I’m Alex Milshtein, the founder and editor-in-chief of Art Ducko. With Art Ducko about to celebrate its two-year anniversary, I thought I’d write a short retrospective about how the magazine has grown. Although the first meeting Art Ducko ever had was in May of 2014, the magazine didn’t really start until September of that same year. Art Ducko’s first success was the inaugural “Artist/Writer Meet-and-Greet,” in (I believe) October of 2014. The idea of the meet-and-greet was to pair student artists and writers together, so that they might make a comic for Art Ducko. I wasn’t sure how many people were going to show up, or if there was even any interest in the magazine. We were expecting maybe 10-15 people to show up. It ended up being closer to 30 or 40. It was after that night that I knew Art Ducko was going to work.
In February of 2015, Art Ducko released its first issue. Looking back at the first issue, its best aspect was the fact that it existed. Issue 1 doesn’t hold up to the quality set by its subsequent issues, which seemed to improve in quality exponentially (By the way, be on the lookout for Issue 5, releasing on May 13th!). But it was there — it worked. A comics magazine could in fact exist on the University of Oregon Campus. Our first print run was pretty small, something like 500 issues. They went fast!
Art Ducko then joined ASUO, who have been incredibly supportive and are the reason we are able to stay in print. We then went on to print our second issue, with a larger print run thanks to ASUO. (But they still went fast!)
When this school year started, we began focusing on recruiting new members for the Art Ducko staff. I think I was expecting the staff to grow to about 12 people (our initial staff was 5) but we now have 23 people who work on Art Ducko. With a bigger staff, we’ve been able to grow from a 32-page magazine to a 40-page magazine. We then released our third issue in November of 2015 and our fourth in February of 2016. Both 40 pages, both with large print runs.
If you were to ask me how Art Ducko got to where it is now, my answer would be our staff. I got incredibly lucky with the people who joined Art Ducko. Each staff member is dedicated and brings a lot to the magazine. Four of our Art Ducko staff members will be graduating this Spring: Louis Cicalese (our Event Director and a founding member of Art Ducko), Jalan Ember (our Chief Layout Director and another founding member of Art Ducko), Ruby Lambie (who joined Art Ducko after Issue one and provided Jalan with much need assistance with layout), and Benni Rose (who took over for our Chief Copy Editor Lauren Amaro during Issue two, while Lauren was studying abroad in England). In no way is it hyperbole when I say that Art Ducko would not exist without these four individuals. I’m sad to see them go but I know that they’ll make the University of Oregon and Art Ducko proud.