One anagram for the word “mentor” is the French word for a watch, or timepiece, “montre”. I found this interesting because it relates to what mentors do. When giving us their time, they impart knowledge that allows us to grow and provide us with opportunities to develop. Mentors are usually people who are in positions that we’d like to attain some day. And, staying with the time analogy, mentors won’t always be with us, at least in the physical sense. So, it’s important that we take advantage of any opportunities we have to watch and learn from them directly.
Mentorship plays a big role at the Magenta Foundation through its Flash Forward exhibition and publishing program for emerging Canadian, American and U.K. photographers, as well as the Incubator program, in which the Foundation partners with arts programs in Toronto high schools to expose (pun unavoidable) students to the photographic medium. (See the scroll above for a few shots from the opening night reception of the 2015 iteration of Incubator that took place in July. All proceeds from the evening went to the participating schools’ arts programs.) Here at the magazine, one of our goals is to give newer arts writers opportunities to refine their craft by interviewing artists and writing about exhibitions that really made them think. Since its inception, Magenta’s content has been largely writer-driven, which has served us well.
Lately, it seems with each new issue, we welcome new contributors, which is fantastic. In this issue, there are five first-time contributors, many of whom will be familiar to you from other publications: Amy Luo, Aryen Hoekstra, Dagmara Genda, Heather Saunders and Daniella Sanader. They’ve all produced insightful reviews of a wide range of exhibitions from across the country. There are a lot of smart art writers out there, and we’re honoured to be the stewards of their ideas and opinions.
Recently, the Canadian art-world learned that Rick Rhodes, the Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Art, is stepping down from his position at the end of this year. Rick is one of my art-world mentors. Back in 2005, he gave me a break in art writing when he published a review I wrote about a group show at Monte Clark Gallery. Ten years later, I look back and cringe at some of the naïve language in the review. But, Rick must have seen something worthwhile in it. I’m grateful he did. Without that initial support, and feedback on subsequent reviews and articles for Canadian Art, I wouldn’t have gained the confidence to pursue magazines outside of Canada. In different ways, the editors who have grappled with my submissions, like Scott Indrisek at Modern Painters, Trent Morse and Anne Doran at ARTnews, and Oliver Basciano and Jonathan Neil at Art Review are other mentors. Without their pushing me to think harder and dig deeper in my writing, I wouldn’t be here now, writing this Letter. One-hundred-times “thank you” to everyone mentioned here, and to you, of course, for reading. We’ll be back in early December with the Winter 2015-16 issue.
Bill Clarke was the Executive Editor of Magenta Magazine Online from its inception in September 2009 until May 2017. His writing has been published in Modern Painters, Art Review, Canadian Art, Artnews and several other publications. In January 2017, he assumed the position of associate director at Angell Gallery in Toronto.