quickly and as best I could, and was delighted last night when I rolled up to Adelaide’s Festival Centre to catch a gig and my eye was snagged by a pile of Merge mags screaming ‘pick me up’ with some familiar pixel flair!
Merge frequently impresses me with the unusual cultural crevices it crawls and peers into, and the much needed spotlight it turns on Adelaide’s emerging cultural movers and shakers. It’s a pleasure to be supported by such a great team, and to have the opportunity to contribute to a genuine stimulating force in the local scene.
Since the mags themselves don’t sit on the street for long, the Merge boys have been sharp enough to publish an identical digital edition of their mag (also free to obtain) so for anyone with a passing interest in Adelaide, I recommend you scoot over to Merge’s website and cop a taste!