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Monday, July 26, 2021

Putting the ‘name’ in Nameless?

Nameless Magazine – it’s the type of magazine you pick up not just because of an intriguing cover. Rather, you pick it up because it functions as a creative laboratory for the visionary minds of UC Davis.

The student-run arts and literary magazine was established in March 2007 by eight students who all met in a creative fiction writing class. With the help of faculty advisor Dr. Andy Jones, they publish quarterly online issues and print a giant annual compilation issue featuring selected works. “We all wondered why there wasn’t a literary magazine at Davis that encompassed how vibrant the art community here is,” said senior English major Jayne Wilson, lead fiction editor of the magazine. “Creativity is nurtured very well here and it wasn’t represented in a way that we felt accurately reflected how vibrant it is.”

The students at Nameless Magazine have worked together to create a more welcoming and inviting environment that showcases anything from art, photography, music, films, fiction and any kind of prose. Undergraduates can submit their work to the magazine, and receive appropriate feedback in return from the editing board. No specific themes or subject matter is being searched for – submitted pieces are simply evaluated based upon their own merits.

“We send our critiques back to the participants,” Wilson said. “We also hold workshops, and they can contact the board if they need further clarification.”

The primary goal of the magazine is to encourage growth and improvement. It also provides creative opportunities for students outside of the liberal arts majors who don’t have time to take writing classes. So why name a magazine with such ambitious goals “Nameless?”

The founding members had originally decided on the name “Karen Magazine,” but soon discovered that it was already taken by another magazine in the UK. During the following meeting, someone concluded, “Guys, we are nameless.”

And that was it – nobody contested.

“The main point is that the name is not important,” said senior English major and lead poetry editor Briony Gylgayton. “It’s all about the people contributing to the magazine and filling that structure up with content. Nameless means whatever you want it to mean.”?

Aside from evoking creativity among their peers through print, Nameless Magazine also takes plenty of pride in their special events.

“We have quarterly workshops hosted by the Poetry and Fiction Board,” said Ryan King, senior English major and head of Public Relations for the magazine. “Everything is student-run, so you are surrounded by your peers; it’s more rewarding and there’s less pressure involved.”

One of the many events that puts a face on Nameless Magazine is Expression Redefined. Held at the Griffin Lounge, the event takes place in the form of comedy skits from Birdstrike Theatre, short films, sculptures and artwork along with any form of creative expression. This year, Expression Redefined will be held on Mar. 9 at 6:30 p.m.

“The magazine comes to life at Expression Redefined,” Wilson said. “We give people a place to hear and see it live. It’s also a great way to network, interact and connect with other artists.”

The magazine also celebrated the release of its most recent issue, “Best of ’08-’09,” at the John Natsoulas Art Gallery in downtown Davis last week. This was the first time Mr. Natsoulas offered his gallery for an undergraduate event.

“We were looking for recognition, and that’s exactly what we got,” King said about the event. “It was astounding, and we even had James Wright’s wife come out to read at our open mic. Some really big names in the Davis community were there.”

With little funding – aside from sales donations and grant funds from the Club Finance Council (CFC) – the magazine still continues to make its mark in the UC Davis’ writing and visual arts scene. Meanwhile, Nameless Magazine is looking for more submissions and contributions from the writers and visual artists of UC Davis.

“It takes plenty of effort to carry on the legacy,” Gylgayton said. “We’d like to expand more into the mixed media, bridging the gap between arts and art history, and even into the sciences.”

For more information about Nameless Magazine or how to attain your own copy, visit their website at namelessmagazine.com.

VANNA LE can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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