When Kelly and I first talked about the possibility of furthering Barnstorm’s story-telling mission with the addition of potent, colorful, and thematically resonant artwork, we weren’t sure how it would play out. We pitched the idea to our fearless Editor-in-Chief, Holland, who allowed the luxury of crawling before we walked. Over the past six months, we’ve been doing a lot of crawling, a little stumbling, some balancing, and have taken a few baby-steps in our mission to participate in a culture that not only honors the written word, but also recognizes the importance of visual works and storytelling, and gives due credit to the artists who create the work.We’ve published visual works from artists who reside in San Francisco, Seattle, New York, and beyond, and we are continually searching for more artists, more work, to pair with Barnstorm’s published written works. Because we pair art with the featured prose, we never know what we are looking for until we read the author’s words, luxuriate in the unique textures of their stories, or are pulled by an image presented, either concretely or intuitively in their texts. While the echoes of story that bounce between image and written word are important to us, it is also imperative that each work possesses its own unique story that both supports the written word and stands on its own. Currently, we are building an archive of submitted works from which we can pull appropriate images for each week’s publication. Artists can submit high quality JPEGs of their work via email. And though we will retain no rights to images of the artist’s work, by submitting artwork, they implicitly give us permission to use it. The work will be credited and we will hyperlink a website address as well, if the artist desires a link to their webpage. We welcome evocative drawings, paintings, collages, and photographs—works that make us feel, think, and inspire us to create, to tell our own stories. Written, spoken, or drawn, the impulse to tell stories is hardwired into the human brain. From birth, humans strive to communicate with each other, to express their needs and desires, to understand, to share, to give voice to our common experiences and uncommon adventures. Be it with crayon and stick figures or the finest Shakespearean prose, all stories start with an image. As art lovers and visual artists ourselves, Kelly and I are honored to have the chance to marry the visual and written word in Barnstorm.
Amy Neswald is one-half of Barnstorm's first Art Editorial team.