Plaster is a contemporary art poster magazine that speaks to and for a youth audience
Founded by brothers Milo Astaire and Finn Constantine, the debut issue features artist and writer Harland Miller throughout its entirety.
- Ayla Angelos
- 8 July 2020
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
Open up the first issue of Plaster, and you’ll see an extensive profile of Harland Miller, an English artist and writer best known for his satirical paintings of reimagined Penguin classics. Profiling just one artist with each issue going forward, this new magazine – founded by brothers Milo Astaire and Finn Constantine – goes deep into their singular subject. In the form of a poster magazine, the pages are filled with interviews and essays, all of which are there to provide context and a deeper understanding of the artist and their practice.
Of how this magazine came about, the two were innately inspired by their grandfather. A graphic designer named Alan Aldridge, who designed the Beatles Book of Illustrated Lyrics, he was the very man to create Elton John’s Captain Fantastic album cover, produce Andy Warhol’s Chelsea Girls poster, create the Hard Rock Cafe logo and the list goes on with various other pieces from the 60s and 70s. “Growing up I was immersed in art and design, which lead me to pursue a career in the art world,” explains Milo. A curator and writer, Milo runs a weekly art newsletter called A Quick One – named after The Who album that his grandfather created the album cover for – that “tells people which three art shows to see in London that week”, plus three articles they should read. With Milo working in the arts, his brother, Finn, is a fashion photographer who’s worked with brand such as Gucci and Adidas, and has had work published in i-D, The Face and Notion. A complimentary duo, to say the least, it comes to no surprise to hear of them joining forces to create something of their own.
“I was very keen to create something within the art world that was unique, tactile and collectable,” continues Milo, “but remain accessible for my contemporaries.” After coming across a poster magazine from the 70s titled Kung-Fu Monthly, with each issue dedicated to Bruce Lee and his films, Milo then noticed the increasing audience for such a concept – particularly with the youth. “It would arrive as a magazine folded down into A4, and then you could unfold it to reveal a huge poster on the reverse of Bruce Lee in an action pose, which you’d then proudly put up on your wall.” A keen advocate of this specific format, he thought to trade in karate for art and soon enough Plaster was born.
With Josh Crumpler on the design and layout, the team sought to give issue its own stamp – “to really give a sense of who the artist is,” says Milo. In this sense, they wanted to distinguish how Harland was “very carefree” and how he had a “slightly punk” attitude on life, but also how his was was notably concise. “It was about bringing together those elements,” continues Milo. “He is pleased with how it came out so that was a big plus.”
Upon deciding on the aesthetic and feel of the magazine, Milo goes on to explain how they pulled many cues from postmodernism. Especially that of mixed-media, and how, with Harland producing his own self-portrait to be included in the issue, they wanted to juxtapose the photograph with a handwritten Q&A. “Harland’s work merges a love of pop culture, abstract expressionism and wordplay,” says Milo, “so the combination of these styles really fit the mould and influenced the design of Plaster.” This conception effortlessly rings out from the magazine, with what Milo describes as “clashing Herb Lubalin-esque typography, DIY aesthetics with the minimal.”
The magazine not only presents the artist through its considered visuals, it also goes deep into their practice. This means that Plaster was going to present an array of different media and content within each issue, and that it needed to provide a long-lasting identity that would be able to work with each varied artist. “Defying a strict limitation of weights and styling within the chosen typefaces, as well as use of colour, the intention is to create something that can remain expressive with each issue.” Much like a canvas ready to be filled with vibrant works, the result for the first issue sees a neon yellow typeface and extended serif in the logo and headlines.
Inspired by Parkett and much of Purple Magazines earlier issues from the 90s, Plaster has a certain nostalgia and classic feel about it – yet what they’re doing undoubtedly feels quite fresh. “We both felt there wasn’t a contemporary art publication speaking to and for a youth audience,” Milo continues. “We recognise the lines blurred between fashion, art and music, but we wanted to produce a publication that celebrated artists and people who, more so than ever, shape art tastes and beliefs.”