MEET: Paper Sea Quarterly

Paper Sea Quarterly is a new, Melbourne based, magazine celebrating the ocean and the people that live and breath for it. “Honest stories and critical photographs about the ocean, traveling and art.” Dig in to this MEET:, you won’t be disappointed…

First up mate, your mag is epic! I feel like I shouldn’t call it a magazine, because it feels like much more. It’s more a book than a magazine, I think. Can you tell us a little bit about how it all started?

Paper Sea started as three creatives coming together to collaborate on a project that we believed was necessary, relevant and radical.

Tom Batoruney (photo editor), Andrew Diprose (designer/photographer) and myself (editor) each experienced in our own fields frustrations with forging a living. Creating is one of the most beautiful and rewarding things a person can do, unfortunately pushing that to the next level and earning a living from your work is insanely difficult.

Forging a career as a creative takes more than passion and talent. If you want to give yourself the best opportunity to succeed you need to want it more than you want your next meal. You need to use every opportunity, every contact, mentor and resource available to you to facilitate your goals. If you manage to do that with enough vehemence then you manage to minimise the importance of luck. It can feel like a battle of attrition and you need resilience and unbelievable mental and emotional strength to persevere in the face of the difficulties and the obstacles of establishing yourself.

In every industry, whether it be surf photography, fine art photography or publishing, there are certain established channels through which an artist can gain experience, exposure and, hopefully, viable success. Tom, Andrew and I tried these avenues and after too many frustrations we decided to establish Paper Sea Quarterly, with the aim of publishing honest stories and critical photographs about the ocean, traveling and art. By creating a quarterly publication with an obstinate focus on artistic and professional quality we aim to open up another channel through which we may be able to facilitate creative artists and produce something of interest for people. If we can help an emerging writer secure a publishing contract or help a kid in the Caribbean achieve his dream of being a photographer or offer exposure to an artist that leads on to their first solo exhibition, then Paper Sea Quarterly will have achieved one of its goals.

Paper Sea Quarterly is so much more than just the three of us working away in Melbourne. Paper Sea Quarterly truly has been a collaboration. From inception right through past the launch of Volume One Issue One, we have been humbled by the level of support, enthusiasm and encouragement from people from all around the world. We have an amazing list of contributors comprising both established and emerging artists and we believe that this combination is crucial in establishing the high level of quality we produced for our first issue. We are so grateful to all our contributors and supporters who have collaborated with us, we are three people but Paper Sea Quarterly is a growing international community of artists and professionals creating something beautiful.

What goes into the making of a publication like this? It’s a big page count and the feel, articles, stories and photos are all top notch.

Volume One Issue One is over two hundred and twenty pages long and in the final editing stage we cut around thirty pages. It is important to us to present a beautiful publication that our readers can enjoy for the $15 price tag. We are grateful to our advertisers, they are our financial supporters and their support is vital to our success but we want to maintain a reasonable ratio of content to advertisements so our readers feel that they are getting their money’s worth.

Living in modern society is generally atrocious for the environment, unless you dedicate some thought and effort to minimising your ecological footprint – it’s easier than you think. For Paper Sea Quarterly we decided to find a printer that was sympathetic to our environmental concerns.  In printing Paper Sea, Print Graphics uses little to no water off the grid, alcohol-free vegetable based inks on 100% post-consumer recycled paper and we’re really stoked with the result. Looking good doesn’t need to cost the earth.

It’s good to see a publication from our industry actually taking action towards environmental issues and not just talking about them.
One of the first thing I noticed when reading the mag was the high level of contributors that you have pulled together. How did you choose them? It seems as though they all compliment each others styles and really give the mag the feel that every page is created with a true passion for the contents.

There’s an awesome mix of experienced artists and emerging talent who articulate our style really well. Issue One was our introduction to the world so we had to secure the best contributors to represent our style and we’re pretty confident we’ve done that. We had a great response across the board from contributors when we asked them to be involved with Paper Sea that clearly translates into the passion that is so evident in their work in PSQ. I guess we offer artists a more creative outlet to express themselves in, we’re all about collaborating with artists and allowing them to show off their style.

The quality of the stories and photographs are a testament to our contributors, I can’t exaggerate their talent and professionalism – it’s great working with them. We contact our contributors with a brief and ask them to respond. In this way Paper Sea is a true collaboration, we’re not here to tell artists what to create for us, we always want to work with them to see what we can create, issue one turned out some truly unique and beautiful stories.

Paper Sea seems like it places, now correct me if i’m wrong, just as much emphasis on the photographer, or writer, or whoever, as it does the subject. It’s not just a “who’s the most popular surfer guy” type thing where you throw in any average shot or story and run it because you’re supposed too.

