Introducing Paper Darts Volume Six:
Maybe God pushed Satan down the stairs. Maybe God wanted to be the only one playing with the dollhouse. Maybe Moses was a meanie, breaking rules just because he didn’t like them.
Every year, we watched the words leave. Lana stood on the roof edge. I leaned against the chimney; the bricks were like tree scratch. We didn’t have much talking left. She said something and pointed to a bit of sky I couldn’t see. I inched closer, my feet wobbling on the roof tiles. She gripped my arm. I gazed over the town. We saw the words rise.
Death by a thousand cuts, the headlines read. Seventeen slashes with a paring knife. Your wife tried to carve the truth from you. But I’m the guilty one. I’m the one that dreamed of all the ways to lose you so that you could never find me.
They did not tell me her name. She was my aunt, born in what my parent’s generation of Jamaicans called the Country. She didn't cry much at six months. But I knew what she looked like. I knew because my father's family was a deep brown. Theirs was the type of complexion that held fast to its hue even in New York’s winters. She had black hair that curled on the top and lay slick below the bend of her cranium. She had almond-shaped eyes—the pupils dark enough to shine black in the night. Her feet were smaller than baby-small and her cheeks were round. And under no circumstances did they speak her name.
“Maybe we should stop,” I said, not wanting to meander further down unfamiliar little mud roads. But my mother misunderstood. Her lips clamped, and her butt shifted on the driver’s seat. The car moved on. Pebbles sent flying by rubber wheels hit the underside of the old Proton Saga and clanked gratingly.
Alexandra Dvornikova's work is steeped in Russian folklore. Beautiful and haunting, her work takes you to the middle of a forest, deep in the dark of night, and asks you to wander there alone. We want to know everything we can about this forest of serene and cerebral ladies. Each illustration deserves a novel's worth of a story behind it—and maybe an orchestral score too.
Jeannie Phan is an art director's dream. Phan is an illustrator at the top of her game, working with some of the finest publications in the land. In her capable hands—complex, wonky, and sensitive material magically morphs into a modern and evocative image. In an era where journalism has never mattered more, we need artists like Phan to keep readers on the ready. Browsing through her portfolio forces you to reckon with some of the most pressing conversations of our time on death, gender, sickness, work, and diversity.
Graphic design, photography, illustration, Ahra Kwon can do it all. Sparse and sharp, with a calming and modern color palette, the world simply needs more of Kwon's work.
Bodil Jane is an illustrator from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Bodil, whose name means "female warrior" in Danish, presents a world where women are calm, peaceful, and at home in their bodies and their apartments. We like this world. We wish we could live in it indefinitely.
When you’re here, you should check your idea of reading as a status symbol at the door and enjoy yourself. We prefer art that keeps it simple while packing a punch, and we think art and culture is best enjoyed with enthusiasm that hasn’t been dipped in ten-dollar words.
Our online magazine isn’t our print mag’s subordinate—it’s a living, breathing publication that’s accessible to anyone (with internet access) at any time at no cost. And by pairing all of our writing with art, we’re not just making our website pretty—we’re making reading more approachable on the whole.
The world’s full of misfits channeling their creativity in ways that give gatekeepers nightmares. Much as we’d like to tilt our heads toward the slush pile and default to the excuse of “we work with what we’re given,” that’s complacent, and complacency is uncool.