EMILY WOOD: VISUAL STORYTELLER
Tell our readers about yourself. How has your journey led you from England to the Canadian prairies?
I moved to Winnipeg from a small town in England called Stevenage almost 15 years ago – officially half my life now! My parents decided they didn’t want to live there any more and I remember them bringing my younger brother and I to Winnipeg on a holiday a couple of years before we officially moved. I love England dearly, but the reality is that the standard of living, the jobs, the economy etc. could never be as good as they are here. I remember being blown away when I first got here and saw these giant skies that went on forever; these towering houses that people could actually afford, and at fifteen years old, a culture where everybody just seemed to be able to be whoever they wanted to be and everybody just got on with it. There was an acceptance here that didn’t exist where I’d come from, and it was very exciting.
Your work expresses mystic and wonder. What inspires your ideas and vision?
Imagination! I often find myself in the midst of an internal battle as to what to do next – I’m bit into psychology, and for any fellow MBTI geeks out there who happen to be INFJs, you’ll relate – I feel like my heart and my brain see things as they are, but see infinite possibilities with them too. I’ll hear a lyric and it’ll become the basis for an entire story; I’ll see oddly shaped trees in a hidden forest and conjure up stories as to how they could’ve become that way; I’ll hear a friend make a comment about something and turn the idea into a piece of art… I’m also a hopeless romantic (emphasis on the “hopeless”; no takers yet, haha) and I love the idea of jumping into a secret fairytale, telling stories and finding places that nobody else knows about, creating worlds that don’t exist but that absolutely can in writing, visually, or in song. I like to create things that transport people inside the worlds I like to imagine.
How important is music in your work? