This Monday we steal a moment to speak to Joshua Page, an art technician with a passion for cycling and sport. He founded The Domestique as a blog, which became a printed magazine in 2017. We join him just as volume three hits the shelves.
Tell us about your typical Monday journey to work
I work full time at The National Gallery as a framing and conservation technician. I cycle to work pretty much everyday. I use any breaks at work to focus on the magazine and having a bike makes it a lot easier to get around London and get stuff done.
Describe the state of your desk and what you can see in your office
I don’t really have a desk or office, I don’t even have a computer! Working full time I have to squeeze the magazine into any free time I have. So my lunch breaks normally consist of either cycling to meetings with contributors or sitting down with a coffee and my iPad and getting through emails.
The designer and photo editor also work full time so the flexibility of meeting in coffee shops like Look Mum No Hands is really handy to go over where we are with the magazine. When it comes to the final stages of design we meet up a few times in a studio space in Bermondsey, sit down with a beer and pizza and go through the entire magazine until we feel it is ready.
Which magazine do you first remember?
I’d love to say something really cool and cultured right now but I can’t lie. My oldest brother Daniel was a bit of a ‘boy racer’ when I was growing up and so the first magazine I remember is Fast Car. Not sure if it even exists anymore. And then when I was in my teens I was mad into fishing, so my mum got me a subscription to Coarse Fishing for a year. Totally uncool but I kicked ass at fishing thanks to that mag.
Which magazine matters to you the most right now?
I’m a big fan of It’s Freezing in LA: the subject of climate change is something that is ever present in my mind. I love the format of the magazine and the small details that bring it all together.
Can you describe your magazine in three words?
Stories of Sport.
We have a theory it takes three issues of a magazine to get into the routine. Does that match your experience as you launch your third issue?
This couldn’t be any more true with The Domestique. I am proud of our first two issues but it’s a love-hate relationship. I designed and did a lot of the editorial in volume one and I had no experience in either of those fields but managed to piece together something that still looks pretty cool now and resonates with an audience.
From that audience I had a lot of creatives reach out and want to be part of it, so volume two was a big collaboration between everyone involved. I had the idea of creating a magazine in which every page feels different yet still coherent – I wanted to really take it to the extreme and maybe even change the logo with every issue. This idea worked to an extent, but I feel we didn’t have the time or resources to really do it justice. It’s an idea I want to come back to in the future.
The first two were a huge learning curve for me and so for volume three I picked the bits from each that worked well, slimmed down the design process and it produced a much more coherent publication, that still has an excitement to each turn of a page.
I think I also now know what The Domestique is and what I want it to do so that also really helps: Stories of Sport, from the extraordinary everyday sports person and community; to inspire more people to get out and be more active.
Your title is a direct reference to cycling, however you’ve branched out into other sports since the second issue. Do you worry that it will confuse your audience?
A Domestique in cycling terms is a servant/helper to the leader of a team, doing things like blocking wind and getting food and water. I do think it could be a bit confusing for a new audience, however we have taken the bare essence of that term, to assist, and we use it as the backbone for the magazine. We share the aspirational stories that may inspire others to get into a sport but also giving creatives in sporting communities a platform to showcase their work.
How do you find writers and photographers with the right visual style and interest, and how much are you involved in each story’s development?
Plenty of photographers and writers have approached me since the first issue, and if I like their work, I try to find something that may suit. At this stage in The Domestique’s life it just isn’t possible to pay the people who contribute. It’s something I’m really working hard towards. So it can be tricky to approach professionals and ask them to be involved with no pay, but I try to be clear from the outset.
It’s fairly similar with stories, if a person reaches out and I feel the story has legs I’ll look into it further. For a lot of the stories I find out about things through through friends and social media. I then find the right people to do the story justice in terms of words, photography and illustration. I try to be involved as much as possible with every stage, whether it’s being at the photoshoot or briefing the writer on what I’d like to come from the article. Inclusivity is important and I aim to have a 50/50 split between male and female sports stories.
And then to design, in which I come up with a concept for each feature, piece together a moodboard and work fairly closely with my designer until we feel it’s right.
What’s going to be the highlight of the week for you?
Last week was the launch party for volume three so not sure if anything will top that this week! I’m really looking forward to seeing the mags in shops and on people’s instagrams. Makes it all worthwhile.
What are you doing after this chat?
I’ll probably head to the post office to send a few more mags out and then back to the day job.
Designer: Rusty Ryan
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