By Dylan Deprey
It seems that all it took for longtime friends, Lexi Brunson and Carsyn Taylor, to find their true calling was wrapped in the stress and anxiety of a college assignment.
The two met in high school, became friends and eventually ended up going to the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) together.
Brunson was taking a writing and English course, and wanted to present her project in more than just a paper. As Taylor was studying graphic design, Brunson asked her friend to help out with the design work for a magazine.
Both were urban enthusiasts encapsulated by the city that bred and raised them. Brunson compiled a collection of poems, photography and local clothing brands that represented a culture faintly showcased in the mainstream.
All she needed was a title, and like any college student rushing in desperation for a deadline, she reached out to the internet. While scouring countless possible-titles on a random name generator, the word “Copyright” popped up. She was also taking an Art Copywriting class, and the more-than-coincidence was all she needed.
“I wound up getting a great grade on it, and people were like this could be a thing,” Brunson said. “We kind of went from there, and saw that there wasn’t anything like this around, then we were like ‘let’s do it.’”
CopyWrite Magazine has gone from a college project to a full-fledged quarterly magazine. From rappers to musicians, and artists to clothing designers, CopyWrite has solidified a platform for urban creatives from Milwaukee to display their art to the rest of the city and the world.
“I feel like a lot of people we have interviewed, and the people we are going to continue to interview are never really talked to or spotlighted. And, that’s not putting blame on anybody else because it’s not what they cover. They’re not in the same places we are,” Taylor said. “So, it’s really about being grassroots, and we’re able to support people who are talented and who we believe in.”
CopyWrite has been a side hustle along with working full-time jobs, and the duo has built a team just as dedicated to their cause. Photographer, Mahdi Gransberry, is a “student of the visual,” while fashion editor, Vato Vergara brings innovative ideas to the team when he’s not making music, hosting events or organizing photoshoots.
“Even if you look at some of our old issues, you can see the progress because we have such great people behind us,” Taylor said.
CopyWrite’s eighth edition followed the team on a trip to Austin, Texas for the SXSW Music festival.
Brunson said the SXSW was an eye-opening experience. From talking to fans on the street to listening to countless number of up-and-coming artists, she noted that SXSW had a completely different vibe that involved the entire city, and not just a specific section
. “Everybody is a part of it, and people go there just to experience that vibe,” Brunson said. “So, even if people don’t have a press pass, they can experience the culture. That is the part that was really enlightening for us. It was like, ‘Hmm… maybe we can do that here,’ where it’s like the whole city and you don’t feel left out because you can’t afford a media pass or a convention pass.”
Whether it was sharing their SXSW experiences or sharing a real-world perspective on the unrest in Sherman Park, CopyWrite Magazine has ultimately made it their mission to showcase Milwaukee’s rich urban cultures with an open eye and unfiltered attitude about their urban environment.
Check out CopyWrite Magazine at http://copywritemag.com/