Frequently Asked Questions

WHEN WAS CHIAROSCURO MAGAZINE FOUNDED?

Ishmael Annobil, founded the site in 2001, as ciaroscuro.com, after failing to get the correctly spelt domain name (chiaroscuro.com). He first developed a five-page promotional site, which got the site onto the most impressive mailing lists in the arts and culture world. The site became fully functional in 2004, publishing on a monthly basis.

WHAT INSPIRED THE MAGAZINE?

Before Chiaroscuro Magazine, Ishmael Annobil had founded and edited Wales’ first serious arts newspaper, CIRCA21, in the mid-Nineties. Though it established the Welsh critical base, it was sidelined for funding by the Welsh Arts Council. Ishmael gave it up and moved to London, determined to find an alternative platform for his brand of arts journalism...the Web was the perfect answer. So, you may say CIRCA21 inspired Chiaroscuro Magazine, in many ways, especially the international scope and the juxtaposition of famous and relatively unknown art and personages.

WHY IS CHIAROSCURO MAGAZINE'S CRITIQUE SECTION NOT CATEGORISED BY SECTORS?

We made this category seamless to reflect that fact that we apply the same level of critical analyses and shibolleth to all art forms. Whereas previews will carry the industry-specific 'speak', Critique is where the differences collapse. Besides, art is over-categorized, and that tends to blind people to the artistic merits of functional forms of expression, and even oratorical forms. This numbing, traditional stance is not organic or even based on real critical analysis. It is merely the diktat of art critics, who aim to niggle real artists into submission—it is in essence the critic's survival strategy. Chiaroscuro Magazine debunks that nonsense. We champion a natural convergence of art forms, and respect all artists for their philosophies, methodologies, and ideologies. Refined furniture deserves to be placed on equal footing with refined sculpture.

WHY THE FREE JOURNALISM INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME?

Journalism is a traditional industry, a craft, however codified or academic it has become. It still maintains a rite of passage that makes it possible for a copyboy to rise to editor-in-chief. Our editor benefitted from the same tradition, on his way to becoming a chartered journalist. However, journalism is regressing fast in many places — graft, nepotism and weird patronage are undermining its great values. To make up for its loss of guts and craftsmanship, journalism has become partisan and populist. Someone had to attempt to do something about it. That is not to say our internship programme is a one-way thing. The intern gains invaluable experience and a portfolio to die for, and Chiaroscuro Magazine gains a wider perspective on cultural matters all over the world.

WHICH DEVELOPERS HELPED BRING CHIAROSCURO MAGAZINE TO ITS PRESENT STATE?

Over the years, the site has benefitted from the skills and passion of great developers. Chief among them are the following people:

GARY WEST (2001): Film editor and college mate of Ishmael’s, Gary developed a five-page promotional site in a single day, in 2001. He now lives in India.

MARCO RUSCHIONI (2004): Italian-South African genius Marco encountered the plans for a CMS based site, while working with Ishmael at iVillage. He liked the project enough to programme its initial template for Joomla migration, subsequently introducing Ishmael and the project to James Bowler of Neo-Technic, and the rest is history. He is really a founding member of the team, though not working with us.

JAHONGIR SIDIKOV (2004 - 2005): Uzbek IT Technician, webmaster and graduate of International Finance, joined us in 2004, to render Ishmael's graphics for a full site to the Web. He used Dreamweaver and, despite his structured Web programming background, he adapted quickly to the constant flux of art journalism and the need for spatial freedom in the design. His sacrifices and willingness to work with an ever-evolving style helped Ishmael establish his exacting editorial base and aesthetics.

JAMES BOWLER (2005 – 2007): Ardent lover of the idea of empowering small communities, London-based American IT ace James Bowler took warmly to the site from day one. He bent his own tight schedule to nurse and manage it round the clock. He has carried out this onerous work for free, initiating Ishmael to the joys of Joomla content management. He also pulled our past issues into frame (one by one) and masterminded a search for better routes into the ether-world. He is a giant of a man. 

SEAN CHARLES (2005 – 2007): Plymouth based all-round developer and occasional creative writer, Sean came to the rescue of Ishmael’s new design for the site in 2006, as a freelancer. Sean's extensive knowledge of the web and security systems saved the site a few times from hackers. His infectious humour throughout his stint on the site helped our transition a great deal.

PRAHBU CHANDIAN (2009 to the present): Chennai-based web developer and photographer Prabhu (of itWebQ) came into the life of the site at a very critical time. Ishmael wanted to develop the site into a full portal, with very complex functionalities and protocol on the backend, using Drupal. Working constantly for almost seven months, Prabhu nailed it with aplomb. Crucially, he was able to implement Ishmael’s graphic design accurately, including Ishmael’s need for aesthetically pleasing backend forms. This entailed highly inventive custom coding at every turn. Today, most other developers consider Prabhu’s work a triumph in all ways. He is Chiaroscuro Magazine’s Webmaster. He is also a documentray photographer and owner of the site chennai-in-focus.com

RUZANNA HOVASAPYAN (2012 to the present): Armenia-based Ruzanna was responsible for the migration of the site to its new domain Chiaroscuro Magazine, and for the refined re-theming, based faithfully on Ishmael’s graphic design. Over the years, she has managed to simplify the functionality of the site by avoiding any geeky bureaucracy, as is evidenced in this our new re-theming. Ruzanna is noted for her desciplined, meticulous work and sensitivity to the aesthetic demands of Chiaroscuro.

Graphic Design by Ishmael Annobil/  Web Development by Ruzanna Hovasapyan