Free Time is a magazine for our current moment, celebrating the wonder of spare time
Beginning as a personal project, Free Time has now blossomed into a publication collating the beautiful work and words of creatives across the globe.
- Harry Bennett
- 20 November 2020
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
Free Time is a magazine all about self-published books, Sunday sketches and all things made in our spare time. It is the brainchild of graphic design and creative direction studio Faye and Gina (somewhat confusingly run by Helena Kadji and Rocío Ortiz) and the illustrator and fashion designer Pol Anglada.
Inspired by the hundreds of drawings they found lying around Pol’s house (all made in his spare time), the friends decided to come together and create a project around what Helena and Rocío call their “shared passion for self-published editions, DIY, fanzines and a need to create”. Behind the project is a fundamental belief that what one chooses to do in one’s free time demonstrates a considerable distillation of character, and “constitutes one of the most significant forces for personal growth”.
Free Time’s maiden issue featured a series of blue pencil life drawings by Pol, but it sparked an idea in the trio which they could see had more depth to explore. They launched the magazine as a larger-scale project in 2019, and it is now onto its second issue, not only combining their team’s mutual passion for creativity, but demonstrating their attitudes to work, life and fun.
GalleryFree Time: First issue featuring pencil drawings by Pol Anglada (Copyright © Free Time, 2020)
Aside from the studio practice, Rocío and Helena are themselves prolific, “embarking on plenty of creative and plastic adventures,” they say, including ceramics, ink, typography and drawings. Similarly, Pol can’t seem to stop drawing. “In a time of achievement-oriented culture, where we have structured our culture around work, not play,” Rocío and Helena remark, “Free Time focuses on the importance of leisure.”
They continue: “In a way the lockdown has been a stop in time to discover oneself, almost like a child spending hours painting, playing. We suddenly realized how broad and inclusive the idea of free time is, to dive into and celebrate everyone’s free time, alone time, ‘me’ time, as much as we make of our own.”
With it being such a broad subject, Pol, Rocío and Helena brainstorm a specific theme for each issue (such as “Day and Night” in their previous issue), and then decide what subjects and what angle to take on that theme. This extends into the design and production of the magazine as well, with each issue being a different shape whilst maintaining the same layout – casually including a rainbow somewhere as well. “We really pay attention to details and the production of a well-designed and beautiful collectible object is very important for us,” they explain. For instance, they pasted photographs by hand into the first issue, and also develop new merchandise for each issue.
With an astute awareness of the current climate crisis, the team went above and beyond for the packaging of issue two, screen-printing each individual packet. “We did a big search for used plastic bags (including old and iconic ones),” Helena and Rocío explain, “asking plastic bag collectors, walking everywhere around Paris streets and shops to ask people about this object.” In doing so they hoped to contribute as little as they could to the production of waste and tried to respond creatively to the act of reusing and recycling.
GalleryFree Time: Found plastic packaging of latest issue (Copyright © Free Time, 2020)
With an expanding team, including Annabel Fernandes as their managing editor and Jeremy Olds as their features editor, they have become more streamlined in the process of collecting and writing stories, giving the founding trio greater freedom in what they collate and establishing a dialogue when the idea is found.
Discussing the diverse range of contributors, Rocío and Helena recall Simons Finnerty as one of their favourites; a photographer whose series of self-portraits documented the domestic environment of South Carolina. Responding to the emotive quality and sincerity of the images, they tell us, “We were very impressed by its roughness, sweetness and honesty,” adding, “the series is dedicated to his mom who sadly lost her life a few months after this shoot.”
Another favourite story of theirs was the pictures of artist Peter Puklus, “who shared with us his most common activity in his daily life in his Budapest studio,” Helena and Rocío add, “drawing repeatedly the same drawings again and again.” Through this repetitious act, they explain, Peter made new discoveries, including a rekindled love for a longtime partner. “He photographed all of his notebooks for us and we worked really hard on a layout that expressed the richness and complexity of all the material he had sent us,” Helena and Rocío say. “We were especially happy with the result.”
Now preparing their third issue, due to launch in the spring, concerning the theme of family, Pol, Rocío and Helena are also working on the visual identity for the next exhibition curated by The Community Collectif, set to (theoretically) take place in Paris next year.
Free Time: Spread from most recent issue featuring work by Ikki Kobayashi (Copyright © Free Time, 2020)
About the Author
After graduating from Winchester School of Art, studying graphic arts, Harry worked as a graphic designer before joining It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in March 2020. He nows works as a freelance writer and designer, and is one half of Studio Ground Floor.