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Fostering creative play at all ages – Louise Follain is the Editor-in-chief at Combo Magazine

Editor-in-chief of Combo Magazine Louise Follain shares her inspiration, goals and future along with the publication’s origin story: from idea to print magazine. Each issue features creative content from recipes to games to photo collages

Combo Magazine – about a publishing identity

According to Follain, the idea for Combo Magazine all started with Instagram. During lockdown she began playing a game she found through Instagram called Cadavre Exquis, where participants write a sentence on a sheet of paper, fold it to hide what they’ve written, and pass it to another person to add their creation. Follain assembled all of the contributions to the game together to create a poetic story, which she had illustrated. This creative collaboration became the beginning of Combo Magazine.  

«That made me realize the power, and unique creative potential of this online community I had gathered over the years, and I felt the need to do more and to gather people around me, from a close to extended circle, into the making of this magazine», says Follain.

Cadavre Exquis originated in the 1920s with artists from the Surrealist movement, who came together to create collaborations. Follain hopes to continue this tradition of collaboration through Combo Magazine. Part of contributing to the magazine is accepting that your work will be adapted.  

«When people make a series for Combo, they have to accept that it will be altered and that there will be multiple layers added to the story. It requires a lot of trust and vulnerability, and to accept to put one’s ego aside. It can be pretty hard for artists to let go of that control, but I think that’s what makes the beauty of it». Follain began working on the magazine in April 2020, and launched the first issue in February 2021.

Combo Cadavre Exquis, illustrated by Marie Victoire de Bascher, words by online community
Combo Cadavre Exquis, illustrated by Marie Victoire de Bascher, words by online community

MC What is your mission for Combo Magazine?

LF «The main mission is to have artists (contributors) interact with one another…Combo comes from Combination. Making connections between apparently disparate things. It’s from this combination of people and elements that something unique, new, unexpected can be formed». 

MC Combo Magazine’s manifesto references the importance of artistic play. Why is this relevant to you?

LF «Play enables us to connect with others and ourselves, and lets our ego dissolve. We need to make time to connect with this part of us that’s free, spontaneous and innocent. You’re not trying to be anyone while you play, you just are and do something for the sake of the fun and the moment»

MC Do you have any daily rituals that you practice to keep your artistic spirit alive? 

LF «I was thinking of that earlier this week, because I travel a lot, and it can be hard for me to keep up with a routine, and I’ve been feeling a bit disoriented lately. Combo Magazine came from a place in me that I don’t think I could ever have reached if there hadn’t been quarantine, and those rituals and practices I was keeping up with during this time enabled me to achieve this vision».

For Follain, introspection is a big part of nurturing creativity. She notes that lockdown created the time and space for her to practice habits that stimulated her creative mindset. 

«I was just healthy, no alcohol, eating good food, meditating, and doing yoga every day, and was taking long walks in nature. It sounds like a lot to me right now, but actually if you do a little bit of it, you naturally keep your artistic spirit and the desire or need to create alive».

MC Combo Magazine’s manifesto also mentions the rebirth that occurred over the last two years due to the pandemic. Have you felt or seen a rebirth?

LF «Yes, I wanted to do something that represented how our views, needs and desires have changed, our representation of happiness, of success, the importance we gave to material things – I think we can all agree that we got to reevaluate all of this. Our aspirations and visions of a bright future are rapidly decreasing, but we have to keep on hoping and creating and fighting against what we no longer want. I think all of us have a role to play».

MC What do you hope people take away from reading Combo Magazine?

LF «I like to see Combo as if it was as an incantation. It’s a personal project, but a friend gave me this advice when I started working on it: “That what’s most personal is the most universal.” …I hope that people can feel a connection to something more universal, and feel inspired to create and to be part of that utopian world». 

Follain also notes the importance of leaving art up to the viewer’s interpretation. 

LF «I also hope people sense the feeling of non-linearity in [the magazine]. It’s a cohesive ensemble in a way because all echoes to everything, but it should leave a lot of room for people’s own interpretation and imagination. It’s also a gentle reminder. That beauty is everywhere, and to keep our imagination alive, always».

MC Apart from Combo, do you have any favorite magazines you keep up with? 

LF «I am a big consumer of magazines, and my latest discoveries include Speciwomen, Cartography, and MacGuffin. I’ve always loved Lampoon, of course. Leaf Magazine, published by two good friends. And Holiday and The Plant magazine».

MC What’s coming next?

LF «I’m intending to do a series of events that’ll be an evolution and extension of the magazine. Now that there is a clear idea of the universe, I’d like to enable people to immerse themselves in it not only through the visuals but in a more physical way. So that shall be the next step, I hope».

Combo Magazine

The independent magazine was founded by Louise Follain in 2021. The publication was formed during the pandemic to inspire creativity and connection. Combo Magazine is released on an annual basis, and features creative content including recipes, photo collages, drawings, and activities. 

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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