Joelle Storet

Belgian-born artist Joëlle Storet immigrated to the United States from Austria in 2001. She took inspiration starting at a young age from Belgian illustrations and the vast confluences of her Belgian-Congolese upbringing. Her artistic pedigree also draws from her late grandfather, Zamenga Batukezanga, who is known the world over for being the most popular and influential Congolese writer of his era. His folkloric works of fiction and his non-fiction documentations of Congolese culture painted her frame of reference for most of her life. She has since transmitted her thematic expositions to the thriving artist community based in Northwest Arkansas. Storet graduated from the University of Arkansas with a focus on cultural anthropology, German, French, and art history. Her bold palette and multi-faceted interests have allowed her to communicate her history and community engagement through paintings, graphic design, clothing brands, murals, and a whole host of other media. She now considers Arkansas her home and happily lives in NWA.

As a child living in Europe, I was deeply inspired by the ornate stained-glass masterpieces in cathedrals like St. Bavo in Ghent, Belgium. The ornamentations in the architecture and glassworks have been refined by the local patronage since before the Middle Ages. Considering the illiteracy of the majority of the population at the time, the ability for these stained-glass windows scenes to tell a story was a paramount utility. The patchwork colorization helps different aspects of the story be told by main figures. I try to implement a similar strategy to accentuate my own form of storytelling from frame to frame. The subjects of my pieces tend to be scenes from my personal life, although in other works I will leave things open to interpretation so that the viewer can ascribe more personal and esoteric meaning behind the work than may have been my original intention. In this way, I stay rooted in my general strategy of documentation but also fluid enough to widen both my scope and methodology.