Kanto: Creative Corners

10:51:00 PM

Kanto: Creative Corners | Awesome in Manila

Before boarding the crazy train that is advertising, I was the digital editor for adobo Magazine. I consider that time as the culmination of a lifelong dream to work in glitter journalism. The idea excited me so much that, in preparation for it, I watched a long list of movies that promised to give an account of “the glossy life” and it was The September Issue that really got to me. (A novel by Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, also resonated at some point in my short stint.) Having finally lived it, I can say half of the assumptions these movies present can't be trusted but the most intriguing points do check out:

  • Deadline week is hell week—conservatively speaking,
  • Famous people can be a pain,
  • Dressing up, and wining and dining really are part of the job,
  • You will work with the most interesting characters on a daily basis, 
  • And sometimes, that spells D-R-A-M-A,
  • But it's comforting to know that despite their impressive networks and taste for the finer things, they can still be as normal as everyone else.
If the industry can be summed up in a lyric, it might as well be:

Kanto: Creative Corners | Awesome in Manila

LOL. May or may not be an exaggeration. It was a fun experience for the most part and, just like any other career path, it has its own ups and downs. And no matter how crazy crunch time gets, the smell of fresh print makes it all worth it.

Ask Patrick Kasingsing. He would know. I used to work with him at adobo, where he was in charge of putting the pages together. Everyone on our team has since jumped to the other side, but only Patrick remained in publishing. Now, he's a group art director in a mainstream glossy and, as if that's not enough to get his hands full, he's also added "editor-in-chief" to his roles - at least for his very own title, a passion project called Kanto. (Which is what I really wanted to talk to you about today, teehee.)

Kanto: Creative Corners | Awesome in Manila

In the simplest terms, Kanto is a blog in the form of a digital magazine. Patrick is a big architecture and design geek, which reflects heavily on the design and content. Throw fine art and travel (and a whole lotta white space) into the mix, and voila! Out comes one good-looking baby.

Kanto: Creative Corners | Awesome in Manila

The magazine was launched on Issuu earlier this week, coinciding with Patrick's birthday. Highlights of the first issue include a feature on the National Art Gallery, a ton of interviews with creatives, travel logs by contributors, book recommendations - all accompanied by gorgeous photography! The pilot offering is 110 pages of eye candy and inspiration, brought to you by one guy and a few of his friends.

Kanto: Creative Corners | Awesome in Manila

To tell us more about the magazine, here's a take-five with Patrick:

Take Five!

Hi Patrick, first off: tell us a bit about Kanto and how it started.

P: Kanto came to me as a random idea one day. I’ve always wanted to start a blog but couldn’t be arsed to learn code and html (as I didn’t like using templates haha). I’ve known [about] Issuu for quite a while [now], and I’ve always had a soft spot for editorial design and publishing so I decided that the blog will take the form of a magazine.

I wanted to run a blog initially on just architectural photography, a growing passion of mine but then, as the plan continued to form, I decided to include Art, Literature and Travel sections, other interests of mine. I decided early on that I wanted to launch the project on my birthday so that left me with more or less a month to contact contribs, design template, write my stories and all to meet deadline. But like every passion project, it really didn’t feel like work at all and I have to say that I enjoyed the production process of the journal.

I understand that the production of content relies heavily on a contributor network but that aside, Kanto is essentially a one-man team when it comes to conceptualization and design. How is that like?

P: I knew from the beginning that this project will entail a whole lot of work but hey, I work in publishing so late nights and following up on people are not uncommon to me haha! It was especially hard with the tight deadline I gave myself but the overall experience was surprisingly not as painful or tiring as I expected it to be. In fact, the only sleepless night incurred for the issue was when I was already uploading the file online and our abysmal net connection refused to cooperate. Here’s to hoping the next installment is more painless since there's more lead time to produce and curate content. :)

If we were to set it up against major travel and art glossies, what would you say is unique to Kanto?

P: First and foremost, it is free from the pressures of mass market titles. There really is no strict audience for it. I basically just imagine people of likeminded passions as my readers. Second, it is digital so you can read your copy anytime and anywhere with your gadget of choice, and oh, did I mention that it was free?

What are your hopes for the future of Kanto? What do you wish to accomplish with this passion project?

P: It is my hope that Kanto outgrows its personal blog, one-man team beginnings and be more of a true collaborative project, where there is an actual team producing it and more hands and heads to curate content. More than just an outlet for my personal passions and as a sort of design laboratory, I wish to help emerging artists and writers find their audience through this medium, and to help spur them on to continue doing what they do, and inspire others to do the same :)

Lastly, what are you looking for in terms of submissions?

P: While there is a loose theme for every issue, there really are no strict requirements to adhere to. The qualities I look for in submissions are ones that brim with the spirit of experimentation and creativity. Those that push boundaries and come off with a strong sense of personality and honesty.

Bonus round!
Much has been said about the looming demise of the printed word. Personally, I don’t find it as much of a serious issue as everyone makes it out, but there are a number of publications all over the world that either closed shop or has gone fully digital. You still work for print but for Kanto, you’ve embraced digital. Do you think the industry as a whole would eventually succumb to this future?

P: Yep, I do. It’s only a matter of time. Digital will be content’s new mainstream vehicle, but I don’t believe that print will ever die. In fact, a reversal is more of what’s happening. Digital will now be cheaper than print and print will be more costly. Kanto came to be digital mostly because I had zero capital to have it printed but also because, as a journal that depends on collaborative content, I get to reach more people through it. I’m not fully closing my door on a printed version of Kanto someday though, as a lover of physical print. ▩

Download Kanto for free at Issuu! Want your work to be featured on the magazine? Send over your articles and images to Patrick, via kanto.journal@gmail.com.

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