Well, we’ve reached the last installment of our three part Art Quarterly Storyteller series and it’s been so awesome to listen to artists from the S6 community talk about how the act of storytelling plays a role in the art that they make.
One of the ideas that has popped up a lot is that as artists, we are all projecting our stories through our imagery, and these stories are then added to by the viewer, enabling the narratives to grow and flourish within the wider community and beyond.
So, without further ado, let’s hear from the final three artists…
As a more soft-spoken, introverted person, I’ve found that the easiest way for me to express myself is through drawing and painting. Most of my artwork is centered on gay intimacy and lust, things that in American society are a bit more taboo to drop into casual conversation. That’s where storytelling becomes the key component in my work. As a way to work through pain from my past, I translate a lot of this pain onto the page visually. When someone views my artwork, I hope that they not only get a sense of what my story is, but I hope they fill in the gaps with their own stories. I think that’s what makes all art magic—the ability to have someone hear your story, and for the viewer to feel like they’re being heard, too, by way of being represented in the artwork.
At first, I was a bit hesitant to put my work out there into the world, because it meant being truly vulnerable with my stories. But Society6 has made it really easy to give life to the subjects in my work. For my more summery pieces, like the boys in “late summer / the things i kept inside” and “the florist,” I like to apply those moments to tote bags and T- shirts. Pieces of mine that have a more formal subject matter, I like to keep those to prints and framed pieces. The story in my artwork keeps getting told every time someone purchases a tote bag or a framed print, because it invites conversation wherever they’re at. I never expected to see my art being worn as apparel or as an accessory, but after working with Society6, I think it gave my art so much more life and really continued the conversation in environments I never envisioned. Instead of being contained to a wall, my art can take a walk down the street or perch itself as a sticker on someone’s laptop. It’s honestly so exciting!
My images are often telling the story of a woman who is beautiful, powerful, elegant and confident in her femininity. Perhaps I am innately expressing my feminine energy and desire to create something beautiful. For my tarot card series, I investigated the symbolic meaning behind each card so that when I reinterpret them through my own imagery, I better understand and retell the story that the original card is conveying. This turned out to be an excellent exercise in gleaning information from other symbolic art, and I now apply those principals to my own work.
When I’m making a piece of art, I ultimately envision it to be framed and mounted on the wall. So, the wall decals, posters, art prints, and canvases are really my preferred media. S6 allows me to have a platform to show my work in a way that other people can access, and hopefully connect with and have in their own homes.
I love stories, but I’m not very skilled at writing. I have been drawing all my life, so the stories that I cook up in my mind are presented visually. I often love to leave it up to the interpretation of the viewer that maybe raises some questions; What is going on exactly and what might’ve led up to this still image? I love the idea of the viewer filling in those answers for themselves. That said, I’m currently illustrating a story driven webcomic called ‘WaterFront’ that’s being written by my good friend Richard Jonkman. You can read it on www.eggsplosive.com
I love that Society6 gives me a platform to offer my work on products other than prints as well, like on t-shirts or pillows. I don’t necessarily make (personal) illustrations with products to print it on in mind, but it does often happen that when I decide to upload new work to S6, I’m like: “This does look cool on a wall-clock!”. I think it’s such a cool idea that people anywhere in the world can basically wear my little visual stories this way!
So to wrap up the summer Art Quarterly Storyteller series, what important stuff can we take away from the artists who’ve kindly shared their stories? Here are a few points to keep in mind:
- Be yourself! – To tell a good story, we need to capture the imaginations of our audience and the best way to do this is to be true to ourselves. If we find a narrative engaging, the chances are that there will be others out there who will also.
- Show no fear! – The subject matter of our stories may be personal, it may be weird, it may even be taboo to some, but people connect to personal tales and we live in a world full of diversity, so what may be weird or taboo to some, won’t be to others. The important thing is to let our voices be heard and our S6 stores are the ideal place to make this happen!
- Merchandise with intent! – When creating, we may not always envisage our artwork ending up on a wall clock or a mug. But, with some thought and careful editing/merchandising, our images can look awesome across a wide range of products. And it’s this attention to detail that will help our stories (and therefore our products) make those important connections with other people all around the world.
So, jump on into the Society6 community, enjoy telling your stories, and stay awesome!
By Tim Maclean