GC: Are you doing the bulk of the editing and writing for the magazine?
JF: Due to Fellini's desire to Hunter S. Thompson it the fuck out of dodge, then come back, then turn around and set out to leave again, haha, yeah at this point I do.
Having worked at Nouvelle for a stint and mainly in light of getting to know many of the best Norfolk based chefs over the last year, I feel comfortable pulling a lot of the writing weight now. I do want to note, however, that after the first edition when Fellini left the state for a bit, Wade A. Hunter stepped forward and wrote a lot of really solid articles for Southern Grit, as well as aided with concepts and copy editing. I’m glad both of them still contribute articles to Southern Grit and that both of them are my friends. They both are really talented writers.
Also worth mentioning are the numerous other contributors that produced articles that break up the homogeneity. Honestly, the only thing I mind about writing so much of the content is that I can’t focus on that alone. In light of having to design, photograph, and now illustrate so much of the publication, I find myself spread thin sometimes. I’m not always the best multitasker either.
GC: How has the reception been when looking for supporters and advertisers?
JF: Selling advertising space sucks for someone who isn’t about sales. It takes a certain mindset and I am an artist, not a salesman. I am very grateful that O’Connor Brewing Co. and Streats both did a three-issue deal. We have also found support from other local businesses. Right now we are looking for an ad rep – so hit me up young and hungry sales person!
I seriously hope that in the future that this part of the business doesn’t rest with me. I’m hoping this new online campaign will be successful and take some of the worry out of it for me. In college I learned a lot of what I use for Southern Grit - how to paint with oils, sculpt, draw, use watercolors, shoot photos manually, write - but I’ll say that business, instead of philosophy, might have been a smarter minor!
In terms of support in a non-monetary way, it has been overwhelming. I’m very appreciative of the press you have given us, plus the press Joe Fitz at the Dominion Collective gave us. As well as all the advice and time Dave Hausman at Handsome Biscuit/ Toast/ Field Guide, Charles Burnell at Work Release, Jamie Sums at 80/20, and Jesse Scaccia at Alt Daily have all given to me. Rina Estero at Nouvelle Restaurant also took a real interest in Southern Grit and was very helpful in facilitating some of the recent social media growth. And again, it goes without saying that our readers seriously rule! It’s been awesome having people come up to me and talk about articles my contributors and I spent hours on end creating.
GC: Will Southern Grit primarily cover food and restaurants?
JF: I think concerning the broader Virginia reach, Whurk employs a younger perspective, one that Veer is sadly lacking. This makes Whurk a tad more relevant to what is truly current and interesting to readers. However, Veer will most likely continue dominate as a free, broad culture review publication. Politically Veer does outshine other free publications available in Hampton Roads and despite many of us around here seeing the dinosaur mentality it often exudes, it's not going anywhere. For me, personally, I've enjoyed delving deeper into documenting and writing about the chefs and restaurants that are creating so much talk and energy around food in the area. I’m going to focus on thoroughly exploring that subject instead of throwing my resources at several different creative fields in Hampton Rooads. In terms of serious eaters in this area as well, I think it's becoming obvious that people are expecting more in terms of a meal out considering how diners are growingly engaged in the food they choose and support with their dollars. I hope that ultimately how deep Southern Grit gets into issues surrounding food, plus the quality of the visual along with the honest, straight-forward way the contributors and I write about the subject will continue to grow the brand that Southern Grit is developing into.
GC: Do you have a target audience?
JF: Charles Burnell told me once always answer that question with “Millennials” hahaha. I do think we have a younger readership like Wurk, but we’re more focused on our end. I think in terms of target audience, more than anything we are (I know some including myself feel this phrase is played out but) we are a foodies’ publication.