Charlotte Halpern, Profane
Launched to share the compulsions of anonymous connoisseurs and artists hidden from official circles—the overlooked ‘amateurs’—Profane was inspired by the flea markets of its home city of Paris.
Charlotte Halpern and Bertrand Houdin publish the magazine in parallel with the Anamorphée design studio, founded 20 years ago. The studio guides luxury homes and cultural institutions in branding and experience design. Charlotte has also just co-founded Laparade, new digital project dedicated to the links between humans and animals.
What are you up to this Monday morning?
Usually on Monday I join the lovely place in the 7th arrondissement in Paris where we have our office, guiding our creative studio through many projects including Profane.
Now it is time to produce contents for next issue (scheduled for the end of May), so we are planning shoots while still looking for more stories.
But this morning I do start a period of mentoring as we are supporting a team of students graduating from Duperré Art school (above), and we will spend some time with them every morning starting today. And the Profane team will gather for a workshop today too! So it is a ‘school day’ for us today, as most of the upcoming Mondays morning will be...
Describe your desk and your work space.
Our place looks like a train: very narrow but quite long, and on floor 0 and 1. It is a former stable in a courtyard, where we work together with Bertrand Houdin, my partner, and various other contributors. But for Profane, we are used to meet in cafés in the center of Paris, so everyone has a short way only and we can focus on Profane only (and put off other projects for later…).
Which magazine do you first remember?
As a child I liked very much all art and craft magazines in which you could learn how to built a train, or paint a pottery or weave a curtain… with any recycled materials. My mother, as a teacher, would have many proposals of that kind.
Later I was discovering fashion and style through now vanished French magazines (that were not Vanity Fair!). Being student in the 90’s I could also eat a lot of images from English mags, and again as a student in fashion and art design!
Now, I have to say that I spend a lot of time on digital contents or vintage publications...
Which magazine matters to you the most this morning?
I am always very happy when the quarterly issue of French magazine Regain is available, and I am still reading the winter issue. This morning is about Springerle, a traditional and beautifuly ornate Alsacian biscuit for Christmas that Emma Bruschi, a talented artist, is showcasing. As there is no such thing as chance, we will show her work as farmer and designer, consisting among other thing of crafting clothes.
Describe Profane in three words.
Create, collect, enjoy
The magazine celebrates the amateur; after 14 issues is it difficult to retain such an ‘outsider’ status?
Being un-professional is quite human, isn’t it? So not very outsider in fact. We are even surprised to see that after six years, and a covid crisis, the interest for those truthful approaches seems even more relevant: we can observe that all those humble creations and/or collections are more valued. They also go with a slower rhythm and more authentic initiatives that fit well the present time.
What effect do you hope the magazine will have on the artists you feature?
We would love that the one who wants to become more professional could manage that, and then wish them to keep their spontaneous or personal and authentic work, and this is not so easy when you step onto market… But a lot of our guests just like it to do their beloved activities as a hobby, if not a hobby horse!
More than any specific result from being published, we wish to highlight those creations (in various meaning: collections are a kind of creation) to encourage and value when they often are hidden. And we are very thanksful to all the creatives that do share their work.
Tell us about the French indie mag scene— it seems like it’s thriving!
Yes, it is thriving like crazy! Still it is quite a small world: Haydée from The Skirt Chronicles has written for Profane, bringing exciting contents, Sacha and François, the makers of Revue Faire are actually the graphic designers of Profane, we are talking to Maxime and Sébastien from The Steidz since our beginnings, and we meet each other during publishing rendez-vous such as Offprint and MAD (though since Covid it is more uncertain).
The best bookstores in Paris—and abroad (!)—are really very inspiring places to discover all this indies… and a lot of younger people are launching their first fanzines or mags, including recent graduates across the fields of art and design. Some are not lasting but this flow is showing a continuous interest for the print.
Please share one piece of advice for somebody wanting to launch their own publication.
We like to be surprised so we also wish to excite our readers: I would give that advice to justify a publication process, more than any kind of personal portfolio approach.
What are you most looking forward to this coming week?
For myself I wish to manage to keep few personal time, for Profane I am looking for some production process confirmations and perhaps new partners, and for everyone, I hope that this week will be followed by better ones…
Founders: Charlotte Halpern & Bertrand Houdin
Editor-in-chief: Carine Soyer
Creative direction: Anomorphée
Graphic design: Syndicat