The latest issue of Blanket Magazine features an interview with Dustin Parker about his work on Proteus Mag. The issue also profiles several other amazing PDF + print magazines including Bearded Magazine, Ammo Magazine, Unless You Will, Mankind Mag, New Sugar Magazine, Forth Thread, Wooden Toy Quarterly, and Beautiful Decay.

You can download Blanket Magazine issue #20 – I Think I can Fly at

Blanket Magazine is also offering a 6 issue subscription for ONLY $12. Plus you will also receive the Blanket 2010 DIY Calendar free! {usually $5}. The magazine will be delivered straight to your email inbox when a new issue is released.

Blanket Magazine is a really incredible publication and is well worth the $12 subscription fee.


I would love to know why you wanted to start your own magazine?

A couple years ago I stumbled across Bloodwars Magazine and Rodeo 27 and flipping through those two magazines ignited the spark that later became Proteus Mag. Looking at other PDF magazines inspired me to start thinking about what type of magazine I would do.

I originally intended to create all of the content myself and use Proteus Mag as a platform to create experimental or collaborative works. I was really attracted to the idea of creating a collection of random images and then presenting them in the form of a PDF file. I really liked the idea that people could download the magazine and print it out or they could just view it with an internet browser without having to pay for it. I liked the idea of PDF files as a distribution medium.

Another major influence at that time was Sabrina Ward Harrison’s incredible art books. I think her influence is really obvious in the first couple of issues because I was really inspired by her books THE TRUE AND THE QUESTIONS: A JOURNAL and SPILLING OPEN: THE ART OF BECOMING YOURSELF at that time. I think her work was a huge influence on the design aesthetic of the first few issues of Proteus Mag.

At some point I decided to invite other artists to contribute content and then Proteus Mag quickly grew into something much larger than what I had originally planned.

And it was a great excuse to learn Adobe Indesign.

What research did you do (if any) about the magazine industry?

I didn’t do much research beyond looking at dozens of other art publications and keeping a mental note of what I liked or disliked about each publication.

Have you always wanted to start your own magazine?

No, I never had any aspirations to start my own magazine before I started Proteus Mag. I think Proteus Mag was a product of looking at PDF magazines and thinking “I can do this.”

How did you decide on the format your magazine would take and how did this effect the final outcome?

Print was always out of the question because I didn’t have the money to print a monthly or semi-monthly print magazine. I wanted Proteus Mag to be free and I didn’t want any advertising or corporate sponsorship or anything that would distract from the artwork. Most print magazines rely on advertising and subscriptions to survive and I didn’t want to concern myself with either of those things. I thought that a PDF mag was the best option because people could download the magazine from anywhere in the world and you could give it away for free. I ended up doing an 8.5 X 11 format so people could print out the magazine and share it with friends.

You no longer release Proteus magazine as a PDF but are concentrating on the blog. Can you tell us a little about your reasons behind this choice and what you intend to do in the future?

The “final” PDF issue of Proteus Mag came out in June 2009 and rather than continue to release PDF Mags I decided to focus on creating daily content for the blog such as the “Artist Of The Day” feature. Creating the PDF magazine was extremely time consuming and I had a difficult time maintaining a consistent release schedule. Between painting, freelancing and working a regular 9-5 gig, I had very little time available to work on Proteus Mag. The blog allows me to publish daily content and people don’t have to wait 2-4 months for another issue to come out. The content hasn’t really changed. I just changed the distribution medium. It also opens the door to do other types of content like video, artist interviews and news bytes. However, there is always the possibility of more PDF editions of the magazine in the future. I think the PDF editions would be focused editions with a specific theme rather than a random collection of images.

What were some of the highs and lows while publishing Proteus magazine?

Working on Proteus Mag has always been an extremely positive and fruitful experience. Proteus Mag has given me the opportunity to work with some really amazing artists and I’ve been introduced to hundreds of incredible artists that I would have never known existed otherwise.

Shortly after Proteus Mag #7 was released I received a frantic phone call from my web host concerning my bandwidth usage and the site was shut down for a couple days. I ended up moving all of the PDF files over to the Internet Archive in order to keep the PDF version of the magazine online. It was extremely frustrating that I had to worry about the site being shut down because too many people downloaded the magazine. I released issue #7 knowing that it would be the final PDF issue of the magazine and all of the web hosting issues made it easier for me to stick with that decision.


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