Posted by Elana Evenden, Art Editor & Poetry Reader for 8.1
Art and literature are often paired together, specifically in the realm of a liberal arts major. Being well-versed in classic literature and art has always been something that many people hold to high regards and often use as a measure for someone’s intellect. However, when it comes to contemporary literature and art many people who defend the classics seem not to care. As art editor of Gandy Dancer for our Fall ’19 issue, I have been reflecting on just how important art is in a literary journal. Having worked on the Gandy Dancer team last year, I believe that the art helps add life to our journal. Looking through the art submissions is my absolute favorite part of the Gandy Dancer production process. It is so exciting to see students’ creative eye and work from all different areas of life among different SUNY Schools.
When our journal is published we get the satisfaction of seeing the finished product of the art and literary works coexisting together. The art adds a whole different feeling to the journal that ties together the pieces and the overall essence of our issue. Within the discourse community of literary journals, many editors are beginning to realize the impact of including art, as it opens up the audience for the journal and includes different forms of expression. Consuming literary journals with art within their issue, makes me realize the truth behind the statement, “a picture’s worth a thousand words.” Reading the fiction, nonfiction and poetry is vital and transportive in it’s own way, but viewing one’s art allows the creation of a whole other story, one that the artist leads your mind to create on its own. With the artist’s intentions in the back of one’s mind, one is able to create their own interpretation and story to behind the artwork. This process invites the viewer to be part of the Gandy Dancer creative process. One of our class discussions of a prior literary journal lead to the statement that “good art should raise questions.” I think that is exactly what art in literary journals does by opening up to the reader/viewer to allow them to question the piece, stylistic choices, intent, story or why we included the piece.
For example, the December journal really changed the way they included art, for the better. Looking at their past journals compared to now the amount of art has increased significantly and they began to accept more diverse styles of art work, making (at least I think) the journal more visually appealing. This journal became one that immediately draws me in just by the inclusion of art on the cover that changes with each issue. Looking at the art on their website greatly shows the way that “good art should raise questions.” The diversity of their art selections is compelling, as each one creates its own story for the viewer, tying in nicely another way to look at a story besides reading.
Looking at art submissions so far for Gandy Dancer I am very excited, as many of the pieces are truly remarkable. I am looking forward to watch the process of this journal unfold as we create this semester’s issue. Here at Gandy Dancer, we are always excited for art submissions and hope that we get many! For us, looking through the art is very comparable to that Christmas morning as a child feeling. We are eager to unwrap what’s next!