Since we began in 2015, the Electric Agora has been enjoying a steadily increasing readership. Last year, 2019, EA was read 209,170 times by 89,620 distinct readers.
With increased readership comes increased attention, and I am concerned about the site’s use of unlicensed images for its banners and article thumbnails.
Mariah Gregg-Fling is a former student of mine and a very close friend. Among her many talents is a gift for illustration and graphic design. In her student days, she was hanging out in my office once, and I noticed her sketching while we were chatting. The sketches were very good and bore a distinctive style. At the time I was — and still am — working on a behemoth of an illustrated novel and needed an artist. When I saw Mariah’s sketches and reflected on our relationship, I realized she would be perfect. I bought her out of her part time job at a local supermarket and set her to work on the novel. [I should note that she finished her work, while I still yet to finish mine; i.e. the actual writing!]
Mariah and I have remained close since her graduation, and I spoke to her recently about my concerns re: EA’s use of licensed images. I told her that I would like to have entirely original art and design to which I would own the rights and asked Mariah if she would be willing to come on board and be EA’s house artist and designer. She kindly accepted. Not only will she be doing all of the magazine’s headers and essay thumbnails, going forward, she will slowly work her way back through the magazine’s archives and replacing all the current thumbnails with originals.
It is great to find a talented artist whom you can work with, but it is even greater to be able to work with a dear friend. I hope everyone will join me in welcoming Mariah to the Electric Agora!
Mariah Gregg-Fling is an artist, illustrator, and holds a BS in Philosophy from Missouri State University and a MPA from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. She is passionate about the arts and has spent the last three years working in the non-profit arts community of Kansas City.
In her free time you can find her drawing, enjoying the outdoors, and hanging with friends and family. Check out more of her work on Instagram @mgfling