Interview: Simon Lewin on Oscillations

Interview: Simon Lewin on Oscillations

Oscillations is a semi-annual journal from Random Spectacular, the publishing imprint of design collective and print gallery, St Jude's. Loosely underpinned by themes of place, Oscillations explores poetry, art, photography, architecture, travel and sound. The journal's creators are comprised of  Simon Lewin and Tommy Perman in association with record label Blackford Hill.

We have had the pleasure of interviewing Simon about Oscilliations, his inspiration and creative process.

D: How does it feel to release the second edition of Oscillations?
S: I've been involved in the world of print for more than 30 years and I'm as excited about opening the first box a new project as I was back then.

We were really pleased with the reaction to the first issue of Oscillations. Although it felt like a very natural development of some of the previous publishing projects I've been involved in, for a number of reasons, this new journal feels particularly personal. It was great that all of the contributors we approached were happy to be involved and that the reaction from the public has been so positive.

D: How did the time between the two journals change your perspective on the artists and stories you wanted to showcase?

S: I'm really interested in seeing how the next few issues develop. While we were working on the first issue, conversations would crop up relating to issue two, and this continues as we work on the third and fourth issues, which we're working on now. Tommy and I are finding that when one of us makes a suggestion about a potential contributor or topic we'd like to cover, that often sparks an idea from the other, so it's a constantly evolving process.

D: The magazine has been put together in such an intuitive way. How do you balance the narrative aspect of putting the magazine together with the graphic/visual side?

S: It can feel over-simplistic to express it in this way, but I think it really boils down to a good mix of intuition and trust in how Tommy and I approach putting each issue together. I think we'll always want to consider getting a good mix of content, from purely visual contributions to longer written articles. Once we settled on the content for an issue and have pretty much completed the design and layout, we'll then share thoughts about the page order, which can take a fair bit of thinking about, just to get the right flow of content.

D: You have such a tight edit of artists and collaborators for Oscillations considering the breadth of subjects you cover. How do you approach which areas and themes to focus on and which to leave behind?

S: As the journal is loosely connecting the activities of the publishing imprint and the record label, the contributions we include will somehow share some sort of link to a 'sense of place'. It's certainly a useful reference point for us when we think about the topics we cover and who we might approach. But I think we'll always want to allow ourselves a bit of freedom with this.

D: What other publications do you look to for inspiration?

S: There were a few key inspirations for the original Random Spectacular journals. These included artist/designer Jake Tilson's Atlas magazine series, The Saturday Books, which looked at arts in Britain from the mid-40s to the mid-70s and the Motif series (published by Shenval Press from the late 1950s to the late 1960s). We wanted to produce something that replicated much of their spirit and hope it's something we carry through into how we think about Oscillations.

D: We have so enjoyed the 2nd journal, and we're eager to know, have you started thinking about the third Oscillations?

S: Very much so! We're starting on the layout of issue three but already have contributions planned for the fourth. We'll also be working on an audio compilation that will accompany a future issue.


Oscillations Issue No.2  is out now, and copies are available to purchase online and in store at Dick's.