Caitlin Low, Writer and Editor
Caitlin is a real jacqueline-of-all-trades, she publishes the wonderful Eyebag Magazine, illustrates, plays music, and is studying law! Read on to hear about being disorientated, diversity, and house hunters.
What do you do?
I publish, edit and design Eyebag Magazine. I write and I interview. Sometimes I illustrate, and I play music if nobody’s listening. Also, if all goes to plan, I’ll be a Real Lawyer later this year.
Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?
I found this in my iPhone notes: ‘It will all pay off’. I’ve always been a late bloomer, and often things don’t happen for me as soon as I’d like. But they do happen, I’ve found, and it’s always better than I could have imagined. I.e. keep working at it.
What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?
Moving to Australia from Singapore as a kid. A childhood of rice jokes and ‘No, where are you really from?’ That sense of otherness shapes a lot of my work today, but I’m grateful I had all those years to work it out.
Deciding to give the magazine thing a real, proper go. Sometimes I wonder what possessed me to blindly launch a print publication on my own. Then I hope for whatever it was to possess me again.
Experiencing heartbreak for the first time.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Issue 3, once I recover from Issue 2. I have a list of dream interviewees I am slowly ticking off.
I’ll also be taking Eyebag to the Melbourne Art Book Fair at NGV in March. I’m giddy thinking about it. I know Eyebag is only a small fry, so to be recognised among some of my favourite publishers is unbelievably validating.
What is your dream project?
To write and produce a documentary. When I was four, Mum would take me the TV station, and sit me on the floor of the editing rooms as she worked. I think that’s when it started. I’ve always wanted to pursue filmmaking professionally, but my excuse is that I don’t have the connections or the resources or the time. I hope to run out of excuses one day.
What places are important to you?
I like being in new places, by myself. My most empowering memories include a 4am train to Philadelphia, a disorientating night in Shibuya, and a long day walking through Manhattan without talking to a single soul. They remind me how content I am in my own company.
Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?
In Brisbane, there is a strong network of Women Doing Things, and not just in the publishing or writing fields. Maybe because everyone here knows/knows of everyone else. There are shop owners and designers and businesswomen and artists, and we go to each other to ask about what we don’t know. I’ve also made many kind, supportive new friends through the gram.
Can you share a creative experience that you have found defining?
I was 19 when I first read Patti Smith’s Just Kids, just before I spent a winter in New York. It taught me to value ambition, creative freedom, platonic love, impermanence, sentimentality, etc.
Unfortunately, it also conditioned me to treat every Sensitive Art Boy as a potential Mapplethorpe-esque life partner, and ascribe undue significance to any romantic encounter in an art gallery. Hoping to grow out of that soon.
What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?
Listening: There was a strange few months last year where I couldn’t/wouldn’t listen to anything but The War On Drugs. Around the same time, I read a Pitchfork profile on Adam Granduciel, about how his anxiety and isolation cumulated in his last record, Lost In The Dream. It was a timely reminder that it’s okay to feel lonely and stuck sometimes – that really, really good things can come out of bad experiences.
Reading: Apparently I don’t have the patience to commit to books, so my space is littered with magazines. Titles I’m loving at the moment: Apartamento, Extra Extra, Krass, Le Roy, Mynah, Pollen.
Watching: I’m unhealthily invested in Terrace House right now. I’m also perfectly content watching hours and hours of lifestyle TV – House Hunters, Grand Designs, Extreme Homes, Dream Homes, etc. I guess there’s a common theme here?
Who would you most like to answer these questions next?
Lotta Volkova. I have such a crush.
Closer to home, Miranda Debeljakovic. A brilliant, brilliant writer who Eyebag is lucky enough to call one of our own.
How can we find our more about your work?
If you don’t mind flash photos of oysters, power suits and Carly Rae Jepsen track-by-track analyses: @c.low.
If you want updates on Eyebag: @eyebagmag and www.eyebagmag.com.
What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?
Dad: ‘Make your bed first thing every morning’. I rolled my eyes out of my head every time, but that discipline thing really worked out after all.
What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?
Diversity, of course, but not through tokenism. As a minority writer, it’s disheartening to feel like you are merely filling a quota – to be approached with a preconceived ‘share your story’ angle, or to perform your marginalised identity for the benefit of others. That’s not our only purpose. Let minorities speak for themselves, and don’t just ask them for what you want to hear.
What’s something surprising about you, that we might not know?
I played classical violin for many years, from the age of five. There’s this moment when you’re performing in an orchestra, before your conductor counts you in, when it’s silent and your bandmates are all waiting for the same thing. You can hear a pin drop. That camaraderie with everyone else on stage – that’s the most powerful feeling. I miss it.
What do you want to be asked about that no one ever asks you?
Do you want to watch House Hunters with me?