We love Model Behavior Magazine! Cole Chickering, the artist and behind Woman’s Day (and the illustrations for refigural issue 2’s A Few Dinner Parties Ago) has announced a new volume of his print magazine, Model Behavior. It’s just our kind of style guide. Catch up with Cole below, and get a sneak preview of volume 2, available for preorder now.
What is Model Behavior Magazine about?
Model Behavior Magazine is about women! But really, it’s about the idea of women. I work with appropriated imagery pulled from many sources, and then reassemble it through digital collage. The magazine has almost no text, encouraging the reader to spend time with the details of each image. It is subdivided into four sections, which are based on four major themes I see over and over again when looking through publications that are targeted at female consumers: Wellness, Safety, Home, and Silence.
What prompted you to extend Womans-Day on tumblr and instagram into sister project Model Behavior?
After I graduated from school, I started womans-day on tumblr. I was tired of making physical artwork (I had been making huge labor intensive embroideries that totally burned me out). I began focusing on research, gathering compelling imagery from the different libraries I worked at. I started sharing it on tumblr as a visual research archive. Eventually, since a large majority of my source materials are print, I felt compelled to return them back to their print origin in the form of a new magazine. Spending time with artists books and publications, and making friends who were publishing things themselves, helped me to see this as a possibility for myself despite never having worked with image editing programs or graphic design.
Where do you source the materials for your work, and what is that research like?
Most of my materials come from thrift store books and magazines, junk mail catalogs I get at work, and books I check out from the public library. I find that the lower the production quality is, the more I love it. Generally, I go through any source material page by page, seeking out images that feel like they are hitting a perfect note of uncanniness and constructed/objectified femininity. I also seek out chance word/image combinations that hint at a subliminal message or a subversion of intent.
What does Model Behavior feel like?
Model Behavior Magazine feels like… a fantasy of reality. I’m not very interested in the women of fashion magazines, but rather the illustrative everywomen that populate more serviceable publications (catalogs, textbooks, instruction manuals, self help books, advertising, stock photography). Women represented in these sources are a synthesis of cultural symbols and normalized expectations of femininity, pushing a message of good citizenship through fear and consumption. Their consistently coded appearance and repeated scenarios create a visual language that we all know, the language of idealized Western woman iconography.
What does Model Behavior look like?
Model Behavior Magazine looks like severed and spliced softness. Imagine womans-day, roughly chopped and carefully reconstituted into a totally fresh viewing experience.
Where can you find Model Behavior Magazine?
Right now, the best place to get it is from my website – www.modelbehaviormagazine.com
It is also sold in some retail locations, with more in the works.