I ran into Matthew Hoffman the other night at an event at Lost Arts, and he told me that he is opening his first storefront/manufacturing facility this spring, and that he’s nearing the five-million number on the distribution of his now-ubiquitous “You Are Beautiful” stickers. I first encountered Matthew and his work back in 2006, when he was one of Newcity’s Breakout Artists. He’s now a regular fixture on our Design 50.
Earlier this year, the movie industry was abuzz with the news that distributor A24, screenwriter Suzan-Lori Parks and “Moonlight” star Ashton Sanders had teamed up with artist Rashid Johnson, who is directing an adaptation of Richard Wright’s “Native Son” here in Chicago this year. Though Johnson is now a New York-based superstar in the art world, he hit my radar back in 2004, while he was in grad school at SAIC, when we put him in the very first edition of Breakout Artists.
These are far from isolated examples, as a perusal of the list of each year’s Breakout Artists will attest (art.newcity.com/breakout-artists/). The list is full of emerging and established art world stars, several of whom have now “graduated” to our various Leaders of Chicago Culture lists, including the Art 50. And, of course, there are some who have fallen short of our early expectations.
While we’re proud of our work documenting Chicago’s cultural leadership and success stories as we do so often, there’s nothing quite as exciting as following the career of an artist before they reach the mountaintop.
Speaking of just getting started, we’re launching paid subscriptions to Newcity magazine. Though we expect to continue our complimentary distribution within the city of Chicago for the foreseeable future, we’re looking for ways to expand our readership to those who want to read us in print, whether it’s the culture vulture living in Oak Park or the art curator residing in Cincinnati. And beyond that, we’re checking out the feasibility of creating a new revenue source in a time when the commitment of advertisers to fully underwrite media as they traditionally have is increasingly uncertain. We’re not following the traditional models of subscriptions with lots of cards blown or bound into the magazine and countless pleas for renewals. Instead, we’re taking a page from the likes of Netflix and Hulu, with a small monthly rate that continues until you cancel it. We hope the simplicity is appealing.
Thanks, Brian Hieggelke
Look for Newcity’s May 2018 print edition at over 1000 Chicago-area locations this week.