2017 was undoubtedly a very long year. After enduring a daily barrage of weirdness, outrages, and just plain narrow-mindedness thrown against our brains courtesy of the White House, we might feel rather decoupled from reality. But we creative souls are a persevering lot, and not so easily battered into the ground. This new issue is a testament to that capacity to embrace the marvelous, and circumvent any element that seeks to confine the free-hearted.

It’s a miracle at all when young creators decide to push against the grain and challenge themselves to make something beautiful from a chaotic world that takes so much in recompense. But amid the corrupted currents, art can serve as a resounding YES to the great yammering NO that threatens to overwhelm us all. It is such a joy to see young students at SVA willing to partake of the collective “I am,” either through their writing or their visual art.

So begin with Alejandro Hervella’s “Revolver” if you wish, and thrust yourself into the seamy underbelly of espionage and deception, or lose yourself in the wash of star-language that permeates Maria Tinoco’s “The Return.” Follow the wonderfully named Paprika as she goes about her day in Lily Holcombe’s “Habits,” or weep copious tears alongside the protagonist of Abril Carpio’s “Together,” in which young love is sundered by a dread disease.

As ever, the two-fisted brains of budding poets offer sweeping language on a scaffolding of diamonds. Iain McDonald’s “Wyckoff Avenue” is an accomplished and exciting collage, with phosphorescent images that flicker in the skull like holy flames, and Lisha Yan’s “Ascetic” is a journey that drills directly into the mystic heart. Ellie Parker’s “body of appropriation” & “goodbye blue” are primal screams that undress injustice, while Lilit Vahradyan’s “Modicum of Caramel” is a spare paean to the memory of attraction.

There are also wrenching personal essays from Sophie Alberdingk Thijm and Domenica Garcia, which wrestle with familial figures, and the intellectual musings of Calla McInnes as she ponders the work of Joan Didion should satisfy the starving brains of any university student.

Edwin Rivera, Editor of The Match Factory, has penned a grimy review of grindhouse trailers, in addition to a letter from Shakespeare, imaginatively addressing America in 2018. Additionally, there are a pair of cartoons summoned from the fiery ink pot of Elizabeth Davalos, and a short, powerful script by Luis Cordoba.

Lastly, we are proud to present our feature artist, Brazilian-American photographer Gabriel Miranda, whose six beautiful works can sugar over the devil himself.

Bravery is needed to immerse ourselves in what the great abstract-expressionist artist Willem de Kooning called “inventing the harpsichord:” the very idea of taking up tools laid out for us long ago, and reinventing, reenergizing, and ultimately superseding all of the art of the past. If we put enough muscle and passion into the molding of the miraculous, isn’t it fitting to see our work blazed in bright lights, as if on a metropolitan marquee?

It is our hope that this magazine can serve as just that for our talented students and faculty.

Artwork by Featured Artist Gabriel Miranda