Joshua Page, Domestique Deluxe
The brains behind Domestique Magazine
By Tom Owen
Joshua Page is a craftsman, an art framer by day and a magazine creator by night. The thing that links Page’s pursuits? The bike, of course. Josh uses the bike as an escape from the heavy trappings of the modern world, finding inspiration from things he witnesses on his travels around the city. ‘Domestique’ is Page’s passion project, a magazine that delves into a subculture of cycling, one that encourages and covets creativity, style and community while competing in the sport we love. We talked with Josh about the process behind Domestique Magazine, the beauty of print, his passion for cycling and how he consumes the world of cycling as an artist.
Tell us about the Domestique.
It’s a passion project for me. It started as a kind of blog maybe five or six years ago, and it eventually turned into a magazine. I wanted to produce something from it, something physical, something we can hold, smell and look at. I had ambitions to make it into something that I could make a living off, but I felt it put too much pressure on the magazine that started out of a love for cycling. And so I have restrained it to something smaller and more thoughtful.
Are you the only person behind the magazine?
Pretty much. That said, I have had some really good friends put a lot of their time and skills into the issues over the years. I have always felt guilty in that I haven’t been able to pay people for their skills, but what I have found is that the people I have worked with do it for a love of cycling and an even bigger love of being involved in creating something that means something to them.
How has the project developed since you launched your first issue at the Red Hook Crit in London in 2017?
The first one, it really tapped into a niche with Red Hook Crit. RHC had masses of followers and launching there with David Trimble [founder of the Red Hook Crit] on the cover, it was quite a success. Also, with it being a free issue, just handing it out on the day, people really took to it – it was part of that community which was cool. It evolved after Vol. 1, I wanted to look into more sports because I like the idea of the community that revolves around cycling, I wanted to see if there was a similar vibe around every other sport, so the second and third magazines both focused on that. Vol. 4 has since gone back to our roots.
“I have also come to learn about myself, it doesn’t really matter what is, if it’s a magazine or a painting, a piece of furniture that I make, it’s the production.”
You must really love print, because there’s no financial reason to make print now is there?
That’s something that I like about it, it makes it all the more special. I have also come to learn about myself, it doesn’t really matter what is, if it’s a magazine or a painting, a piece of furniture that I make, it’s the production. That’s something I really enjoy. I studied fine art, so I’ve got a background in that, a kind of creative background if you like and my day job, I’m a frame technician, it all revolves around creativity. I’ve come to realise that it doesn’t matter what it is, it’s the creativity and production of an object, that’s what I find I need.
For those not familiar, what exactly is a frame technician? Is framing more craft or art?
I work at the National Gallery. I frame the artworks in the gallery. Sometimes that means just fitting a picture into an existing frame, other days it can mean being involved with the creation of a frame. It’s very varied. It’s probably more of a craft, I would say. You need a lot of skills, there’s a lot of work with your hands that goes into framing, but it’s a lot to do with the eye too. It can be a highly skilled job. The frame has to house the picture within it and protect it, so it’s got to be structurally sound, but also has to compliment the picture, make the picture look as good as it possibly can. There is a challenge in how it fits together, how it looks, there’s a lot that goes into it. Obviously, there’s a lot of history in the frames too and their relationships with paintings.
Does your life on the bike feed into your work?
Not too much. The bike for me is a form of escape. When I’m on a bicycle I don’t really think about anything other than where I’m going or who I’m chatting to. That’s why I cycle. However, I find creativity can come at any time, you see something that may influence or inspire an idea and it goes from there.
“It’s sort of a never-ending journey of ideas that is evolving through mediums that all began with the bike.”
When the magazine goes to print, what’s the first thing you do once it’s done?
Probably criticise it. I’m quite a critical person. I feel a lot more emotionally attached to Vol. 4. It’s the only one where I’ve actually picked the magazine up, had a flick though, put it down and then a couple of hours later I want to have a look again. I was so directly involved with it, not only in terms of production but also the stories, it evokes some great memories on the bike. It’s part of the reason why I’ve picked up my brushes again and am painting from the magazine.
That’s an interesting way to tap back into a project that may otherwise may have ended after print. Could you tell us a bit more?
One of the features in Vol. 4 is about the Eroica in Chianti that I took part in last year with Brooks. All the imagery I took that weekend, I just captured on a little point and shoot camera. Every time I look at these I kind of relive that weekend. I have been painting from the images and then I look at them even closer and I remember the little bits that happened around that time, you pick up details that you probably overlooked when you were piecing it together on a computer screen.
When you consider ‘boundless journeys’ what does that conjure in your mind?
For me it could mean limitless. As I just mentioned with L’Eroica, that weekend was an incredible journey on the bike. One I reminisce about a lot. When I got home from Italy, I developed the images I took and produced a magazine with that along with some written words. From that I am working on some watercolour paintings. It’s sort of a never-ending journey of ideas that is evolving through mediums that all began with the bike.
“It’s been a slow, gradual grass-roots build over the last eleven years.
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