Issue No. 33
— July 2017






Digital trend publication
blending a mix of culture,
insights and data.

A trend product by





I always joke that my idea of the perfect vacation would simply be not receiving an email for two weeks. And I don't mean going out of town, setting up an automatic out of office email reply and turning off my phone. I would more like to go about my daily life, doing the things I enjoy, and just not getting any emails or feeling the pressure of having to answer to someone. Could you imagine?


As addicted as I am to technology, I constantly crave disconnection. It's like my mind and my phone are playing tug-of-war.


This issue is about just that - the analog lifestyle. We're highlighting people who create real things with their hands. We're sharing stories of offline experiences and products that are thriving in our technology-driven society. The people who are shaping trends in travel and culture-consumption.


Of course you're reading this in digital form, but we hope it inspires you to find what helps you disconnect and embrace things that ignite your five senses.


Delanie Billman

Managing Editor




Editor's Letter


"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened."

mark twain




Dig into the issue by clicking on the links below!



At odds against the free mind

When it comes to technology, the convenience likely comes with a high, mental cost. There is no such thing as disconnection and that can often leave us feeling like prisoners to the devices we rely on so heavily. This article is a raw and real depiction on the new-age battle between our attention and our devices.


— Simone Spilka



Print Isn't Dead (But It's On Life Support)

Erin Spens started Boat Magazine, a travel + culture publication, in 2008 at the height of the economic crisis. And it hasn't necessarily been smooth sailing since. Read about her challenges of maintaining a successful print publication in a world where digital consumption rules.


 — Erin Spens



16 artists who create with their hands

With digital, multi-media and graphic design becoming more and more popular, we can't forget about the true analog artists - those who create with their hands. From sculptors to painters to bespoke fashion designers - we're highlighting some of the talented people in our network who are keeping the arts alive.


— Matte Black



Photographer Noah sahady

Like what you're seeing throughout our issue? All credit is due Noah Sahady, who is more than a just a photographer, but a deep thinker about the art and meaning behind his work. We interviewed him about perspectives, his muses, and how he got started in the creative industry.




If you thought email killed greeting cards - think again! London-based Vicky Simmons is a former art director for Apple's ad agency, Media Arts Lab, who recently launched Mean Mail, a brand of greeting cards for those who like to tell it like it is. Read about work as a designer and the art of greeting cards.



Andrew Tyree, Founder of Coast to Costa

Over the past few years, millennials have chose travel and experience over material goods. We chatted with Andrew Tyree, the founder of Coast to Costa, about culture, experience and the future of travel.









Putting the Pieces Together with Christina and Maggie of Jig+Saw

Starting a new business is all about experimenting until the pieces fit together. Christina, Founder of Jig+Saw, and Maggie, Community Director, know all about it. Tune in as we chat the spaces' history, building a community amongst strangers, and why it's important to hustle instead of work.





"These individuals have riches just as we say that we 'have a fever,' when really the fever has us."

— SEneca




Don't get mad/Get rich

Study the people who are doing better; this is how you get better at marketing. This campaign hits all of the beats you should: Fun, a bit edgy, culturally relevant. Not only do we love that it pokes fun at the ultra-rich; we love that the moral is that you should get E*Trade so you can play out your own fantasies. We are past hating the 1%, we want to flex too. Signing up for E*Trade in 3...2...1...


— Micah Heykoop, Director of Operations at Matte Black




Our obsession with food photography

Food photography now more than ever is a part of the dining experience, most meals conclude a side of Instagram!  Feast for the Eyes by Susan Bright explores photography's rich history of food as it's main subject.


We all know food itself has never been only about food but rather it's a symbol of status, celebration, pleasure and so much more. As mentioned in the article, " it’s something of a relief to learn that we are not the only generation to suffer the self-conscious indignity of rearranging cutlery for aesthetic reasons."  


Read on in this super interesting article from Another Mag.


Tweet us what you think!


- Alexa Jacobs, Live Programming + Partnerships at Matte Black




the break up email

What do you get when you mix modern dating culture with our desire to find that work-life balance? You get this brilliant, unapologetic think-piece on breaking up with someone via email. Using the proper dialect that one might use with an employer or client. 


And instead of obviously exposing flaws in breaking up with someone digitally (because we all know, there are many) it exposes culturally relevant issues with dating and working that everyone experiences. Man Repeller seems to always do it right. And this hilarious letter intertwining all the nuances of work-etiquette with dating-etiquette is a great illustration of that.  


Read more on Man Repeller.


