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Interacting with art

Lance Kagey and Tom Llewellen talk "ROTATOR"

"ROTATOR" celebrates its first issue Friday at Fulcrum Gallery in Tacoma.

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Get ready - a new multimedia art project is about to rock your world. ROTATOR, set to debut this week, is at once a periodical and a piece of art. Headed up by Lance Kagey, Tom Llewellen and the collaborative efforts of plenty of other local talent, ROTATOR will cover topics relevant to the Pacific Northwest, largely focused on urban life. Its creators refer to it as a "quarterly portfolio of Pacific Northwest anti-suburban arts and industry."

Aside from Llewellen and Kagey, ROTATOR will incorporate letterpress printers, illustrators, graphic designers, photographers and videographers. "Arguably some of the best in the region," offers Kagey. This ragtag collection of artists was brought together by a love of design and print. It's also true that many have worked together on other projects.

Its creators will tell you ROTATOR strives, above all, to be a piece of artwork. While there won't be a lot of advertising, even the ads will be little masterpieces, each designed as a piece of art. Every issue will also come with a handmade insert, "A sort of Cracker Jack prize inside, so to speak," says Kagey.

The first issue of ROTATOR, set to debut at a release party Friday at Fulcrum Gallery in Tacoma, will include a silk-screened piece by artist Brian Hutcheson (with assistance from Tyler Kalberg).

"The magazine - both the print and online version - is meant to be a design showcase with big, full-page photographs, original illustrations and layouts that both engage and challenge the reader," says Llewellen.

The online version will include a number of bonus features, including audio and video files and photographs.

Kagey and Llewellen also say each issue will have a theme. Inaugural articles will focus on how plans often go awry, including a piece by Michael Sullivan on the original urban plan for Tacoma, and a piece of former state rep Dennis Flannigan about why he loves and hates the way Tacoma developed. Print runs will stay at about 500 for the foreseeable future.

"We want people to think of these as pieces of art. People interact with art differently than they do with a periodical. We want them to wallow in the details, because a ton of work went into the details," says Llewellen.

The makers also want to keep the press runs at around 500 to maintain their own sanity, since each edition involves hand-letterpressed covers and inserts.

While the lineup of contributors is currently Tacoma-focused, this project may or may not remain that way. Summed up in a letter in the first issue, Kagey writes, "If this thing survives, I see this group pulsing and morphing like a well-fed alien parasite. But in a good way."  

The first issue of ROTATOR will debut at an opening party Oct. 14 at Fulcrum Gallery, and at Pike Street Press in Seattle on Oct. 20. After that, issues will be available in select areas of the region as well as online (rotaratormagazine. com). Issues will be quarterly and sell for about $20.

[Fulcrum Gallery, "ROTATOR launch party, Friday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m., free, magazine $20, 1308 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, TAcoma, 253.250.0520]

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Tom Llewellyn said on Oct. 14, 2011 at 1:46pm

Launch party is tonight, October 14 at Fulcrum Gallery. Come and see. Come and see.

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