Behind the scenes: All–In magazine

by Stine Fantoft Berg in February 2016
Share on Facebook, Twitter or Copy Link
Art & design

Everyone knows you can’t expect to get world-famous actors, directors and artists to collaborate on the first issue of your independent magazine, right? But that’s exactly what Allison Littrell and Benjamin Barron managed with the first issue of All-In magazine, the biannual art and culture title that exists to foster conversation and collaboration between established and emerging artists.

They’re based over in LA, so I caught up with them via email to find out more about the magazine, what they want to achieve with it, and the process of putting it together.


Hey Allison, how are you?
AL: I’m doing well, thanks.

Where are you at the moment?
AL: Right now I’m at my house in Los Angeles. I just moved back to my home city after living in New York for five years.

Could you tell me what sparked the idea behind All-In?
AL: Ben and I met in college and we had an idea one night that we wanted to bring together all these talented people who we know to create something. We were feeling dissatisfied by the isolation that the internet can promote in our generation. That was the main idea and it just grew organically from there.


In your editor’s letter you say you want to bring together emerging and established artists to collaborate – what do you want to achieve from that?
BB: All–In is about conversation – we find that conversation can be one of the most powerful media, and has potential for radical change. We can learn so much from each other – as a young artist and person, there are so many things I don’t know.

The collaborations in All–In have come mainly from our belief that everyone is equal, and that together we can make a difference. With All–In, I’ve found that others feel the same.


Do you always bring people together physically?
BB: Not necessarily. One of the most exciting things is connecting people who might not otherwise get a chance to meet, so for example if they live in different parts of the world.

What has been the most surprising outcome from the collaborations?
AL: I think the outcomes are always surprising. I love it when All–In becomes the venue in which an artist can present something they’ve been wanting to put out, but haven’t found a place for it. For me, the Alex Da Corte shoot with Willem Dafoe was mind-blowing. The chemistry in the studio on that day was really special — we never could have predicted the results.


You’ve got some big names involved in this first issue; Nathalie Du Pasquier, John Waters, Haw-lin, and of course Willem Dafoe – how did you manage that?
AL: The first issue was a mix of reaching out to our friends whose work we love as well as contacting people who we hoped would be involved. We were extremely lucky to have an overwhelmingly positive response from the people we contacted.

Would you say that you have a particular style of interviewing people? I notice you often do interviews together.
 We both like our interviews to go beyond the surface. I’m really interested in the creative process of each person we interview, and I love it when someone tells us about having stumbling points or moments of doubt when making work. I think it’s that honesty we’re looking for.


And what about settling on a visual language?
 I think that because we feel passionately about all the artists we chose to include, there was a natural visual flow in the work. We also have an amazing graphic design team — Hudson Shively and D. Elif Tanman — who pulled everything together beautifully.

You have some ads throughout the issue which look like they were designed specifically for the issue. What’s your strategy when it comes to advertising?
AL: We feel that ads should enhance the experience of reading the magazine, not take away from it. For that reason, we gravitate towards brands we feel have a similar creative philosophy to ours.


Have you found any part of the process particularly challenging?
BB: All–In was released a month after I graduated from school. Creating the first issue was quite immersive and at times isolating – I’d say this was one of the biggest challenges. It was also the most rewarding thing – finding something to believe in.

AL: I would say all the logistics of running a business were and still are challenging to navigate. Neither of us have any experience with that part of the world and the spirit of All–In came from a very idealistic place. Facing the realities of the industry — that is a challenge.


When will your next issue be released, and how far along are you in the making?
BB: The second issue of All–In will be released early May. We’re now working with an incredible group of people and are excited to see what it becomes.

Photography by Logan Jackson

Stay up to date with the best independent magazines in 2016. Subscribe to Stack and we’ll send you a different handpicked title every month.

Close Icon

Join our magazine club! Subscribe to Stack and every month we'll pick a different independent title and deliver it to your door. You never know what you'll get next...

Subscribe now