Small Is Good: A Review of Oh, Contraire’s First EVER Issue!


*Note all images used in this post are the property of oh, contraire

I was recently contacted by a brand new online publication oh, contraire and asked to review their very first issue titled “Small Is Good”! I was delighted and honoured that they approached me to take a read and share my thoughts here on my blog. The publication is the creation of two creatives Michael Valiquette, who is the editor and art director, and Sara Mikula , who is the editor and writer. The idea for the publication came about on a visit they took to Clifton Park, NY. During that visit they took a walk and came across a woman who was sitting alone at her easel, working on a sketch of boats in the bay. They became curious to know more about her and her drive to create. The pair were inspired to begin their own creative  journey,  a journal of conversations with creative people that could inspire and enlighten other creatives.


*the quote above was taken from the conversation with painter Scott Nelson Foster

The journal features five creatives. A writer, two painters, a photographer, and a musician. Each conversation is intimate and explores how the artists think about their work, what inspires them, what keeps them going, their struggles, their triumphs, their processes, and the important connections in their lives. What I really love and appreciate about the journal is that the conversations speak more to the artists and their practices, than to the work that they create. Who the artist is, and what they do in their daily art practice, and life practices as well, is all a part of what makes up the work that they create.  So to me, it makes complete sense to focus on experiences first and foremost. This is also a nice approach because it allows room for the reader to explore the work of those interviewed on their own. The reader can then connect the person and the practice to their work.


*Above is an image of Elaina Frulla, a writer and teacher in New York. 

The photography that accompanies each conversation focuses mainly on portraiture. We see the artists faces, we see their spaces, and some of their personal objects. It gives insight into the life of each artist and I felt like I was getting to know each person.  I really enjoy looking at photographs of working spaces, or visiting studios when I get the chance. There is an energy present in these spaces that is a really pure reflection of the person or people that inhabit them. It’s a very intimate way of coming to understand a creative person’s inner world, and so I found it really valuable that images of work spaces and studios were paired with the conversations.


*Above is a portrait of painter Scott Nelson Foster

The conversations are well written and articulate. I became completely absorbed, and totally fascinated by each one. They are warm and welcoming, and when I was through reading, I felt as though I’d sat down with these artists and learned so much about them, and in turn so much about myself.


The thread that ran through the entire journal was that each creative person does what they do not for anyone but themselves, and they do it because they love it and can’t imagine life without a creative outlet. Creating is like breathing for some.

I really recommend checking out this brand new journal. As a creative person you might find some wisdom and encouragement, and you may also learn a little bit about yourself along the way. It’s really inspiring to read about people who are doing what they are passionate about, and making it work no matter what.

Thanks to Sara + Michael for getting in touch, and best of luck to them and their new endeavour!

Please visit oh, contraire’s website to learn more about this awesome new publication!


5 thoughts on “Small Is Good: A Review of Oh, Contraire’s First EVER Issue!

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