I chose the name storyseeker on Steemit because I seek tales untold.
Sometimes the stories are my own, but most often they are the imagined memoirs of those who came before.
While people make for good paintings, I have long been fascinated with mysterious artifacts I find at flea markets or spy in dusty attics. And objects have stories too.
I remember one particular day when ideas wouldn’t come. I was working on a picture book, and having trouble connecting with the content. So I went for a walk. Walks are good for ideas. And if ideas don’t come, at least you went on a walk.
I walked past the heavy pieces of a large broken planter just outside of a flower shop. The planter looked like a broken face. This was intriguing, but I didn’t set out on my stroll to find it - so I walked on. When I got home, I remember not being able to let this object go. I can’t picture it clearly and will never know if there was actually a face hidden in its remains. I decided to draw it.
There are plenty of artists who would have made an exquisite drawing of this object in its realistic setting, but this is not my reason for making art. Before sharpening my lead to a fine point, I took away the context of this thing and pretended it was an artifact found. Its story and scale were now my own, and my mind was swirling with myths of statues and empires fallen.
The result was a much quieter piece than first imagined. I created a character to help bring the broken vessels to life and to provide scale. She helps allude to a bigger story by prompting the viewer to question her relationship to them. I remember that when the piece was almost done, it needed movement. I added the flowing sand to fill this void, and it offered the image a symbol of both sadness and time.
The meaning of this drawing is not straightforward, but offers many solutions to those who seek one. Tales Untold could be a piece about the untold stories of those who came before us - stories we never had the time to request. It could be about the futile passage of time and a reminder that life is short. But I imagine there are more interpretations to be found.
Do you have a different interpretation of this image? Has an object ever inspired a piece of your art or writing?
Challenge: One of the assignments I gave when I taught college art students was to find a peculiar object or piece of ephemera at a flea market or in a lost corner of a junk drawer. Remove all knowledge of the object at hand and rewrite its history. Then create an image or a story based on that false history. This is a great way to weave original story into your work. I find that starting with an object is much easier than starting from scratch, and can yield more interesting results.
Technique: This image was drawn in my sketchbook with a sharp and very light 4H pencil. Contrast was added when it was scanned into Photoshop.
Images © Jaime Zollars