We had the good fortune of connecting with Rebecca Ustrell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rebecca, how does your business help the community?
Here at Curious, we create Art-books and journals which directly reflect the stories and work of the diverse population of young artists which reside throughout Southern California. Where major Magazine titles say no to submissions from new artists, we say yes, and give a professionally curated platform for artists to showcase their work and connect with their community. We believe in social responsibility and take care in each of our publications to accurately represent the artists who thrive in our own backyard. Through our self titled magazine, CURIOUS, we choose socially relevant topics which artists are open to interpret through various mediums including painting, sculpture, mixed media, photography, digital art, video, dance, poetry and more. Topics we’ve explored in CURIOUS so far include Pandemic, Latinx, LGBTQ+, Biophilia, Revenge, Saudade, Psychedelia, and more. In addition to our self titleD magazine, we’ve printed over a dozen independent Solo art books by artist residing in the Inland Empire. Through partnerships we are able to provide paid opportunities for artists to publish their work independently.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My passion for the arts and print began with my fascination with art publications and fashion magazines. Like many young people, I tore pages from magazines and kept flyers from local punk shows and used them to plaster a rudimentary collage along my walls. This is where I would say I first began to truly experiment with imagery and color theory, constantly adding and taking away elements until the image reflected a mood I wanted it to represent. Coming from little means meant that art supplies were not in abundance in my home, I believe I gravitated toward magazines and flyers because of the lush colors and materials they provided by design. Having access to mostly used fashion magazines, I gravitated toward using women in my works and would add drawn details of flora and fauna to accentuate the smooth curves of their bodies. It was a form of escape for me in my budding youth where most feelings were confusing, and in a tumultuous home where I had very few to talk with. My work transformed into a celebration of the self and continues to be to this day. Although my personal artwork is mostly illustrative, my love for graphic design and printed matter has never faded. Over the past two decades I have collected hundreds of books, zines, and art books. My admiration for art books has always lied within the potential of the reach inherent in their design; where else can you hold an entire exhibit in the palms of your hands? Sure we have social media, but the quality in print is timeless, textured, and simply unmatched. Curious Publishing was birthed out of this passion for print. Over the years, after exhibiting my own works, and hosting group shows I found a community of artists which I believed we’re just as prolific as the greatest artists of our time, and why not celebrate their accomplishments in the printed form? Since I have established Curious Publishing I have personally designed over 25 art books, and I continue to load my schedule with new projects every month. I am doing what I love!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When I’m not designing or illustrating, you can find me in Claremont enjoying an Aperol Spritz at The Back Abbey in, having a bite at the Hotel Casa Lounge, Or picking up some books at The Forum, in San Clemente on the pier enjoying fresh sour dough at The Fisherman’s restaurant, in Redlands enjoying oysters at Redlands Oyster Cult or at The Artlands Gallery picking up new art for my collection.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We’d like to dedicate this shout out to all of the artists we’ve collaborated with since we started in 2017. Without these small connections we would not have the following and far reaching network that we do today! Special thanks to The Arts Area, our fiscal sponsors for handling the business end of things, and to our dedicated event and editorial staff.
Other: Personal links: Instagram : @rebecca_ustrell RebeccaUstrell.com
Images by Haily McMullen