“Everybody who has lived has a story. Each story is unique, because each person is an individual and has their own perspective,” says Izzy Reed, creator and owner of Black Cat Eclectic Artists Studios. Izzy has found a variety of unique and creative ways to express her perspective through drawings, animations, cartoons, storytelling, one-of-a-kind hand-made crafts, gifts, accessories, role-play games and apparel, and themed parties and cakes.
Izzy feels compelled not only to tell her story, but to make connections with others by asking them to share their stories. She says, “In our core, we all crave comradery, community and fellowship. Stories are outlets through which we creatively express our ideas and help meet our need to be understood by our fellow man.”
Because of this belief, Izzy actively seeks out stories of adventure, discovery, love, loss, valor, heroes and villains. In them she finds pathos, courage, inspiration, instruction and delight. Her sources include classic and modern literature, fairy tales and folklore, history, comic books and manga, movies and media, country western ballads, people-watching, and conversations with neighbors and friends. “The world can be harsh, don’t you agree?” she asks. “Stories give us a chance to step back and look at life through a lens that can make it more palatable.”
“I encourage people to look at stories from many different angles, and to talk to friends about their stories,” she says. The way we communicate, talk to each other, and teach each other, is often through stories. Stories have the power to teach. They say, ‘This is what happened to me; may you learn from this and move forward.’ Stories empower us to believe in ourselves. They tell us, ‘If you can do it, maybe I too have the ability to do similar acts of strength, resolve, or resilience.’”
Izzy reminds us that so much of what we know–or think we know–comes from the stories we’ve been told, and the stories we tell ourselves about the things that have happened to us. “Stories are focal points of our history as humans, but,” she reminds us, “not all stories are written.” There are still some cultures whose stories are handed down orally from one generation to the next. These stories tell of origins, ancient battles and heroes, traditions and moral code, family values, shared memories, instructions for life, hopes and dreams for a brighter future. “Stories, more specifically metaphors, give a relatable point when trying to explain [and help us remember] complicated things.”
Izzy encourages us, “Don’t just look for stories in books, on the internet, in media or movies, but look in each other. Some of the best stories are told face to face.”