Expand Magazine: “From creatives to creatives”

Two students look to expand the art community on campus.

Jacob Allen, Freelance Writer

(This story was originally published in print on Apr. 25, 2019).

Left-handed and right-handed. Tall and Short. Upper class and ballin’ on a budget. Expand Magazine describes itself as a place for all kinds of artists.

Sophomore cinema and media arts majors Hannah Wilson and Emma Velasco, respectively, are the co-founders of Expand Magazine, an online publication and platform for artists to share their work.


As the magazine’s motto is “beauty plus depth”, the co-founders hope their magazine can combine visual aesthetics with lasting meaning. For example, the magazine has published a piece on the Enneagram personality test that pairs doodles with a short description of every personality type in the test. Other student-submitted works include a big city survival guide with tips like, “Don’t text and walk,” and a piece describing myths about introverts and extroverts.

Wilson and Velasco set a goal for their magazine to avoid publishing empty art.

“You see a magazine that has a really great photo and next to it is 25 hairstyling tips,” Wilson said. “It leaves you feeling like there’s something there, but it still leaves you empty.”

She and Velasco believe the combination of substance and stunning visuals can create an experience that changes the reader as a person.


The pair started the magazine last January, using it as a creative outlet that they felt they were not obtaining from their film classes. The School of Cinema and Media Arts is nationally ranked by multiple industry-leading sources, but Velasco feels that its focus is limited to film production and Hollywood.

Wilson and Velasco say they needed a platform for their art that the school did not provide, and suspected there were other artists who felt the same way.

“We knew we weren’t the only ones that had this mindset of wanting somewhere to put the things that we make,” Velasco said.

In the beginning, the project’s Instagram page and magazine was comprised entirely of Wilson and Velasco’s work.

“In the first issue we had nothing, so we were walking up to people in line for burgers [at the Caf] and being like, ‘You have a cool look, can we photograph you or do you want to be in a magazine?’” Velasco said.

After gaining 700 followers on Instagram, Wilson says submissions started flying in. The magazine now has two issues which combine over 100 pages of original art, from poems to photography to music.


According to Velasco, music was a big part of the magazine’s origins.

“We had done playlists in our first issue that got huge responses,” Velasco said. 

The playlist from the first issue expanded into a weekly song recommendation titled “Music Mondays,” which grew into a weekly Spotify playlist full of curated songs and submissions from their followers.

Though the magazine now has a following online, Wilson says magazines can limit the types of pieces they can share. To showcase art in a different way, the pair planned a concert that took place at sophomore biblical and theological studies major Kayton Garcia’s house on April 19.

“A lot of [Garcia’s] childhood friends now have bands, and he wanted to throw a concert for them and he wanted Expand to host,” Wilson said.

The concert marked Expand’s first time promoting art through a live event rather than online. Three alternative rock bands played at the show. The first was The Happy Return, followed by Lunar Hand and the night closed out with Almost Monday. Wilson and Velasco say that the concert was a success, with over 50 in attendance.

“It’s kind of what a lot of what Expand has become, is just getting creatives together and seeing what happens when that happens,” Wilson said.

The duo plans on working on the magazine through the rest of their time at Biola. A third edition will be released in the fall, with submissions still being taken to fill the issue.

“One of our goals is [for] it to be successful by the time we graduate and something we can show for ourselves,” Wilson said.

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