Issue Two

Issue Two

Portrait of Toronto

Issue Two Featured Contributors








Durga Chew-Bose




Durga Chew-Bose


Hello, and welcome to Issue 2! We’re so happy you’re here.

Shortly after launching Issue One of Constellation in March 2017, one of the most frequently recurring questions that landed in our inbox was, essentially: where to next? The idea of expanding this ever-growing community of brilliant minds beyond the original borders (New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Tokyo) and into new cities to highlight the powerhouse artists and creative minds making their marks there was a no-brainer.

So, with this issue, we turn our attention to two Canadian cities that have long captured our interest: Toronto and Montreal. Both cities boast a diverse and burgeoning creative community, as we learned through the process of compiling our subjects and contributors—they range from a former cook-turned-food-writer with an iconoclastic streak to a small-town painter of mystery-infused canvases whose work appears in galleries across Canada’s major metropolitan cities to the woman responsible for screening the international documentary submissions at Toronto International Film Festival.

We were especially thrilled when the essayist Durga Chew-Bose signed on as our cover star. Like (we imagine) many of you, we were instantly mesmerized by her swiftly dog-eared debut collection, Too Much and Not the Mood, which “ramble[s] through friendship, heartbreak, home, heritage, place, the nature of memory, and the accumulated moments and impressions that make up the author’s day-to-day existence,” as Rosalind Jana writes. For the cover story, Jana, a London-based writer and poet whose own work traverses similar thematic terrain, spoke with Chew-Bose by phone while she was spending time in Montreal, the city where she grew up, before eventually putting down roots in Brooklyn, where the equally talented Shriya Samavai photographed her around Prospect Park this spring). If there’s anyone who tips us off to the significance of recording life as it passes by (particularly in our blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, social media-saturated moment) and finding ways to thoughtfully revisit it through one’s medium of choice, it’s Chew-Bose.

One of the most gratifying responses to Issue One was the wave of readers who felt galvanized to make and share new work with us. We acknowledge that we’re living through a tumultuous time in history, politically and otherwise; one where the rollercoaster of news and Twitter-catalyzed anxiety can often make the act of devoting significant time and energy into making new art of any kind feel like less than a critical priority. On the contrary, though, we wholeheartedly believe that creating work you believe in—that pushes conversations forward, challenges the status quo, and finds a way to cut through the noise—is more crucial now than ever before. The individuals who made Issue 2 a reality are certainly a testament to that spirit.

We stand by our original mission—to harness the Internet’s power of connectivity for good—and hope you will join us in this effort by sharing this issue with a friend or two. We remain dedicated to finding even more ways to celebrate and amplify the voices of both emerging and established creative women and non-binary folks across the globe.

Here’s to you,

The Constellation Team



Haley Tippmann

Eaton Centre


5.5” x 8.5”

April in Toronto can be rather cold and wintry, which gives everything a lovely, crisp, blueish hue. I wanted to capture that memory from my last trip to Toronto in this painting. I chose to paint the corner of Yonge and Dundas because of its busy, big-city feel.

One of the highlights of my travels was visiting the Art Gallery of Ontario. The AGO was incredible, and the building itself is beautifully designed inside and out. I loved this trip; Toronto has so much to see and offer everyone.

Haley Tippmann is an illustrator currently living in her hometown of Rochester, NY. She loves to sketch people in cafés and travel.


Featured Contributors


Featured Contributors


Laurence Philomene

Age: 24

Current City: Montreal, Canada

Where do you feel the most at home?

Napping, anywhere. And large cities—anywhere where I can walk around and feel invisible but still have a strong community of friends scattered about.

What is your personal mantra for the rest of 2017?

It’s the same as last year: to forgive myself and listen to others; to listen to someone when they tell you who they are.

What is one small mark you hope to leave on the planet?

The fact that orange isn’t just a sporty color. On a personal level, I want to give as much love and care as I can to the people I love, to my community, to queer people, and to trans people. ★


Bea Helman

Age: 25

Current City: Brooklyn, NY

Where do you feel the most at home?

My parents sold my childhood home and moved cities years ago, so my idea of what going ‘home’ means has evolved—going home to an apartment isn’t the same as my childhood bedroom. Right now I feel most at home on Martha’s Vineyard, where I spent my summers growing up. It feels like going home to strawberry fingers and puzzles I put together when I was 11. I grew up there barefoot, watching my mom plant herbs and check for worms before digging into the ground. All my old notebooks are there. It’s a salty reminder of being a teenager and hating my parents for making me leave my boyfriend and sprouting social life to spend time alone with them on an island in a house with no Internet and no phone service.

(In other words: wherever my mom is.)

Share a passage or line from a book you love

“You’re inside at the kitchen table wolfing cereal when she says, ‘You have accomplished a great thing.’

‘And what would that be, Bwana?’ you ask, mouth full.

‘You’re your Same Self.’

The truth of this flickers past you like a spark. For years you’ve felt only half-done inside, cobbled together by paper clips, held intact by gum wads and school paste. But something is starting to assemble inside you. You say, I am my Same Self. That’s not nothing, is it?” —Cherry by Mary Karr (p.276, the last page).

What is one small mark you hope to leave on the planet?

Stories, stories, stories. And literally, as many plants as possible. Buying seeds is one of my favorite rituals. ★


Shriya Samavai

Age: 24

Current City: New York, NY

Where do you feel the most at home?

Cozied up in a friend’s apartment with no plans but to sit and talk.

What is your personal mantra for the rest of 2017?

Get off your phone and go to sleep!

Share a passage or line from a book you love

“Deck yourself, dance, laugh. I could never throw Love out of the window.” —from the poem Phrases by Arthur Rimbaud.

What is one small mark you hope to leave on the planet?

I’d like to be remembered as someone who brought more diversity to media and fashion.

Tell us about someone in your current city whom you think Constellation readers should know about!

Arpana Rayamajhi, an artist and jewelry designer who makes enchanting necklaces and earrings inspired by her Nepali heritage. ★


Sydney Lowe

Age: 25

Current City: San Francisco, ca

Share a passage or line from a book you love.

“Don’t be strategic or coy. Strategic and coy are for jackasses. Be brave. Be authentic. Practice saying the word love to the people you love so when it matters the most to say it, you will.” —Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

What is one small mark you hope to leave on the planet?

I try my best to make work that feels good, simple, honest, true, brave, and vulnerable—with a lot of love. I also try to walk around the world in the same way. If I can make beautiful, smart, and responsible work that makes someone feel heard and feel less alone, then I think (and hope!) that I’ve done my job. ★









Essayist Durga Chew-Bose on childhood in Montreal, embracing nostalgia, and the delicate balancing act between private and public life on the page

By Rosalind Jana


Q&A: Louise Reimer

“I wanted to see women who were physically and psychologically empowered existing in the wilderness.”


Q&A: Salina Ladha

“Once I get over that weird hump of not knowing what I’ll make or what will happen, things work out.”



“It’s so rewarding for me now to have a team of girls who I really believe in and admire … working toward this common cause with me, not for me.”



“The idea of the lone artist is bullshit. Asking questions is the key to working within design.”



“Trust your unique tastes and vision, commit to them, and defend them at all costs.”



“Not everybody prepares food, but everybody eats. Everyone enjoys it … women need to be represented way more.”



“The human gesture has always been pivotal to my work.”



“I’m a Gemini,  so I have two sides: a shy one and a brave one.”


View the Portfolio