I’m wrapping up and closing the book.
Us Wayfarers is, sadly, at the end of its journey. What I concept-ed in a beer fuelled conversation and built on my dinosaur of a computer was widely well received and to all of you reading this, I thank you.
Us Wayfarers’ story began while I was still at university studying my bachelor’s degree. And like all great uni students I was the master of procrastination. Being easily distracted and having a head with an alien sort of clockwork I developed a simple constraint to an already larger idea; a media space for Gold Coast talent who wouldn’t necessarily get their voices heard as often as they should. It’s a tough environment for artists in a world like ours. Us Wayfarers didn’t necessarily help them in any way in their careers as artists, though it gave them something to own, to show and be proud of. Forever, they will be associated with Us Wayfarers and, in turn, me.
I’m very thankful for everybody involved (I won’t list everybody just yet) but I’m especially thankful for Mark Alpen in particular. He’s the man who fuelled the conversation, along with a couple of salty pretzels, which started it all. As it would later turn out, in terms of talent sourcing and idea production, photography and image selects Mark had a large part. Thanks, Mark, for spreading the word and, of course, the brews along the way.
It wasn’t until I met a handful of talented local writers that I knew what I’d envisioned was indeed possible. With Mark, a few fellow wordsmiths and myself I had assembled a team in the early hours of twenty-fifteen. I have this belief that if you hire someone with a degree of talent and then direct them on how to use said talent it’s usually a recipe for dispassionate workers. In no way am I claiming to have hired my Us Wayfarers colleagues, but you get my point, right? I didn’t want to put a clamp over the people who would essentially populate the publication. I trusted in their own beliefs, I trusted in their passion for their own work. The result was an issue filled with personal, relatable articles that were free from the unemotional, disjointed writings most publications today are recycling. I loved every single one.
When it came to getting everything together, collating the writings, the imagery, the editing, the polishing, the rights, the creativity, the consistent story telling, the finer details, I owe a lot to my girl, Eleanor, who knew how to keep my chin up. Yes, the final product still held mistakes (four in issue one and eight in issue two – yikes) but what is a piece of art without its flaws?
The first time I held a copy of a completed Us Wayfarers issue was surreal, exciting, scary, but overall it was satisfying. Because that meant it was launch time. And launch time meant a big ol’ blowout. Thanks to Sunhouse, Us Wayfarers birthed into a diverse collection of new friends. Beers flowed, live music stole the air and the wayfarer in all of us owned the night.
When it came time to build issue two I pressed repeat on all of the above.
As mentioned, the lifecycle of Us Wayfarers is at its end. The potential was pivotal however life always prevails. I soon discovered that my attention was being stolen by countless other opportunities and U.W. wasn’t getting what it deserved. To keep it short and sweet, I knew it was time to close the book. Perhaps one day we’ll see a modified version of Us Wayfarers, but that day will be no time soon.
Before I close the pages I’ll say sayonara to a couple more of U.W’s contributors. To Jess Mackay and Caity Hennessy, you’re both legends who’re only going to continue to become great(er) writers. To Morgo Danger, who was always hell keen on fleshing out some minor details for me – and for supplying photographs whenever I needed them. To Timmo and Hamish, who stole the show with cover shots. To the little boutiques (and larger ones) who welcomed U.W. inside their doors. To everyone who bought an issue and essentially funded a dream. And thanks to all the features.
There are still back issues available from U.W. one and two, I’m happy to send them out to you at cost if you’re yet to get a copy – just hit me up on the gram.
We’ve all got an inner wayfarer, and through us the dream will live on.
Photographs by Mark Alpen, Sean Scott, Tim Caraco, Morgan Schaffer, Caity Hennessy, Hamish Laing, Chris Proud, Aaron Smith, Shaun Levitt and Jess Parkes.
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