Three Montserrat Alumni Lauching New Magazine

July 25, 2013

(Left to Right) Montserrat alumni Andrew Houle ’00, John Cardinal ’99 and Michael Crockett ’97

CHROMA: A NORTH SHORE ART TRIO’S LABOR OF LOVE. – by Chris Ricci, North Shore Art*Throb

Calling Chroma just an art magazine is a terrible injustice. It’s a labor of love meticulously crafted by three former Montserrat students and their production company, Tryptic Press. It’s an evenly-distributed focus on North Shore area artists that you may or may not have heard about. It stands as more of an entity than a branded publication; the Chroma Facebook page, for example, isn’t a page you like, it’s a page you add as a friend which adds a depth of humanity to this publication. Most importantly, Chroma is an idea that hasn’t existed in this form in the North Shore area, and it’s creation isn’t only important, but also necessary.

Unlike many magazines that are graced with features on the cover to give the reader a hint as to what they want you to read, Chroma’s cover simply says Chroma. No flashy lead article, no hint as to what is inside, just the name. On the back, there are twelve untitled images representing each separate artist that is inside without any sort of name or hint as to what they’ve done or who they are. The mystery adds a dimension to this that, over time, the name Chroma will become synonymous with the prospect of viewing twelve new artists in an unfiltered and equally-spaced environment. You’ll know what you’re going to get even if you can’t see it.

Michael Crockett ’97, Andrew Houle ’00 and John Cardinal ’99 (A.K.A. MONSTA) have been friends for quite some time, and all went to Montserrat College of Art at different times. Despite the gap in time, all three of them faced similar problems in the local art scene. “I’ve grown up in Massachusetts and if there’s one thing I’ve noticed over the years is the huge focus on oceanic paintings” says Michael. “Everywhere you go, you see lighthouse paintings, the shore, clipper ships, its pretty cliché.” Though common and almost stereotypical, it proved to be problematic, particularly for budding artists. “That’s all people who visit this area see and, sadly, it’s what they expect when they think of the shore” continues Michael. “No disrespect to the lighthouses, but there’s a huge art scene that does an even better job representing the North Shore art scene that deserves the limelight as well.”

The 12 Artists Featured in Chroma

John, Michael, and Andrew all found solace in reading art books which served as constant reminders that there was a vast diversity in the art world no matter how many lighthouse paintings there were. All three men longed to be featured in one of these publications, but there was a slight problem. “For one thing, some of the more popular ones were owned by big publishing houses” said Andrew, “and no matter how you slice it, they’re just so selective and are trying to make a buck in the end.” After a few years, a solution was clear; they should do it themselves. “We talked about it for a while, and really wanted to do it, but we didn’t have the means for a while” said Michael, “however, thanks to John’s experience in the publishing world, it turned out to be a lot easier and, before we knew it, the idea was off the ground.”

The idea was to make an art magazine that not only featured the North Shore exclusively, but also objectively. As Michael put it, “the first two questions we ask really sum up the magazine as a whole: Where are you from, and did that place influence your artwork?” The answers they collected formed the groundwork for Chroma, which features artists in varying mediums as well as popularity. There’s pop art, sculpture work, digital art, and many more things that are sure to please anyone’s artistic pallet, and this adds to Chroma’s brilliance. “We didn’t want one thing to outweigh the other, and we wanted to ultimately show how diverse the North Shore art scene is” said Andrew, “and, honestly, I think we succeeded.” Even though the flagship issue features artwork from the three creators, they want future issues to be comprised of new blood, and they all agree that providing the platform and the presentation for these artists is as fulfilling as creating artwork itself. “This magazine is something we wanted to be in when we were in school,” said Michael, “and the fact that we can do this for the North Shore is a gift for us as much as it is to the people around here.”

Michael, Andrew, and MONSTA are already busy working on the second issue of Chroma, and have a lot of work to do before they can get that one off the ground. “The response to issue one, so far, has been overwhelming” says Michael, “and so-far we have about 50 plus artists asking to be featured in future issues.” This is more than welcome for the trio as, if nothing else, it reassures them that there isn’t just a market for more personal artwork that reflects the North Shore as a whole, but also a myriad of artists eager to show their work in a remarkable publication that, in due time, will become a household artistic name and idea in the North Shore.

For more information on Chroma and Tryptic Press, check out their website here: and their Facebook page!

Read the full article featured in North Shore Art*Throb!