With their latest issue hot off the presses — released this July — local magazine Iconica is set to continue on in their celebration of fashion, arts and culture. The magazine strives to blend modern art with the local culture of New Mexico while working to connect artists across the state with their next big opportunity.

“My vision for Iconica is to be a hallmark of what it means to be New Mexican in a sense of, I think we’re really known for older traditions, and I would like it to be a balance of bringing that modern talent in with our history and it just being a focal point for all of the amazing talent we have here in a very high-end way,” Natassja Santistevan, creative director for Iconica, said.

So far, the team has released two issues, selling around 50 for their first issue and selling out their second issue, nearly tripling the first issue’s numbers, according to Santistevan. The magazine, which prides itself on its inclusivity and its ability to help new artists grow, takes care in giving equal attention to all submissions, according to Cameron Ward, editor and communications creative manager for Iconica.

“Our mission statement is that it’s open for all ages … all races, all sexualities, orientations. We wanted to not just be a platform for people to show their art, but we’re starting to even have it be a social networking platform for, not just artists here in Albuquerque, but we’re broadening up towards Santa Fe and Taos,” Ward said.

The magazine accepts a variety of submissions, including photography, written works across a plethora of styles and open media, among others.

In their third issue, expected to be out this fall, readers can anticipate an even larger magazine with a more edgy, punk direction and a focus on fashion, according to Ward. Santistevan is also hopeful that the quality will only increase with coming issues and is expecting the next issue to be a “showstopper.”

The duo has been reaching out to Indigenous designers and artists for their upcoming issue — Ward hopes that with each issue, the sprawling, rich Indigenous tradition and culture in New Mexico is represented.

“We’ve been reaching out to designers in Albuquerque … we’re reaching out to native designers from Santa Fe and showing our people who this land is for, you know. Kind of reaching back to our ancestors. I’m from Isleta, so I definitely wanna always stick to my roots about whose land we stole,” Ward said.

Ward first set her sights on developing the magazine her junior year at UNM through her work at the Daily Lobo and a series of photography classes which ignited her interest in writing about and photographing fashion and arts. She then met Santistevan at a bakery where they were working as an event coordinator. Bonding over their shared love of style, Ward approached Santistevan about collaborating on Iconica after speaking only a handful of times.

“We were pretty much strangers, but I thought Natassja was probably a good match; we’re both very organized and go-getters,” Ward said.

Moving forward, Santistevan hopes to further shape the magazine in the direction of other high-end publications that they are inspired by, such as BRICKS and Pop magazines, to further bring cutting-edge art and fashion to New Mexico. Both Santistevan and Ward hope to expand their magazine to become a place for networking between local artists, models, contributors and potential employers. Already, they have started connecting venues and galleries with contributors.

“Our goal is just to really broaden Iconica. We want it to not just be open to our local scene, but get connected with our elders and get connected with our local mentors, and so we want it to be a platform where we help each other … just building each other up and building each other’s portfolio; we all wanna be known for something,” Ward said.

The third edition of Iconica magazine is currently available for pre-order; those interested can keep up with them on Instagram @iconica.magazine and inquire about submitting works at iconicathemagazine@gmail.com.

Zara Roy is the copy chief at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at copy@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @zarazzledazzle