Saddleback student creates Grae Magazine

Natalie Zigdon, 21, English, displays pieces of artwork for Grae Magazine. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Zigdon)

Riley Tanner

It seems that contemporary society is dominated by popularity. In a world where our worth is evaluated based on our number of Twitter followers or the amount of likes on a Facebook page, one woman chose to eschew coeval values and create an art community unlike any other.

Grae Magazine was created by Natalie Zigdon, a student at Saddleback College.

Grae was originally created as a solo project, but has grown and gained support since its original issue was released in January 2011.

Zigdon’s zeal for creativity started early in her life. Armed only with a personal diary she chose instead of recoding day-to-day events she would write stories.

By venturing into this creative universe that she could manipulate at will, she found her passion.

This fervor was only exacerbated upon discovering talent with a camera, and new dimensions of thought and creativity opened for the young artist.

“Grae’s biggest purpose to open your mind, get you thinking beyond ordinary thinking and push the boundaries when it comes to art,” Zigdon said.

This online project strives to give artists a unique outlet for their creativity. Grae’s purpose is not to generate funds or popularity, but merely to provide those with the wish to create somewhere to do so and the ability to share their passions with others of similar disposition.

“To me, it honestly isn’t about money. I wouldn’t care if the magazine didn’t make a dime but if it did, we would use that money to host art galleries and shindigs for local artists,” Zigdon said.

This multifaceted vision incorporates a variety of styles and methods in its production.

While it boasts an amazing variety of picture and drawing art, this magazine also incorporates a wide assortment of written work.

There is a special “Treehouse” domain that allows it’s writers to be as “dark, creative or racy” as they wish because creator Zigdon believes that “no one should be limited when it comes to writing.”

Grae also features a “Rorschach Gallery,” which uses art to ruminate on an artist’s desires and fantasies based on their work.

Taking a particular piece and deriving your own unique meaning is one of the many avenues of creative expression available in the gallery.

Those who submit work to Grae might also be featured in interviews found on the site. Getting to know the artist often helps interpret their art or gives the viewer new ways of looking at a previously discovered piece.

“Sometimes I feel like art is like the superman suit under our button up shirt. We don’t realize a person is an artist until they choose to reveal it to us.”

Rather than forcing its contributors into a restricted model of creation, Grae encourages its supporters to do their own thing.

“Not only was Grae created to put my writing and photography in one place, it was created for every artist who lives to create,” Zigdon said. “I knew that if art was such a huge part of my life, there had to be others like myself. I pretty much wanted to create a melting pot of inspiration.”