- Nicole Best, Senior Managers, Influencer Programs at Matte Black





Ghosting Your Audience

When you're a little independent film, anything you can do stir up a little buzz is worthwhile. Also, when you're a little independent film, you hope, wish, or pray (whatever your style is) to land your little passion project at a home like A24, who is quickly emerging as the number one distributor of thoughtful, envelope-pushing independent cinema. For their upcoming release of David Lowery's Sundance spooking drama A Ghost Story, A24 has hopped on the high-fashion, Yeezy season wave with some lovable satire of an industry that tends to take itself too seriously at times. If you're lucky, and patient enough to wait 8 minutes, you might even walk away with some ghosty #jawnz . Click the link to check out A Ghost Store


- Nolan Goff, Director of Content at Matte Black


at odds against the free mind

the new-age battle between our attention and our devices

by Simone Spilka


I recently learned that since the year 2000, attention spans have fallen from 12 to eight seconds, according to an article published by The New York Times. The piece presents the case that - with humans as the drivers - communication has evolved from considered prose to abbreviated texts. Today, static image is preferred, the most un-demanding language to consume. The author argues, rather effectively, that in this proliferating era of instant gratification, human attention will become the commodity of the future. But he also instills hope: "All is not lost!" He offers two instances of delayed gratification that prove there are still places for us to champion our attention: gardening and reading. As gardeners, we as a species still savor the slow growth of a flower over the course of many seasons; we nurture it and tend to it as if time and other matters were of no greater importance. As a book lover, we are still able to dissolve ourselves entirely into an author's novel even when, or especially when, its 800 pages.


This article comes to my inbox, and to read it, I venture to my neighborhood coffee shop where I can find it in physical print. The act of walking to read is a necessary expression of physically transporting myself away from life's distractions. I travel to this cafe specifically to think — the only extra stimulus is the melodic hum of the espresso machine and the expansive windows which beg me to stare outside aimlessly. I turn my phone on airplane mode and dedicate my whole self to absorbing this piece, writing down my notes with pen to paper. I meditate on the words and ideas, so that its narrative doesn't fall into to the gapping hole of content that pervades my daily life. But even in this moment — giving my attention and energy to someone else's ideas — I can not silence my ever-present thoughts; while I read, I also imagine the entire dialogue of a conversation I need to have that evening, make a reminder to pay a friend back, and consider a group text that would inundate my inbox with responses. I feel the weight of technology as an all-powerful and unassuming enemy making itself known in this hyper-stimulated, connected world.

"But even in this moment — giving my attention and energy to someone else's ideas — I could not silence my ever-present thoughts."


"I felt the weight of technology as an all-powerful and unassuming enemy."

I felt the weight of technology as an all-powerful and unassuming enemy making itself known in this hyper-stimulated, connected world. Like war, technology holds us hostage. Like prison, it binds us. It is the reigning cause of the demise of our attention spans, stripping us down and putting us at odds against the free mind. In this new-age battle between our attention and our personal devices, we as society are ill-equipped to defend ourselves from the digital temptations that parade in front of us, in our ears, from afar and under our pillows. 


This shift toward a wifi-enabled, pre-planned, GPS-guided life not only diminishes our ability to single-task, but it casts our most important relationships as peripheral. While two of the cafe-going couples nestle into their respective books, the remaining ten plus pairs huddle together and devour the light of their phones. Does modern love mean laying next to one another in bed, in silence, on social media, without saying goodnight? If this is the caseSOS: We are so far buried in scrolls that we can't even see the enemy as it fast approaches. 


At last year's Father's Day brunch in San Francisco, I remember the finest details of sitting next to my older sister, across from my Mother and Father. The wait was long, but we never reverted to our phones out of boredom. When we were eventually seated, my parents still spoke patiently, even through their hunger. I noticed the new wrinkles in my Mother's hands and new grey spots of my Father's moustache; I looked into both of their eyes while we shared conversation, an infrequency since having moved away to New York. Next to us, a family of five slouched over themselves, lost in little blue light. Grandma, Mom or Dad might have scolded the children -- had they themselves decided to look up and notice.


It seems these devices become engrained within our identity not as a consequence but as tools for productivity, entertainment and efficiencies. In my past role, I was a journalist, with a responsibility to inspire creative businesses to imagine a better tomorrow. My readers knew me to be an expert in digital and mobile trends because most of the solutions for 'a better tomorrow' come by way of emerging technology. What they didn't know is that in my personal brand the headline reads: "Put down your device. You are not your technology." In fact it would read: "PUT DOWN YOUR DEVICE. YOU ARE NOT YOUR TECHNOLOGY." 



"Put down your device. You are not your technology."

"In meditating on my own attention, I've found that the most profound discoveries arise when I turn off my devices and start to listen to people, myself included."

Maybe a part of the problem is we are the designers and enablers of the connected life. We instinctively reach for the nearest device upon waking up (please, I urge you not to), or hold it close to our faces on the commute home to help the day's thoughts sink out of us. We justify our habits: technology helps us to unwind, but really it is the enemy of unwinding in disguise. It keeps us awake through the night, diminishes our attention and stops us from looking into the eyes of our parents, and even our parents' parents. I lament the new age eulogy: Grandma lived a long, joyful life. She died grasping her phone. I will carry with me the memory of the last text she ever sent. That is not how I want to be remembered. Do you? As parents, as lovers and as innovators, we must encourage freedom from technology if we truly want to create a future of capable and observant human beings.


