Magazine is a triumph of art, design, of storytelling – and of the human spirit

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 24 August 2020 10:34

Magazine is a triumph of art, design, of storytelling – and of the human spirit

Sometimes the very worst and most devastating moments in life will producefrom a few of us - the very best and most beautiful responses. 

Some seem able to look past an experience which will define others and instead reach forward to lay a card down so impressive it leaves you in awe. 

Jamie Rudd and Chris Boulton are two such individuals whose new magazine – a statement of absolute excellence in design, content, production and delivery - has a back story which maybe, just maybe, will give us all a different perspective on our own challenges.

Pictured: Jamie Rudd, left, with Chris Boulton

Fittingly, the theme of the first edition of SoulKind Magazine is 'human endeavour, exploration and resilience'. 

Three years ago, as his own Gloucestershire-based design business was beginning to really establish itself and help win awards for his clients, Mr Rudd was involved in a devastating head-on car accident (a video embedded here gives more detail). 

“I broke my neck in two places, had a blood clot in my neck at the time of the accident, I broke my lower lumber, my left arm, right thigh, right ankle, my left leg got completely smashed,” said Mr Rudd working his way through a list which he eventually gets bored with. 

“Basically, I broke everything. I’ve just had another operation in an attempt to rebuild my ankle.”

To look at what he has produced with Mr Boulton, a photographer and the business partner in the magazine project (click here to find out more), you would think he is on top of his game. He is lucid, candid, reflective, positive, articulate, passionate, charismatic. 

But his own desire to be brutally honest, which together with his talent is what helped win him clients in a sector where inflated pitches are common place, does not let him allow any such illusions to fester. 

“I still need to concentrate on my own health and recovery at the moment. I have had to be honest with my clients, who have been incredibly loyal, that I do not want to let any of them down and that means I have had to let some of them go,” he said, later referring to many of them as having become friends he respects and enjoys working with. 

“I have tried using freelancers and other ways around it, but without me, without my input, there is no Design Sanctuary (the name of his Cheltenham-based studio).

Movers and shakers from the world of business in Gloucestershire will be familiar with Quolux, a business which specialises in the field of leadership and management development, and its award-winning publication, Leading. 

Its clever design and arty covers were created in collaboration with Design Sanctuary. 

We apologise for calling him on his birthday. He explains he is housebound – like many of us have been through the pandemic. 

But his reason is recovery, from another operation on his ankle, and he is hunkered down in Cheltenham with his partner of two decades.

He talks in the moving video we mention above of making peace with everyone immediately post impact, counting his breathes, accepting they were his last. Not because he was giving up, but because the devastation of which he was part seemed so final. 

No, he does not think he is special for having the strength to come through what should have killed him. 

“I don’t think it was much of a choice. Given life or death, I think everyone would choose life,” he said, not allowing us to build any strands of heroism into the narrative.  

There is no hint of bitterness, only a sadness he can is not yet able to perform all the time in the creative world he loves as he focuses on his recuperation.  

But, when you look at the quality and sheer bloody mindedness that brought the world what he modestly calls a “passion project” (they never set out to do more than cover their costs and showcase a medium they love), it is possible to see SoulKind Magazine an almighty statement, a celebration even, of life and what can be achieved. 

Feature articles include interviews with endurance athlete Sean Conway, South Pole explorer Jenny Wordsworth, athlete and 'recovering quadriplegic' Aaron Baker, Gloucestershire’s own Jamie McDonald, and journalist and explorer Pip Stewart.

They approached the interviews in a certain way, he said, to engage with each person and have fun, and the articles and exquisite pictures reflect the raw approach they wanted to capture the spirit of the people they met. 

In a world he nearly never saw again, which professionally screamed print is dead, immiscible with new technology like oil with water, that tells photographers thier pictures much be digitally enhanced, that you must conform – they have raised a new flag of defiance, and raised the bar in the process. 

A partnership with Fujifilm Europe ensures the highest possible quality - with editions printed on-demand and customers even allowed to order customised copies.

“We have been quite overwhelmed with the feedback, support and kind comments. We have received orders as far as Australia, New Zealand and Nova Scotia. We can't thank everyone enough,” said Mr Boulton, whose own story or reinvention into the producer of exquisite photographs is another tale altogether. 

As we enthuse to Mr Rudd about what he has achieved he remains grounded - with one eye firmly on the future (not least edition two). 

“We have a second issue lined up and have promised ourselves we will do that. If we get enough subscribers there will be more editions. 

“We need it to make money to deliver the future editions, but ultimately this was a passion project – it was not about making a lot of money. 

And if it goes no further, we will have something for our CVs to show people.” 

To find out more visit SoulKind Magazine.