Words by Courtney Marie
Austere Magazine is everything but simple; it is a publication inspired by design itself. We had the honor of talking to Nikki Crouse and Natasha Brito, the energetically enterprising owners of Austere, about what makes their project special and their ideas about print, art, music, networking, and their huge event taking place in Denton this weekend: a neo-woodstock themed extravaganza.
Rebelling against the traditional appearance of modern magazines, each issue of Austere is in landscape format. The cover often features an eye-catching image but few words. Natasha said that they work hard with their main designer, Victoria Andres, to make sure every page of the publication is its own, unique work of art. The girls make new friends all the time who are constantly helping shape the project and inspire content. “It’s been a huge collective effort...we have new resident artists that want to send us artwork for every issue- we love it so much,” said Crouse, “...and photographers, models... it’s really catching on.”
Along with an edgy blend of photography, fashion, product reviews and interviews, every issue of Austere includes what they call “The Ten,” a visual and written showcase of ten artists or projects the Austere gals find captivating. Future issues will include poetry and even more original artwork by a variety of artists. Every copy from now on will have a unique “take-away” print or art piece tucked inside the pages that ties in to a feature of the magazine. All they would say about the print featured in the upcoming issue was to, "Think spaghetti face."
Besides that, the girls describe Issue E, the fifth issue since their launch last September, as “dark, alluring, and kind of sexy.” The July issue will be a pleasant contrast when it hits the shelves later this summer, with it's more upbeat, timely patriotic theme.
We asked Crouse and Brito what they thought about the future of printed magazines. Brito replied, “All of the badly designed print is going out and going digital. It’s making our market a lot smaller and it’s giving us a chance to grow more.”
Crouse added, “People don’t want to see print unless it’s beautiful. To them, it is collectible. Worthy. So our goal is to continue gaining value in our magazine, making it more beautiful, keeping it a tangible product...” Crouse loves books and argues that reading online or on a screen is boring. It’s better to have an awesome copy of your favorite book or magazine and proudly say to yourself, “This is going on the shelf after I read it.” We certainly agree. Each issue of Austere magazine is a work of art, something we will want to keep forever.
All this success in such a short time and these girls are still busy wrapping up their degrees at UNT. Brito and Crouse recently decided to stay in Denton post-graduation, regardless of the commute it will mean for Brito's new job. They rave about the interconnected community and creative support Denton has to offer.
Austere seeks people who embrace fresh new approaches to fashion, photography, entrepreneurship, and creativity. They recognize that Denton is one of the best places to be.
Join in the fun with Austere Magazine’s neo-woodstock themed event on Saturday. The huge outdoor party will include music, food trucks, local venders, live art, printmaking, a photo-booth, and of course, plenty of booze. There will be a collection of poetry readings organized and hosted by local literary and performance collective Spiderweb Salon. Bands that will be rocking the event include She Banshees, The Buffalo Parade, Biographies, Terrestrials, and many more. Sixties-inspired attire (read: hippie) is encouraged, but not necessary. BYOHH (bring your own hula hoop) and be sure to RSVP on the official Facebook event page or e-mail the magazine to add your name to the guest list or you will not be allowed on the grounds per city ordinance.