"When my dad passed," Harris says, "I just came to the realization that you don't have all the time in the world to just keep dreaming about things. And you just really need to try your best especially in art."
He saved his money, sought advice and found investors. And Friday he plans to celebrate nine months of work, kicking off his new monthly pub, RVA Magazine, at a free launch party.
"It's a magazine for the intelligent 20- to 35-year-old living in metro Richmond," says Harris, a San Antonio, Texas, native who went to high school in southwest Virginia. "I would say it's part comic book, part magazine."
In some ways, it may be reminiscent of the original issues of local magazine Chew On This and the humor and grit of the now-defunct Punchline. Harris, 27, worked on the launch of Chew On This. But he left when the magazine took a less local and more risqué direction. "I thought it was diluting the overall intelligence," he says.
Harris, who's handling the content and business sides of the magazine, has recruited fellow VCU art grad Jeremy Parker, 28 who goes by just Parker to take on art direction and marketing.
They'll target "creative young professionals," Harris says "the kids that are out of school, thinking about going to New York because there's nothing here. That's totally wrong."
A secondary goal, as explained on the pub's Web site, www.rvamag.com, is to promote Richmond Independent Radio, Yellow House Theatre & Film, the First Fridays Artwalk, and other "positive organizations/initiatives/events/persons" in the city's future.
The full-color magazine, which will sell for $5, is a horizontal format, 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches. Initial distribution is through Chop Suey Books and Black Swan Books. Harris also plans to hit VCU's campus and is working on other distribution deals.
"It's a real hustle game," says Harris, who is passionate about his publication's prospects. "I have no other choice," he says. "I think about it all the time." Jason Roop
The RVA Magazine launch party April 15 will be in conjunction with the opening of Gallery 5, formerly The Virginia Fire and Police Museum, 200 W. Marshall St. Doors open at 8 p.m. The bands Halleluah! and Man Speaking Chinese will perform, along with DJs Spreadbycontact, Reinhold and Minus.
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