The subjectivity of beauty lends itself to an open mind. There are supremely talented artists out there with little notoriety or fame. We are less concerned with big names and fame and that whole game and would rather focus on the quality of the stories and photographs we are publishing.

Whether it is an artist known world-wide or an artist we came across in our travels who is still establishing themselves, an invaluable benefit of self-publishing is being in complete control of what we run – there is nothing we are supposed to run. We just want to publish honest stories and critical pictures about riding waves, damn-fine art and traveling the world to experience different ways of living.

Like I said before, every page feels like it is busting with love. I think Paper Sea is exactly what we need in print right now. If a magazine has that “who’s hot RIGHT now” type view it just gets left behind by the internet kids who are too on the ball. The web has created this “give it to me now, and give it to me fast” type headspace that ruins a lot of the quality of the content. Paper Sea is different, it will last on a coffee table, or in a book shelf, because there are real, timeless, images and stories in there. Did you see this gap in the market or was it just a natural, progressive, thing?

There was a pretty glaring gap in market for Paper Sea.  It wasn’t that we saw a hole and designed  PSQ to fit it, we just happened to be a triangle peg with a clear triangle-shaped opportunity. Our emphasis is on producing a hand-crafted book with content that engages the reader and photos that demand full attention and a second and third look. We hope that our content is just as relevant and interesting in ten years as it is now. The internet in conjunction with video editing programs has resulted in a beautiful but uncensored inundation of content and blogs of videos, photographs and opinions

There is unprecedented access to the latest news from the surfing world if you’re into that, you can sit at your desk and watch surfing contest going on in another hemisphere if you’re into that, and for emerging surfers there are many more avenues to gain exposure and push closer to whatever goal they may have. If people want all that they have access to it all and so much more. Paper Sea offers something that we think is little more slow-cooked, content that is timeless and more in depth. We’re never going to run as fast as the internet but we like to think our quality is a little different and perhaps a little more lasting.

The internet has had a huge impact on the publishing industry and the extent of the effects is still relatively unknown. The digitisation of books and magazines has affected sales and print runs but it will never outright replace the hard copy. Books will never die. They won’t even diminish as much as vinyl has. To hold a beautifully printed publication on thick paper stock in your hands and read through it truly is an inimitable experience, and coffee tables need more than flower-stuffed vases and coasters. The day that book shelves and coffee tables are burned on mass and replaced by digital-book reader stands will be the day I eat my words, cooked on a bonfire of the world’s books.

Do the contributors have creative freedom? I mean obviously they are all closely tied to the ocean, or surfing, but it seems like this magazine is more about the interests of the people tied to the ocean and not just the physical sport of surfing?

Surfing has never been solely about the sport, or the physical activity of riding waves as radically as you can, ever. There has always been a lifestyle intertwined with surfing, one that respects and is fascinated by the ocean and breeds creativity in all its forms.

I don’t know anyone who does nothing but ride waves. There are people who will tell you that all they do is surf but even full-time professionals are traveling, taking photographs, modelling, writing, shaping or starting families or whatever it may be. Most surfers work jobs, travel and many are artists. Surfing has a way of suffusing your life and if you are open to the idea, it becomes a style by which you can live your life.

Opening your heart to the ocean opens a world of possibilities. Traveling the world and experiencing foreign cultures and learning about different art and artists is such an invaluable education. Travel, culture and the arts all integral aspects of surfing and such a strong passion of ours that it was an obvious decision to focus on them for Paper Sea Quarterly.


Something really interesting that I noticed was that the reader can purchase any of the photos in the mag as prints. I haven’t seen this done before but I think it’s such a good idea. What prompted it? 

The idea to sell our pages as prints came about as a way to show our appreciation to our contributors. In collaboration with Australia’s best fine art photographic printers, Colour Factory, we are making every page of every issue available as museum quality prints through our website. The quality of the prints is the best to better reflect the work. It is an initiative that we are really excited about. It offers our contributors further exposure, it’s an amazing opportunity for our readers to own stunning artwork at an affordable price and it acts as an alternative income stream for our contributors too.

So whats next for Paper Sea? Anything you can let out?

We’re taking things step at a time at the moment. Working so close to every aspect of Paper Sea can make it feel like I’m watching paint dry on growing grass but we’re making progress every day. We’re just looking to get our books out there to people who will dig what we’re doing and hopefully we can sell a few subscriptions and a prints.  The next little burst of excitement is our give away to our beautiful subscribers. If people subscribe to Paper Sea Quarterly before June 1 they can win a Rake Foam Shapes Magic Peanut surfboard, A Vampirate coffin sled, a canvas from Ozzy Wright and bikinis from the supremely talented queen of swimwear, Zoe Elizabeth.

Check Paper Sea out HERE.


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  1. 1
    Jake Barclay

    just wondering if you could email me through some contact details for this mag? seems like a legit and amazing oppurtunity for young artists…

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