As we talked about in the first installment of this Storyteller series, we all have different reasons and motivations for making our art.
Our individual backgrounds, circumstances and the lives we choose for ourselves are different, so it only stands to reason that as artists, the narratives we transfer into our visual images will be different too.
A story told through a purely visual language is arguably more open to varying interpretations than many other forms of communication, and this is one of the most magical aspects of visual storytelling. We all take our stories to an image, and an image tells us its own stories. So, it’s through this wonderful union that new tales are formed.
When we think about this in the context of the Society6 product ranges, another couple of really exciting factors come into play. Portability and everyday use. Whether your art is printed an awesome piece of clothing like a hoody, a groovy tech accessory like an iPhone case, or a super-cool (not to mention, practical) tote bag, your S6 products end up being carried, worn, displayed, dropped, hung, stuck, drunk from, given as presents… you name it and it’ll have been done. Simply put, these products are out there in the world, giving rise to new people seeing and interacting with our stories in unlimited and unimagined ways. Constantly forming those wonderful unions with different people, who in turn create and tell their own stories through our art.
I spoke to three of the artists featured in the summer Art Quarterly to find out more about the ways in which they think of themselves as Storytellers. I also wanted to learn about the different ways they approach getting their stories onto Society6 products and out into the world.
I have always felt a need to tell my life to others, I have also always felt a need to paint, to make visible what I see inside my head, to make it visible through my hands so that others can see it.
In my work I speak about women and about me, because it seems to be what I’m most interested in and also what I know best. I mostly speak about my childhood as a girl.
I don’t want to die. This is a frequent theme in my work, too. It’s really the reason I paint, because I don’t want to die. This is how I feel every day, and I actually plan ways to avoid it. I don’t mean that I’ll avoid dying, because I know some day it will happen. I just don’t want to take stupid risks, like opening the door to sellers, holding my breath when someone sneezes, washing my hands repeatedly, running through a mall’s entrance because the roof could fall in. I saw that happen once in real life. And the most important thing: paint every day of my life.
So basically, my work is my life, in paintings. My life has a bit of fiction, conspiracy theories against the world and against me and I paint until I calm down.
The most important part of all this is that people can see and hear my story. Society6 has given me this opportunity, it’s so crazy! I can be on a mug or on a wall.
To be honest, I consider myself more of an ‘exhibitor’, I exhibit my disturbing doubts and emotions through my work. It is more of a stress relief because normally one can’t just slip these topics into a casual conversation. To my surprise, I’m not that original, there are a lot of people in the world that share the same anxiety. When I saw that others can understand a pitiful mind, it encouraged me to open up to myself and depict not just my feelings, but those of others too.
Nowadays, artworks don’t just communicate with viewers through canvases sealed in a museum, but they also reach others through prints on everyday objects. It’s personal and it can be part of everybody’s life. Basically, the Society6 platform already has everything figured out for you. Whenever you’re ready to be heard, just get yourself out there and share your voice.
Quite literally, I tell stories ALL the time, you can ask any of my friends. In fact, if you don’t have stories or jokes, I’m likely to be quite bored. I think the art of telling a story takes a lifetime to master. Where does one add drama? Comic relief? Do you leave the audience hanging? It’s like listening to a symphony really. If you were to ask me whether my art is telling a story, I would say there is a disconnect. A painting is an image that suggests a story, but it’s really the viewers story. The artist’s story can give the work context, but who’s to say what people may get from the image? The naive eye sees just as much as the educated eye.
When it comes to selling to on Society6…I makey the artttt. I clicky the button. When it uploads the image, I wait and wait and wait. Then, the people…they buy the artttt.
It doesn’t matter where we’re from or what kind of art we make, as part of the Society6 community, every single piece of art we upload is helping us tell our stories to the world. Our narratives can be comic, tragic, sarcastic, weird, scary, honest, personal, political… the list goes on and on. The bond that ties them all together is our collective desire to let our voices be heard, to reach out to the world and invite everyone to listen and to see and to make connections. When connections are made, our artwork will be purchased, and our products and stories then make their way into the world where they will continually impact and inspire other people’s lives. So, let’s keep the S6 community growing! Let’s keep combining our creative minds and telling our stories to as many people as possible!
By Tim Maclean