By David Pratt
As breakdancers spin around the dance floor to the urban grooves of a DJ, and the funk band Matisse and the Playground set up to rock the stage, the editors of Function Magazine look on with satisfaction.
The student-run publication showcases the work of Ryerson’s image arts students. About 400 people showed up to the magazine’s fundraising party at the El Mocambo last Thursday, bringing the organizers one step closer to realizing their $25,000 goal. The aim this year is to put out the sixth print edition of Function Magazine, which includes student-produced content from all streams of the program: Photography, new media and film.
Che Kothari, a fourth-year photography student and one of Function’s editors, says all the time and energy put into organizing the fundraisers is worth it. “The work coming out of the School of Image Arts is at a very high level,” he says. “The magazine is a great way to showcase student work in a professional setting.”
The magazine’s growth and improved quality over the past seven years has set high standards for this year’s editors. Before choosing content, working on layout, writing articles, or even dealing with publishers, the core group of 10 students first have to come up with the funds to cover the costs. So far this year, fundraisers for the magazine have included a sale of Ryerson students’ prints, handmade Function T-shirts and other merchandise.
There are also all-night parties like this one at the El Mocambo, billed as “putting the funk back in Function.” RyeSAC has also pitched in $2,500 towards printing costs. The editors try to keep advertisements in the magazine to a minimum, only including ads from relevant sponsors like film or camera companies.
It all started six years ago as the result of students wanting to publish the work of their classmates in instructor Don Snyder’s popular portfolio class. “He’s really the reason the magazine got started,” says Kothari. The magazine eventually developed into an annual joint project between graphic communications management and image arts students.
Funding problems later led to GCM students withdrawing from the project a few years later. “Now it’s all in the hands of the students,” says Kothari. This year’s magazine will be a glossy 80 pages and, for the first time, will include a CD/DVD ROM featuring the work of film and new media students.
Students involved in the magazine volunteer outside of class hours and handle everything from content development to distribution of the 1,000 copies. What started out as a class project is now a respected magazine with a name that is recognizable to more than just Ryerson students. “Eye and Now Magazine have labelled Function parties as critic’s pick’ for all of Toronto,” says Kothari, who, with fellow editor Ryan Paterson, has spent countless hours organizing and promoting the fundraising parties.
Paterson says one of the great things about the magazine is that it gives the Canadian art community a chance to “see what young people are doing, and to support that community.”
The fourth-year new media student sees the magazine as a good platform for his field. “There’s so much amazing culture and talent here that doesn’t get recognized. We’re trying to show that, and make something that lasts,” he says.
Since it can be hard for individual artists to get recognized, Paterson sees Function as an opportunity for students to work towards a common goal while showcasing their work.
“We’re stronger together than we are separately,” he said. Learn more about Function Magazine and Function events at Functionmagazine.com