The Laterals Magazine: An Interview With Founder Bryan Kong

Posted on September 04 2018

The Laterals Magazine is a weekly updated online media hub and magazine for creatives, artists, designers, and entertainers. Viewed and designed for the trendy and the conservative, The Laterals covers interviews on people who are making their mark on the world by way of contributing to art and culture. We speak to Bryan Kong, founder of The Laterals, to find out more about his work and The Laterals.


Hi Bryan, tell us more about yourself!
I grew up in a town called Kajang, and like many of us in Asia, I was brought up in an environment that placed a heavy emphasis on law, engineering, and medicine. My parents gave me the option to go after what I’m passionate about, and I’m eternally grateful for that because the small town formula was just not working for me.

What prompted you to start The Laterals? What gap in the creative industry does The Laterals help to fill?
I felt that the creative industry was lacking a point of arrival for a handful of emerging artists. For print magazines, space is just extremely reserved; but everyone wants to be seen, everyone wants to be heard, there just weren't many outlets. However the magazine industry is precisely that, choices were made beforehand, it is an industry, it is a business. And it is one that’s constantly evolving dynamically. Our goal was to gather a community of creatives that share a similar vision and give them a platform to build an archive of polished content.

Tell us more about your creative team. How did you guys start?
The Laterals was founded by me. It started out as a website, in my bedroom, in a small apartment in Los Angeles. It had two exclusive features for the launch, and everything was supposed to be in black and white, including the content. It’s very different now! My creative team is made up of people who supports and believes in my manifesto. There are four key individuals I’d like to highlight, our Creative Director Melvin Chan, Editor-at-large Juliet Vo, Fashion Editor Tiffani Chynel, and Features Editor Kandice Che. They are all my friends, and I’ve been working with them for the past 3-4 years. I think we have a right balance of setting the bar
really high, but we always manage to find pleasure in the center of it.


Your magazine features a myriad of topics pertaining to arts and culture, ranging from film to music to fashion. How do you get inspiration for a body of work or an interview?
Inspiration is an indulgence that extends not just through films, literature, and other imagery. Art influences and gets influenced by everything around us, most importantly—the measure of time. For my editors to decide on featuring an individual, it is essential that this person needs to have dedicated a significant portion of their life to their body of work. That dedication regardless of topic needs to inspire me first. I will not work with an overnight star. I’m just not into it.

Would you say The Laterals is both a professional as well as a passion project? What do you love most about your work?
It is always a passion project. I made sure that everything I do does not need to feel like work. Of course, there are the regular deadlines we have to face or stress that every person needs to go through, but by keeping it as a passion project, I enjoy the journey. I love that I could always be inspired by new ideas by my team. There’s this warmth that you get by being informed and how each of us could influence each other every day. I need to still be amazed by my team and my incredible contributors to keep me working better.


Is there a specific direction in contributing to the arts scene that you see The Laterals going in, and do you think you have gotten or are on the way there?
Being in the service of technology for so long, it gets a little noisy. I feel that it is fundamental for me to take a step backward because I needed to dwell in an analog world so I could continue to improve with practice and experience. By doing so, it makes me a better editor by broadening my range of viewpoints and parameters. I don’t think that I will ever reach the point where I tell my team ‘Look, this is it! We’ve done it! This is our roadmap, we are going to be safe.’ Personally, I’m not interested in procedure operations anymore. The Laterals as a magazine needs to have something that is of interest to our readers in every issue. For example, we have six unpublished artworks by Illustrator Christoph Niemann in our inaugural issue. It is a luxury that we were given to publish these artworks because it provides a kind of sincerity to our magazine — a kind of love that you can only get exclusively from an art gallery.

One thing you would say to readers or potential readers of The Laterals?
To our readers, thank you for your support as always, we love you, and we will hope to continue inspiring and continue expanding the concept and brand of The Laterals. To potential readers, buy a copy at Books Actually! It’s a limited print run! (laughs)


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