As consumers of this world we are so used to seeing magazines everywhere we turn, whether it be your local grocery store, book shop, or even the airport. Over time we’ve become desensitized to the outrageous headlines and articles, but with Keeks Magazine it's something different.
Keek’s Magazine founded by Keana Marrero is a magazine designed to create a platform to highlight the stories of people of all intersectionalities on the journey to becoming their best selves. Quoted from the founder herself, Keeks Mag is “a platform designed to harness our inner creativity through ongoing education, cosmic exchange, and active inclusivity.” With Keeks Vol. I, we are finally given a magazine that showcases the many creatives and their amazing capabilities that are encompassed not only in South Florida, but also nationwide. Alongside creating a platform for these stories, Keana curated a special photographic series for volume I titled, Moods & Tones of the Process. This series was designed to encapsulate the many emotions we undergo while creating visual art and just through daily life, while also signifying the importance of color and how it affects our mood. I was blessed to be brought on board to photograph this series alongside some great friends to bring this series to fruition.
Fast forward to Saturday, November 20th, Keeks Mag premiers their book launch alongside bringing the Moods & Tones of the Process series to life at Up 2 Something Studios. With the help of one of the creative directors and set designers from Keeks, Cailynn Lawrence, each corner of the space was transformed into the different sets that were encompassed within this series. Starting with When A First starts to Burn, to Shades of Blu, to Evergreen, and lastly Crimson Tide. What made this event so special was the interactive and immersive element in which guests were allowed to enter each set and be able to reenact the images showcased within this series. At each set were polaroid cameras in which guests would take their images in each set to later add to an onsite zine installation. Thus adding this interactive experience allowed visitors to also be a part of the zine that encapsulates the magic created during this event.
We were able to speak with the founder of Keeks Mag, Keana Marrero about her journey creating this magazine, curating this series, thoughts that went into planning this event, and so much more:
Lauryn: Tell us a bit about your journey with creating your first magazine and working with so many different creatives?
Keana: With creating my first magazine, I spent a lot of the first few months building a foundation for my magazine and making sure that whoever I was working with values aligned with mine. To do that I had to figure out what my values were and what I wanted to do because essentially what I’m doing here is creating a platform for different artists and beyond that. I think that there are a lot of collectives out there that are already doing that work, but showcasing them in a way that their art deserves to be showcased.
Beyond focusing on values and foundations, I also had to focus on how I want to make sure that I’m showcasing this work in a way that the artist deserves for their work to be showcased which is why I took so much time with print. I took my time with going to the printing site and making sure that I got to feel the paper that it was going to be printed on. I have different types of work on here; I have digital illustrations and photographs, so I think for different mediums that they deserve a different finish.
I took my time with each step to also make sure that my work is quality, I pay attention to the details because really what it is a preservation of time. Working with so many different creatives for the first issue were people I was already deep in the community with. I think now for the second issue, I get a little bit outside of my comfort zone and reach out more to people with who I’ve been wanting to work with and don’t already have a relationship with. For this first issue, everyone I reached out to I wanted to make sure that showcasing artists that I already have a relationship with and deserve their flowers, and was a way I could give it to them.
Lauryn: What does Keeks stand for and what does it mean to you?
Keana: Keeks stands for community and when I say that I mean pulling up for those next to you. I know that often, especially in business aspects, we are told your friends should not be the people that you're selling to and I think that’s good advice, but also I think that friends should start supporting those close to them because that’s how we are going to sustain ourselves in this system. We have to pull up for another in whichever way possible.
I think we have been so far removed from each other that we don’t even know where to begin or don’t even realize how small of a thing you can do to support somebody. So Keeks is engaging in conversation with others creatives to see how you can feel more supported by your community? Also, Keeks stands for a way to connect with that same community outside of social media.
Lauryn: Bring us into the curated series, Moods & Tones of the Process, which has been brought to life for this event. Tell us how this series came about and why you decided to bring it further to life?
Keana: This series came to me when there was a time in my life where I was working a lot with color healing, which I still am. We have a color healing section in the first issue, but essentially using color to embrace higher feelings. So the Moods & Tones of the Process series came about at the beginning of making the first issue and I knew that I wanted to work with you. I had the concept of essentially wanting to honor all of these different things that were coming up for me in the process.
I was feeling so much and often in the same day or same week, it was confusing because I was so excited, but also at the same time, it’s so hard. All these different emotions came up and during this series when I wanted to come up with something to shoot with you, I knew that I wanted to work with color and I knew that I wanted to honor all my different moods that came up. I want to honor these many different feelings and I thought the best way to do that was to incorporate all of the colors that I associate with those feelings.
I wanted to bring the series to life because after seeing how all the sets that came out of it were so beautiful, I thought it would be a great way for people to sit in different moods and experience them in one room the same way we did the photoshoot. For example, When A Fire Starts to Burn and Shades of Blu were shot in the same room right across from each other, so I wanted to take it a step further and bring that process to life.
Lauryn: What were some of the trials and tribulations that you went through to not only produce the magazine but also on the rollout for it?
Keana: A lot of the trials I went through when making this magazine was not even the physical aspect of putting it together, it was more so mentally. I would sometimes feel like I didn’t know what I was doing and not trust myself as much as I should. With the rollout, in particular, it felt like I wasn’t being seen in the way I wanted to be seen or not seeing my vision. Sometimes I’m expected to be understood right away, which is not fair to other people. For the next issue, I want to make sure to push and drive my message with what I want to do with Keeks, make it more clear.
I think a lot of people loved the magazine because of the quality, the colors, the work in it is incredible, but I do think that some of my intentions may have gotten lost in the beauty of it all.
Lauryn: What else should we be on the lookout for when it concerns Keeks, or what else are you working towards that you don’t mind sharing?
Keana: With Keeks, I am working on volume II now and I’m excited about it because it’s going to be a lot more of my own work. By that I mean more of my poetry, more of my modeling, and creative direction. For the first issue, I did have a hand in everything and because of that, I didn’t get to indulge in certain roles that I wanted to a little bit more.
Otherwise, we think we’ll do one more pop-up for this first issue in the Pacific-Northwest and we are actually making a little digital zine for this event.