At some point in your art journey, you might ask yourself, "what do I want to do with this?"
By "this" I mean your skills. Everything you've learned so far.
Learning for the sake of learning is a worthy goal, and it feels good in itself. But if you're like me, you want something more than that.
Art is powerful. It's almost its own type of witchcraft. An artist manipulates matter (paint/graphic/pixels) to reflect in the eyeballs of another human to activate their neurons and send messages and meaning to their brain. It's pretty wild when you stop and think about.
The thing that has always fascinated me about art is that every culture has used it for different purposes. Whether it is used to communicate or for pleasure, there are endless applications and reasons for creating a work of art. I very much enjoy the idea of using visual arts to access the intangible aspect of humanity: Imagination.
Imagination - the ability to conjure false realities within your mind. To play out scenes and events and visualize all the outcomes before it occurs. To fantasize about surreal worlds or creatures and even call forth emotions out of thin air.
These things fascinate and confound me.
Within the realm of imagination, the endless sea of discovery awaits.
Kind of exciting right?
Art gives me a means of accessing worlds beyond my belief, to bring them out of the ether of my imagination into the tangible world.
Feels like witchcraft to me.
Visual Storytelling is a means of sharing these curiosities of our mind, as opposed to representational art - that which is reflecting the world around us rather than interpreting it. I've been drawn to visual storytelling ever since I was a child and it continues to play a large role in my development as an artist. Don't get me wrong, I still very much appreciate representational, abstract, surreal, and all the various genres of art and I believe they each play an important role in my understanding of the world around me. Without my studies in these genres I would not be able to paint how I paint today.
So what paths can visual storytelling take you? What can you do with this power?
Throughout history visual storytellers have been called many things: illustrators, concept artists, comic artists, etc. There are a number of careers one could pursue in this realm.
But what about those of us who don't want to specialize in one genre or be permanently labelled as something. It's harder for us to market ourselves. Brands rely on consistency, so if you are turning out a wide variety of work, brand recognition is slippery.
I've only been at this for a little over 3 years, but I've learned so much about what does and doesn't work along the way. Marketing it an art in itself.
I've personally settled on the terms "Visual Storyteller" and "Landscape Artist" because these two labels easily encompass everything I love to make. These are marketable terms, and over the next few years I can use these to convey to viewers and collectors what I am all about. I've said this many times before, but I'll never be satisfied or fulfilled with doing only one thing. Although I love to paint forests and rivers and mountains, they are only a tiny piece of the passion within.
Visual storytelling - transforming the mindscape into something I can hold in your hand - is something that continues to claw its way into my daily life. So I've decided to completely embrace it. Perhaps it won't be my bread and butter, but it is one of my greatest joys, and that means more to me.
As you know I'm writing a book, which will be heavily illustrated. For that reason alone I've had to practice drawing so many things I never thought I would. Spaceships, machines, alien creatures - they all require massive amounts of practice and intense study.
Are there any other visual storytellers out there? I'd love to hear about your journey. Do you do it for fun or as a living?
Let me know in the comments below or send me a message! I really enjoy hearing from you guys :)
Now it's time for my weekly hike, see you next time!