The revival of nudie magazines a la Richardson and Jacques over the past few years is nothing new. Increased interest in promoting sexuality without resorting to the low art of pornography has led to a slew of new publications, some retro, others glossy, focused on communicating sexiness in alternative ways. Enter Gypsé Eyes…
Gypsé Eyes is a magazine lovingly crafted from inside a Brooklyn studio that prides itself on “plumbing the depths and dimensions of sex, love, and relationships.” Led by designer-cum-publisher Tyler Lafreniere, each issue is brimming with work from up-and-coming designers, all within a well-crafted format that shifts dramatically from issue to issue. From its humble photocopied zine-ish beginnings in Issue 1 to a glossy Issue 3 (The Make Out Issue), to Issue 4 on large sheets of newsprint (The Magic Issue), the ever-changing style provides for surprising moments along the way.
Last week I received a very special package on my desk containing no less than 5 issues of Gypsé Eyes, a handful of magic buttons, a plastic necklace, a mix tape, a mysterious baggie labeled “Make-Out Powder” and two tiny phalli. The party bag is closely related to the mission of the magazine: to toe the line of in-your-face erotica alongside kitschy, tongue-in-cheek and unquestionably awkward moments that make it feel voyeuristic and amateur (in a good way). The general campy-ness of the content is something unique that I haven’t seen in this genre of magazine, but it comes off as a kind of love-child between Vice Magazine and Giddyheft. Hipster loving here we come!
Gypsé Eyes “investigates the hilarity and loneliness of sex, love, and relationships,” and it does a hell of a job at capturing every possible face of sex from downright sleaziness and hipster pretentiousness to the humorous, clumsy and authentic. The themed structure creates highly digestible issues that effectively cross-breed erotica with outside topics, like magic and food, uncovering sexiness in previously unsexed locations.
But of course there is more to it than that, Gypsé Eyes publishes each issue in limited runs, and incorporates hand-made techniques like silkscreen and letterpress printing. Issues are framed within well structured layouts that gives each contributor’s work the center stage. High-quality graphic flourishes (especially in the Food & Drink issue, and I love the logo!) and careful production lets each issue shine in its own unique ways. Helpful charts and diagrams alongside well written stories add an additional layer to delve into within each issue.
It is no small feat to publish a magazine in this day and age, as a result Gypsé Eyes has harnessed the power of crowd-funding on more than one occasion via Kickstarter to raise the necessary funds. Every issue can also be downloaded here, but I strongly encourage you to spend a few bucks and get the printed editions. Gypsé Eyes is a wonderful addition to any bookshelf… or night stand.