Two years ago, Javier Valadez approached East Dallas neighbor Lee Escobedo with an idea that had been tumbling around in his head for a while.
Both Valadez and Escobedo were heavily engrossed in the arts underground of Dallas, and Valadez wanted to give their creative friends a boost. He wanted to start an independent publication that featured artists, musicians, fashion designers, actors and the like who hadn’t managed to garner the attention of major Dallas publications.
“So we saw a niche,” Escobedo says. “We saw an opening.”
Valadez is a graphic designer and Escobedo had experience writing for Dallas publications, but neither had truly had creative control over their work. So together they formed THRWD, with Valadez as creative director and Escobedo as editor.
They started THRWD as a zine (a small-circulation, self-published magazine), which consisted primarily of essays about the arts — most of which were written by Escobedo.
At first they had trouble focusing the content, but as the magazine picked up momentum, they began taking the publication more seriously. A shift happened with the third issue. The content was tighter, more professional, more focused. They changed the stories from essays to features, Q&As and op-eds.
“We took more of a journalistic-type mentality,” Escobedo says. “That’s also when we decided to up the ante and make THRWD a brand.”
THRWD hosted its first event — a poetry night at Lucky Dog Books — and the people who showed up were exactly the type of audience Escobedo and Valadez envisioned.
“It was kind of confirmation, like, ‘Wow, we can actually take this and make it an event — an experience,’ ” Escobedo says.
They began throwing monthly events, which were well attended by hundreds of Dallasites and artists of all stripes.
“There’s something for everyone,” Valadez says. “You’d see musicians with fashion designers with high schoolers, all hanging out in the same atmosphere.”
Now, the magazines are limited edition and can be purchased only at the issue-release parties. Every issue also is available online from cover to cover on thrwd.com.
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