I use myth, symbolism and metaphor heavily in my art. It’s just the way I’ve always been, the natural way for me to express myself visually. When I drew or painted, the same style and language was evident, and now it has translated itself into photographs.
While everyone is allowed to have their own thoughts and feelings on art, I’m going to make the statement that myth matters. Myth is important. Myth retells us the stories of our lives, but in dramatic and tangible ways. When you read a story about the young hero off on his quest, it’s easy to see the tests and trials he encounters, and what he needs to do to overcome them. You fully believe he will succeed even against overwhelming odds. In our own lives things become muddy. The trials and tests are never as clear for us as our hero, and the solutions rarely so evident. And that is when myth steps in, crosses the divider from fiction to reality and helps us.
Myths actually help us in the real world. When I am overwhelmed and feel I cannot possibly go on, I think of Aerin in The Hero And The Crown, sent to face a dragon she cannot possibly slay herself. When I am tired, I think of the Fellowship, walking day after day, after day, after day, to get the Ring to Mordor. When I am hurt and am certain my wounds will leave me damanged forever, I remember the healing Lissar went through in Deerskin.
Myth helps us carry on. By looking into other worlds, we are able to see our own much more clearly. We are able to overcome, because we saw the heroes overcome. We believe in ourselves because we believed in them. We can create miracles in our lives after seeing our heroes create them.
Mythology may seem like a very antiquated idea these days. Something charming the ancients used, but which we today have evolved beyond. I would say there’s no time we need myth more. The capacity for good and bad has rarely been as dramatic as it is in our current times.
Myth would insert itself into my work whether I wanted it to be there or not. It is part of me, part of how I see the world. But I am glad it is there. I embrace it fully and celebrate it’s existence.
And thank you, mom, for buying me a book on Greek mythology on a whim when I was 14 and opening me up to this glorious world. I would be a lesser person without it.