The new print mag compiling artists' stories and wisdom

Words By Miriam Partington

Marius Thielmann and Jacopo Borrini are the two faces behind STUCK, a Berlin-based magazine seeking to understand the how and why artists create — and to what effect.

The magazine’s first issue 000, “Born out of odd circumstances” was released last year during the darker days of the pandemic, when many artists were stuck at home — unable to move, create or express themselves in the way they did before. Now, having completed another successful crowdfunding campaign, STUCK is launching its second issue 001 “subworld episodes” in 2023, which will explore the stories and works of underground artists and collectives from all walks of life.

LOLA sat down with the duo to discuss their humble beginnings, motivations for launching a print magazine as well as what we can expect from the new issue.

What’s with the name STUCK? How did that originate?
Jacopo came up with the name while experiencing difficulty with finding inspiration as an artist: STUCK comes from being “stuck” in the creative process. The original idea was to provide a platform from artists for artists: to help them get inspired, support them in moving through these creative blockages, and motivate them to pursue their ideas.

We think that artists can learn a lot from each other, no matter what discipline they work in, and translate it into their own way of creating. For example when you are “stuck” as a photographer you do not necessarily need to discover more works from other photographers to get inspired and move forward — you can also be inspired by a painter or a fashion designer who’s doing something completely different. To sum it up: the more different ways of creating and perspectives you show in one magazine, the higher the probability for finding inspiration.

Why print? 
We believe that a high-quality print publication provides a closed system  — detached from endless scrolling, pop-ups ads, and clickbait. In this way,  the magazine is solely devoted to the experience of actual reading and digesting content — a counterbalance to the ever digitised, and often deceptive, media landscape today.

We also want to remain independent as a magazine, and don’t tend to make decisions about content and design based on common market factors like demographics, customer need and competition that typically influence how mainstream magazines do things. We rather do it for the purpose of providing a platform for artists in an unconventional (printed) way.

You and Jacopo have both spent years living in Berlin (though Jacopo is now back with his family in Italy.) How do you think the city and its culture shaped STUCK? 
I’m sure that STUCK inherents a dose of Berlin in its visual language which is provocative, non-conventional and modern. However, the selection of the artists we cover —  that suit the aesthetic of the magazine — is pretty much based on our own experiences, cultures we have lived in and passions that we picked up since our childhood. I always see strong parallels between the content of the magazine and so many things that we are interested in, be it gaming, music, anime, photography, skating, documentaries etc.

We consider the underground to be art that is not consumed by the masses and is untraditionally beautiful and meaningful.

What other countries, cultures or people influenced you in the creation of STUCK?
We are an international publication featuring artists and art projects from all around the world. Each artist — whether they are from Iran, the USA, France, Australia, Italy, Russia or Georgia —  contributes their own unique way of expressing themselves to the magazine.

Art always mirrors some aspect of a culture — sometimes they are obvious, sometimes they are hidden. When you provide a trustworthy space for artists so that they feel comfortable to talk about their works and their thoughts, you can discover so much about where their work comes from and what inspires them. By giving artists space to think and experiment, you can even support them in discovering new themes that even they haven’t thought of yet.

Issue one explored art “Born out of odd circumstances” which was apt considering the magazine was launched during the pandemic when we were all stuck at home. How do you think this experience — of not being able to go outside and see the things and humans that you love — influenced the artists you interviewed?
We see our first issue as a pilot project for STUCK, to test the ground you know. In this issue, we are not necessarily focused on the pandemic, but the topic definitely popped up throughout the interviews and articles many times; obviously the artists wanted to talk about what they were busy with during lockdown. But our new issue is definitely less time bound.

Thinking back to the last issue, I think the biggest source of inspiration for artists were the lockdowns: for example, the lack of clubbing or travel and people having a hard time and discovering methods of “survival”.

I think for some people, including myself, the pandemic somehow released even more creative potential: imposed limitations make you find new ways of overcoming them.

Art always mirrors some aspect of a culture — sometimes they are obvious, sometimes they are hidden.

Your next issue will explore art produced from the world’s underground, like electronic utopias and absurd ideas of the technosphere. What did you learn from looking at art from unorthodox and unexplored perspectives?
We consider the underground to be art that is not consumed by the masses and is untraditionally beautiful and meaningful. The underground has hidden, secret places which are home to artists who go against the grain.

In our new issue “subworld episodes” we are conceptually moving from the inner to the outer, leading the reader through a subworld of eight diverse chapters.

The first four episodes disclose alternate modes of expression through painting, sculpturing, mask designing, airbrushing and photography. You get to know many different ways of expressing emotions and feelings. I learned from speaking to these artists what expression actually means in our ever more complex worl and also learned that people are still afraid to fully express themselves. This tension can often be released through making art in whatever form — and I’m sure that everybody can do this in their own way.

The next four episodes tackle the concept of imagined futures, that gives the reader an idea of how the world could look when humanity fails. I learned that you can never fully predict the future and the more absurd you think about things, the more realistic the imagination gets.

We are also super stoked that we included artists such as Solo Show, Silk Gallery and Guerrilla Bizarre that gives this issue a lot of depth.

We enjoyed every conversation with every artist! It's so sick…haha

Who did you most enjoy speaking to for the next issue of the magazine?
We enjoyed every conversation with every artist! It’s so sick…haha

You began this project as a side hustle. What has been your experience of the media and publishing industry so far? Is there scope to make STUCK your full-time gig?
We cannot talk much about the overall media and publishing industry. The independence that we truly want to preserve gives us, on the one hand, the freedom of expression, the trust among the artists and the authenticity as a publication.

On the other hand, we purposely distance ourselves from common market factors, which makes it hard for us to compete and survive on the market as financials are always a hussle. So far we have financed the project through crowdfunding and personal savings. This however, is not sustainable. For now our first milestone is to break even with the income of the previous issue that will then finance the upcoming issue.

What’s next for STUCK?
On the 9th of December we are launching the magazine at STUDIO183,  in collaboration with the installation team of Cretine. We want to invite everybody that has contributed to the last issues to celebrate, talk and explore culture together. The new issue will be available via our online store from 2023 on.

After this we gotta distribute the magazine so we can reach the aforementioned milestone of breaking even!

STUCK is available to purchase on its website. For updates, you can follow them on Instagram