A magazine provides an artful creative outlet for students of any discipline.
By Alese Pickering
In 2018, then-freshmen Gabriella Feuillet ’21, an architecture major, and Pilar Canavosio ’21, a civil and environmental engineering major, along with four other Rice classmates, discussed a mutual longing for a new kind of creative outlet. The majority of the editorial team were students of STEM and the social sciences while only two were formally studying art.
By the end of the year, ASTR* art and design magazine was born. The annual publication, which touts itself as having no rules, includes a diverse array of artworks in both digital and print formats — poetry, prose, painting, photography, knitting, original music, playlists and more — all created by Rice students.
ASTR* shape-shifts from issue to issue, making changes in theme, trim size, binding and even page orientation.
Issue 2, resembling a photocopied fanzine, was entirely produced in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic changed every aspect of our lives. As the world suddenly relied more on digital communication, the magazine did too. “What were supposed to be hours spent creating together in the Digital Media Center became hours spent creating alone in our bedrooms,” wrote the editors in a note to readers. “Faces became pixelated, and great ideas were sometimes interrupted by bad WiFi.”
Issue 3 was published in spring 2021. Its larger format and colorful pages reflect the hope and optimism we all felt coming out of 2020.
So what’s on the horizon for ASTR*? The team plans to produce two publications this academic year — Issue 3.5 in early spring 2022, a mini-zine with a theme of “space,” and Issue 4, a full-length magazine slated to be published at the end of the spring 2022 semester with a dual theme of “sonder/self.” Only a lucky few hundred people will receive a printed version, but all issues are available to view online at astrmag.com. More information on the club can be found via OwlNest, Rice’s student engagement platform.