In meditating on my own attention, I have found that the most profound discoveries arise when I turn off my devices and start to listen to people - really listen to people, myself included. But it's not easy. Everyday, I am forced into the ring with tech, my heavy-handed opponent, and it takes exhaustive mental training and daily dedication to put up a fight. So instead of keeping up a defense, l try to imagine all of the great things I could do if I weren't bogged down by perpetual distractions. I could notice a hole-in-the-wall Zagat rated deli on 2nd avenue on a different route to the office; lock eyes twice and then three times with a handsome commuter across the subway platform;  invest energy into thinking creatively instead of spending it reacting to others. Certainly, our desire for adventure should not be determined by an app and our self-worth should not be determined by a group of strangers' social validation. We can train ourselves to come out victorious simply by choosing to look out instead of down. 


Everyday I struggle to navigate this always-on, always available landscape. In the days of writing this piece, I acted on all of the digital things I struggled not to: I had the conversation (via telephone), paid the friend (via Venmo) and sent the group message (via text). But I also did this: I bought a plant and started reading Murakami's 1Q84, a much-too-big-for-work-commute book. I could not be happier to sit patiently and watch it grow and eventually blossom, and to travel into Murakami's imagination over the course of many months. Now if you'd like to put down your phone and join me, then certainly all is not lost. 





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Chelsea Matthews


Managing Editor
Delanie Billman


Contributing Editor
Micah Heykoop


Creative Director
Nolan Goff


Research Coordinator
Jacob Marrero


Aria Davis



Noah Sahady 



Erin Spens_Boat Magazine_Shape Shift Report

Erin Spens

Erin is a writer and the editor of Boat Magazine, a travel and culture publication that focuses on a different city for each issue.


Favorite throwback song:

Landslide and Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac

Night in or night out:

I think I might be exactly 50/50 introvert/extrovert so I’ll say a night out but with just a couple of my closest friends!

Book to read?

My Icelandic friend recently gave me “Angels of the Universe” by Einar Már Gudmundsson and I’m really enjoying it.

Bingeing on Netflix:

Not Netflix – Twin Peaks on Hulu!

Most inspiring city:

New York


Noah Sahady

Noah is a photographer currently based in Los Angeles. His work follows a casual narrative-format that reports on a variety of subject matter, ranging from fashion to ecological studies. Born and raised in a few average towns in Western Pennsylvania helped establish an appreciation for modesty, which he then took with him to New York City to expand on his perspective. Now living on the west coast in a small home just south of LA, he focuses on creating work that brings light to unnoticed and under-appreciated moments.


Something to check off your bucket list: Buy a piece of property tucked away somewhere and build a house from the ground up.

Most inspiring city: So far, Seward, AK.

Go-to bar order: Water

Someone to follow on Instagram: @ellanmwebb for creativity, or @shiasoutfits if you’re looking for some wardrobe inspiration

Pet peeve: Bad parking jobs



Vicky Simmons Mean Mail.jpg

Vicky Simmons

Vicky Simmons is an art director who’s worked in London, New York and Los Angeles. She recently left Apple’s ad agency Media Arts Lab to go freelance and set up Mean Mail. Vicky is a bibliophile and lover of great nails. Follow her on Instagram for a mix of both @vickysimmons. 


City to escape to: Los Angeles 

Childhood comfort: Tea (I started young)

How do you take your coffee? See above but with oat milk 

Someone to follow on Instagram? @ripostemagazine @thepinkerprint @thewwclub 

Celebrity (girl) crush: Phoebe Waller-Bridge


Andrew Tyree

After four (unexpected) years living in Spain, Andrew founded Coast to Costa, a group travel company that organizes personalized, guided tours of Mexico, Spain and Cuba. Each trip delivers unique, highly localized travel experiences with an emphasis on the food, wine, and culture of the region.


Go-to karaoke song: I always thought I'm not a karaoke type but after a friends birthday in Japantown I found out I AM the karaoke type. White Wedding and Under Pressure were my favorite.

Author to read: I absolutely adore John Steinbeck.

Night in or night out: That's a tough one. I so love myself a night out but I am almost 36 and I usually spend the whole next day in bed. 

Guilty pleasure: Flamin' Hot Cheetos except I don't even feel guilty. 

Something to check off your bucket list:

I would love to go to Japan. Other travel is hard when you travel for a living. My wife and I want to see Japan, though. Bad. 




Simone Spilka

Simone is the Director of Content at The Assemblage, a new hospitality brand in NYC at the intersection of consciousness, technology and impact. In her spare time, she is a writer, meditator facilitator, book club member and avid traveler. 


Last meal: Pizza and cake. Sunday night vibes.
Pet peeve: People who walk and text in the bike lane. LOOK UP
Celebrity crush: Adrian Grenier. Yum
Most used app: Spotify
Someone to follow on Snapchat: I don't use Snapchat! Follow @TheAssemblageNYC on Instagram