Pride. Envy. Gluttony. Lust. Wrath. Sloth. Greed.
Freelancer staff members are turning to the dark side for this year’s magazine theme: the seven deadly sins.
Maleficia, Latin for “mischievous,” is the title of this year’s Freelancer magazine and strays from past themes such as Language of Flowers, Lunar and Elemental, according to Freelancer secretary and senior Jessica Moore.
Freelancer, East’s art and literary magazine, is composed of all forms of artwork made by East students. The Freelancer staff meets every Thursday after school until 3:45 throughout the year to work on putting together the magazine, set to come out in early May.
Each year, the National Council of Teachers of English gives out awards to school magazines, the top award being the Highest Award. In 2017 only 7 percent of entries nationwide earned this title, one of which being the Freelancer. Additionally, in 2018, they also were the only school in Kansas to earn a superior rating.
The staff announces the theme after the submissions deadline so that the whole book isn’t full of work relating solely to the theme. Their goal with the magazine is to encourage people to submit their best work that they would like to share — not something that they made out of relevance. According to Moore, this tactic allows for more diversity — ranging in form from poems about sacrifice to paintings of abstract flowers.
Seven deadly sins may grace the pages through an envious snake and a lion of wrath, but Freelancer sponsor Amy Andersen tries to keep the environment upbeat and positive.
Back in August, the club tried to think of fun ways to get students to join the staff, ending up with about 25 members. A strategy they used this year was have a blackout poetry day where students could create their own blackout poetry — a page from a book where all words are marked out except for those used to form a poem.
On top of this, they also put up posters and made announcements to get kids involved and also to start collecting submissions for the magazine. With submissions, all forms of art are accepted and are usually photos of the piece, providing a visual and allowing for more variety among what can be accepted.
“Part of putting out the Freelancer is acknowledging that we have super talented people at our school who are really talented artists and incredibly creative writers,” Moore said. “I think it’s important that we highlight them just as much as our athletes.”
Voice, message and composition are key components that are considered when deciding what will make it into the magazine. The staff usually spends the whole first semester reviewing the 200 submissions they received, using about half for the book. They rank the different submissions on a scale of one to five, five being it’s definitely going in the book. The average of their scores determines if it goes in the book.
Seniors and co-editors Jia Self and Nat Nitsch share how being a part of the Freelancer has helped them grow to become more comfortable sharing their opinion with a group. According to them, the staff values everyone’s opinion and what they have to say through listening when others are speaking or starting up conversations with those who don’t give as much input.
Group contribution also becomes relevant when they sort the artwork into categories under the umbrella of the theme, this year’s categories being the individual sins. Each staff member must review certain pieces and place it into a section they belong in, creating a small outline for the book. While some connections are more obvious than others, they try to find a deeper presence of the theme.
One piece in particular this year is a collage called “Bohemian Rhapsody” by junior Chloe Sowden. It features Freddie Mercury in his iconic stance with his fist in the air. The bright colors and heavy focus on the subject made the staff categorize it into the “pride” section.
The final step is designing all 129 pages and making sure all members know how to use Adobe InDesign to make the spreads under the supervision of design editor and junior Lilah Powlas.
The yearlong efforts are evident when you see the details that go into the magazine and putting it together. All of the late nights at school until eight spent checking submissions and designing spreads feel worth it when they get to see it finished according to members of the Freelancer staff.
“Seeing it there in front of you for real, even though you’ve seen all the spreads and you know exactly what it’s going to look like — it’s still amazing,” Self said. “It commemorates all the time we’ve spent together and all the artists we’ve put into it.”
Moore, Nitsch and Self have found their time with the magazine to be a place of comfort where they can be themselves and strengthen their personalities.
“The Freelancer is a wonderful way for people [to] express their voices and celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of all those different voices,” Andersen said.