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American Living Magazine 1982-1988

Immediately after meeting in 1981, Michael Shores and Angela Mark began to collaborate artistically. They began with drawings that incorporated collage and rubber- stamping. Shortly thereafter, Angela obtained a mimeograph machine and with it came the idea to produce a magazine. Prior to photocopying and printers, mimeograph machines were the primary source of producing copies.

American Living was a magazine of strictly visual images, just Art, no writing or advertisements. Initially the idea was not to sell the magazine but to leave it in odd places such as laundromats, church literature racks and bus stops. This did happen when a friend of ours took a cross-country trip via Greyhound bus and during his journey spread the magazine throughout the USA.

The first four issues had a soft dreamy quality to them to due the inconsistencies of the mimeograph machine. By issue 5 we had switched to Xerox, which we continued to employ throughout the rest of A. L.'s run.  The first five issues were monthly then we went to a quarterly until the magazines end.

Occasionally we would feature other artists in issues designated Guest Issue or Friends of American Living. We experimented with various sizes and layouts as well as hand cut pages and folding. Many issues had themes and we would comment artistically on topics such as War, Travel, Evolution and Extinction, Children's textbooks and Business. We used various colored paper, randomly shuffled to make each copy unique. Some of the issues had several different covers in full color. We tried to be as innovative as we could with the magazine and push the envelope of independent publishing.

American Living was sold in stores such as Tower Records and Newbury Comics and was very popular. I shall never forget the day I went to drop off the latest issue at Newbury Comics and then clerk Aimee Mann held an issue between her thumb and forefinger with a look on her face as if she was holding a dead fish calling to one of the proprietors in the rear of the establishment in her shrill voice, "Can you deal with this!!!

Most reactions however were positive and the owner of a local record store commented that we should give away a free hit of acid with each issue. This was high praise in the day. The magazine was purchased by prominent collectors and by several museums such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in England and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. It was featured in many historical exhibitions of small press publishing.

In 1988 we decided to stop publishing the magazine. We felt it was best to quit at the peak of its success. We were involved in running an art gallery and also playing live with our band. All good things must come to an end. We continued to publish our own books as well as those of other artists and poets but nothing quite like American Living. It will always hold a special place in our hearts.

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