Several years ago, a community of artists brought a grassroots-funded magazine into the world, in the midst of a weathered city and a daunting print industry. This project was inspired by good friends and good vibes, to create a record of a moment in time. Placeholder Magazine.
As a word, “placeholder” refers to objects or people whose names are temporarily forgotten, irrelevant, or unknown — it felt fitting as a counter-response to the complicated nature of Stockton, our hometown. In what was known as the most miserable city, we got creative — how could we make our days more varied, spark thoughtfulness, share parts of life through art? How could we create an avenue where trains of thought could run freely?
Fast forward to the present, we find ourselves in the realization that beneath our magazine were layers of purpose — we were driven by the need to create, to connect, to communicate together.
Collage by Orion Camero.
As an interdisciplinary arts collective, an emerging community advocacy co-operative, and a media platform for artists by artists, we embody our own definition of “placeholder” in two (2) ways:
: holding ourselves in a mental place of honoring the environments that shape you, the nostalgic idea of being loyal to local,
: holding a fascination in wandering the many mental places we find ourselves in life, whether it’s in a new environment or within ideas of any and every kind.
So welcome to our re-birth as a born again version of Placeholder. We are both a print magazine and its digital form. We are both an organization and a series of relationships. We are a project unfolding with many more to emerge from within it. We see our work as an active exercise in building skills and an endless exploration of the most visual and sonic kind, originating in a city far too underrepresented—a mirror metaphor in our vision to capture content unseen. And while some of us may not live in the Central Valley anymore and others of us do, we ultimately find ourselves committed by a shared vision to hold this place in all of its complexity.
Explore our archives and you’ll find years worth of thoughts, reaffirmations, or inspiration. But in this rebirth, Placeholder is looking forward to nurturing the community where we are at in real-time- bringing forward a slate of new stories and perspectives in the coming months. As we close a chapter of our organization’s history through our final print issue, A Compass in Complexity- we’re stoked to be opening a new one and excited to share what it looks like. More details to come soon.
Call this a placeholder article until a better one comes along. Here’s to hoping that many will.
Cover image by Ayaana Williams.