Interview with Gross Magazine founders Victor Gonzalez and Kevin Peth

by Rachel Davis on 09/17/2017

Gross Magazine is an arts and culture magazine that is amping up all that a publication can be and do. Although, only a few years in the making, Gross is fast attracting attention and has already obtained national and international distribution.

Having worked in artistic capacities themselves, founders Victor Gonzalez and Kevin Peth started Gross Magazine with a desire to create a community that thrives on discovering new avenues in music and art. They also wanted to provide a platform in which they could implement new ideas and continue to cultivate and inspire new and emerging talent.

There’s a twist though, every issue has 20+ stickers, all which contain original content showcasing brands, artists, musicians and more to peel off and slap onto laptops, boards, cars, refrigerators etc. But the raddest part is that it’s not a pull out sticker page, the stickers are integrated into the magazine and peeling them away revels more content! Why stickers? Gonzales and Peth started skateboarding in elementary school and so the obsession with stickers began. In an era where people lament that print is becoming less relevant, the gross team is keeping it sticky fresh with this interactive sticker element.

The Gross Magazine team has a lot of exciting plans in the works and I got the chance to ask them some questions about where they’ve been and where they’re headed:

 

-What is the overarching mission/energy of the magazine?

We’re here to keep things funky while empowering creatives — by making a space for the emerging and established to learn from one another while not taking themselves too seriously. No stuffy shit. Instigating real and tangible interactions is something we prioritize.

-What was the process of finding people to feature?

We browse obscure places (physical and virtual), constantly attend gatherings and listen to our friend’s recommendations.

-Why did you name the magazine Gross the latest issue “Relish”?

GRØSS and RELISH are two separate series of releases. GRØSS volumes consist of our small team’s personal curation of global contemporaries and feature a variety of original content like in-depth interviews, playful worksheets and 20 stickers for example. This magazine will change the way people think about artists and a typical artist interview. We have a theme for each release of GRØSS for which we gather as much knowledge and crazy ideas from our features that will shed some light and help our readers in their own creative pursuits.

RELISH was born out of two things: We’ve noticed artists are fragmented in cities where they should be working together and sharing ideas. There are little communities of well established artists, but the new younger groups don’t have that sense of community. Meanwhile, we get constant submissions and DMs from artists asking to be featured. A lot of the time the art was really good, but we only have room for around 20 artists per magazine. So we wanted a place for these new artists to be seen and meet each other. A few beers and a brainstorm later, RELISH was born. Our new submission-based magazine that opens up to one geo-specific region at a time. Each release features around 35 artists in a completely free print magazine and art show. To top if off, we select an artist in the release and coordinate with Ironlak to produce a mural in the area because we can and it’s awesome fun.

 

-What direction do you see Gross moving in?

To the left, maybe to the right but if we follow our gut, we’ll be alright.

-Short term/long term goals?

Short term would be to get out a few more magazines before the end of the year, have a whole lotta fun and try and not mess too many things up along the way.

Long term goal is to change the way the world sees artists and create as many channels as we can to help empower artists both big and small.

-I love the dimensionally to this project: print, merchandise, art, events, music…it’s impressive and a true testament as well to the effort it took to create such momentum. When did the initial concept occur?

We decided to make a magazine back in 2015 and have always wanted to dabble in clothing and accessories. Events are always fun to throw and live music is the best music and luckily we have a bunch of rad musically inclined friendlies. Thankfully, there are no rules so we do whatever feels right at the time.

-Did you draw inspiration from any particular galleries, magazines or artists that are working in different modes than traditional art galleries/settings?

We take inspiration from everywhere, trying to find ways to make art more accessible for all. Our overall concept stemmed from wanting more from the magazines and culture leaders in the arts community that we’ve followed since we were kids. We’ve got our eye on magazines that are on the pulse of culture in other mediums such as music and fashion, but try to just do our own thing and be us. There are so many imitators out there that originality is the only way.

-How can people get involved?

If you’ve got the hustle we can always use help. We try and keep up on our DMs and emails so just drop us a note of how you think you could help . We may not need help at the moment, but things ramp up real quick before releases and it becomes all hands on deck.

 

-Are you planning on hosting more events in the future besides just release parties?

Absolutely, we’ve got a few things up our sleeves that are in the works, SF and beyond. Maybe some music listening events, pop-ups, murals, charity events, beach clean-ups, etc.

-Where can people buy copies of your magazines past and current and stay up to date on everything Gross?

We keep our shop (shop.grossmag.com) up to date with all our products. You can find both magazine up there as well as some gear. We like making small run clothing and putting it up for a few days, always hand-made by us. Instagram is the best way to keep an eye open on what we are doing.