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Perseverance and Rebirth: Clark’s Phoenix Soars Amidst Remote Operations

Phoenix is Clark College’s award-winning art and literary magazine. Due to Clark temporarily being remote-only, Phoenix collaborated digitally to finish their 2020 issue. 

Although most of the content was put together during Winter quarter, there was a great deal more design left to do. 

Portrait shot of Aleksandra Hanchett in a parking garage
Aleksandra Hanchett, graphic designer at Phoenix, courtesy of Aleksandra Hanchett

“This transition from meeting together to when the lockdown happened was a big issue for us,” Aleksandra Hanchett, a graphic designer at Phoenix, said “We were like, ‘okay, we still have a lot of work and we’re not gonna have time to finish everything before the lockdown’, you know? So it was this time of uncertainty [where] we don’t know what we’re going to do.” 

Hanchett didn’t have a laptop at home to design on and said she had no idea what to do. Hanchett said Kathrena Halsinger, the instructor for Phoenix, pulled some strings and was able to get a college issued laptop to her early so she could continue working on the book’s designs and staff portraits. 

“[The team] all decided ‘okay, we’re just gonna divide tasks and like keep working from home and then see how it goes from there’. So that was kind of hard to decide.” 

Hanchett said Phoenix is a cool award winning magazine and encourages people to continue submitting work. She said it’s great exposure and loves how the magazine is done by students. 

Garrett Mann sitting in a chair, playing guitar and wearing a flower Lei
Garrett Mann, graphic designer and photographer at Phoenix, courtesy of Garrett Mann

“Right around the end of Winter quarter, in March,” Garrett Mann, a graphic designer and photographer for Phoenix said, “the pandemic was just starting. But there was still a lot that needed to be done. We did have a really good start. I’d say probably 75% of it was done by the end of the quarter, but 25% trickled into Spring break and then even into this quarter.” 

Mann said the most difficult part of the process was having all communications being email. Being remote was also difficult on photographers since some needed to reshoot but didn’t have the required equipment. 

“I think the whole quarter was stressful because there was a small team of us, so it was two or three people working on a major part of the project. Whether it was typography or page layout or web design or photography or social media. I think we handled it really well,” Mann said, “Hard work pays off and, if you get the opportunity to take the Phoenix class, Katherina is an excellent instructor. We definitely wouldn’t have produced this without her guidance in her help.”

portrait shot of Larz Baldwin-Dillon with striking dyed red short hair
Larz Balswin-Dillon, former product photographer, social media manager and fine art editor for Phoenix

Larz Baldwin-Dillon was the product photographer, social media manager and fine art editor for Phoenix in 2018. 

Baldwin-Dillon said everything was put together quickly this year. She could see that they were having trouble and offered to help, but she saw they had everything covered. 

“Every year the Phoenix wins national awards, which is pretty cool,” Baldwin-Dillon said. “I feel like the physical copies are always just an extra perk and a bonus. I have mine and I feel like even with the quarantine going on the most we can do is just put it out there on social media, really get it out there and then make sure that whoever decides to do the website does a really great job at presenting all of the art pieces.”

Baldwin-Dillon said joining Phoenix is an amazing opportunity and encourages students to enter their work into the magazine. 

“There are so many different areas that accept so many different styles of art,” Baldwin-Dillon said, “It doesn’t matter if you’ve made it at school or if you made it at [home], everything’s accepted. It’s an award winning book, so it’d be great to go in anyone’s portfolio and on anyone’s resume.” 

Jonno Heyne, the former creative director of Phoenix, said the layout was usually spread out on camera so it could be critiqued in the classroom. Large scale mock-ups would be made and tested. 

“Luckily for us, this term has been about some of us regulars finishing up the book,” Heyne said, “And then of course, a new round of people who are coming in and they’re starting from scratch, learning the terminology, setting up mock ups and making some early decisions about what they see in the book. We’ve been fortunate that this term would be the one term that we’d be shut down. I think it’s the lightest term.” Heyne said the challenges will become more clear in the Fall when Phoenix gets busier. “That’s where I think the challenges are really coming.”

Heyne said Phoenix is a great way for artists and writers to be able to put their stuff in a form where people are going to be able to see it.

“I want everyone to know that [Phoenix] is a great doorway,” Heyne said, “If you haven’t picked one up before and you got a couple of minutes, it’s always a great thing to crack up and you can see in just a couple of minutes, just any page, it’s gotta be inspiring. I think it’s a real honor to be part of it because it really does speak for the art community and art competition.” 


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