A magazine at the intersection of art, adventure, and society
Skinny Dipper Magazine is an independent print publication that uses art and adventure to explore issues in our society and the environment. It's not about skinny dipping. It's about diving in headfirst and naked.
Through photography, illustration, and writing, we tell stories that reveal the social and environmental character of our mid-Atlantic region and beyond. We reject the notion that art is a filter, adventure is an equipment brand, and society is inevitably just. Instead, we believe that art and adventure are compelling societal tools for self-discovery, empowerment, and justice.
With this Kickstarter campaign, we are asking for your help to fund the printing and distribution of our second issue. By contributing to this project you are investing in our best work yet, but also in our pursuit of long term financial sustainability — to grow beyond Kickstarter — through increased readership and eventual sponsorship. Your contribution gives us the green light and puts the wind in our sails. Everything else is ready. So let it begin.
We are printing the magazine on thick, 8.5x11 inch paper. It will be heavy in your hands. We hope that you cherish the Issue, whether that manifests as a shining spot on your coffee table or dog-ears and cut-outs and wine stains from discussions with friends.
Like our stories in the first issue, our content is composed mostly of film photography, fiction and creative nonfiction, visual art and illustration. But with Issue Two, we are bringing a focus to darker, more complex, and more representative subjects and stories.
Below you will find some feature sneak-peaks describing what the stories aim to achieve, for us and for you.
Maganda Pa (Still Beautiful) — Underscore the importance of representation in fashion through speaking with Patricia Nygaard, creative director at Maganda Pa, who strives to show how women of color and vintage clothing are ‘still beautiful’ despite their underrepresentation
When Oysters Float — Explore the rise of oyster cultivation amidst struggling US fisheries and imagine how its advent on Tangier Island may affect the community’s response to climate change
- Losing Parents — Foreground the role of death and loss in the lives of youth by grieving, celebrating, and reflecting on parents lost by close friends
- Mural on Main — Come to terms with Virginia’s slave-holding history and highlight the capacity of indie media to confront injustice through the conception of a mural of John Mitchell Jr., former anti-lynching activist and editor of The Richmond Planet.
- Dear Sri Lanka — Use analog photography, creative writing, and illustration to reflect on the implications of cross-cultural travel and the changing nature of relationships as experienced through the reunion of a dispersed friend group in Sri Lanka
Issue One was fully funded on Kickstarter and released to enthusiastic reception in June 2017. It was an intimate, self-reflective mission to prove that raw still matters. It was, admittedly, a somewhat self-indulgent and experimental prototype that allowed us to work through our artistic and intellectual ideas. Yet it was highly successful — we sold out of all our copies and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from artists, academics, friends, and strangers.
“When I sat down with Skinny Dipper, I didn’t get back up for thirty minutes. In a world of distraction this magazine is so immediate and earnest you can’t help but notice the vapidity in most everything else.” — 730DC
“This is an excellent example of what happens when artistry and technical skills find a happy balance. Skinny Dipper Magazine effortlessly fuses art, memories, and personality together to provide a beautiful and inspiring read." — Prabir Mehta, Gallery 5, Chairman
“Skinny Dipper is the antidote to all the fake news and those curated lifestyle accounts. It’s an honest, unvarnished reminder of the good things in life and art. You know, the real things worth sharing. Well designed, the magazine inspires my desire to spend more time creating lasting memories with good friends and family.” — Diane Cook, VCU Brandcenter, Founder
With Issue Two, we have been on a newfound mission to demonstrate how art and adventure can serve as compelling lenses to examine issues within society and the environment. It’s a hypothesis borne of our own experiences — of going camping in a place and learning different things than any journalist or researcher would glean from their more formal approach; of capturing our experiences in poetry or painting or photography and inevitably leaving with more nuanced and empathetic perspectives than any other type of record could provide. And we find that when we parlay these 'approaches' of art and adventure into mechanisms for critical observation of society and the environment, we produce a realm of storytelling that strives for the rigor of research, the justice of journalism, and the aesthetics of art.
Each story in Issue Two testifies to this inherent capacity of art and adventure while retaining the raw, undisguised perspective that characterizes our process, our product, and our audience. Ultimately, we hope that Issue Two serves as a convening force for the socially conscious and purpose-driven artists, thinkers, and explorers of the mid-Atlantic region.
A couple of months ago we launched our consulting agency, Skinny Dipper Studios, to extend our branding and creative skills to other companies. On one hand this represents an effort to actually generate some income, since print media and magazine-making isn’t doing much to monetarily enrich us. But it’s also building up to our long-long-term vision: to serve as the creative media team for causes we care about, and to become collaborative problem solvers for complex issues in society and the environment.
How does the magazine play a role? The magazine provides the opportunity for us to follow our curiosity, to learn, to get close to different issues and the communities and landscapes embedded within them. We hope to put this knowledge to good use when a given community needs someone to amplify their story or serve as a thought partner in developing a collaborative solution. That’s where we hope to come in, in the future, when invited.
Where do you come in? Your contribution is the gateway to putting Issue Two into print, which will continue to develop our readership and serve as an indicator of viability to sponsors.
In order to print Issue Two at greater quantities than Issue One, we need your help. We’re a young publication and we operate on a shoestring budget. We’re working hard to keep our costs low because we want to create a third issue; a fourth, fifth, sixth … But even still, every issue comes with hefty production and distribution costs that we can't cover alone.
We've already covered the costs of content development, art direction, and editing, and with your support, we'll be able to cover the printing and shipping expenses that remain. This means that we’ll be able to start producing a third issue this fall and winter. It means that we’ll be in a better position to keep making and releasing issues, growing our readership by printing more copies, and eventually earning enough funding through grants and sponsorships to grow beyond Kickstarter. Yet it is first crucial to develop a community of readers and patrons who support our work because they share our vision or interests. A strong following and readership lays the foundation for higher levels of funding. THAT is where you come in.
SO, if you want to:
- examine social and environmental justice through the lenses of art and adventure
- support independent media, storytelling, and dream-following
- free fall into a state of empathy with the world, especially the Mid-Atlantic
- tell us to keep going
- not look at a screen
- get weird
- go skinny dipping
Then please help us get to print by pre-ordering a magazine or selecting from the reward options. See the rewards panel to the right to learn how to contribute.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
We didn't want to make this about us, and therefore included this last, but if you're wondering who we are, and who you might be buying from, here's a little bit about us.
Our team of three — Lynn, John, and TJ — coalesced four years ago around the creation of The Cove Project, an online community of artists and explorers. After two years of successful operation, we decided to transition to print and created Skinny Dipper so that we could prioritize content over clicks and fulfillment over frequency.
Fast forward to now: Lynn is now a VCU Brandcenter alum working for Facebook in San Francisco, John and TJ have both left their day jobs to pursue Skinny Dipper full-time, and Issue Two is on the doorstep. John is the editorial director for the magazine, while TJ is the art director. Lynn plays a smaller role given her full-time job and distant location, but is still a valued team member. Through and through, Skinny Dipper has proven to be one of the most meaningful career endeavors that any of us have experienced. We're glad that you're a part of it.
Risks and challenges
Independent publishing is challenging, and it’s always possible that we may not find a way to make our magazine sustainable long-term.
That said, we’re feeling pretty good. We know that our desire to offer a new kind of content about art, adventure, and society will continue to attract readers — thinkers, artists, explorers, citizens — who share our values. And we’re confident that over time we’ll be able to cover our major expenses with funding raised independent of Kickstarter.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (24 days)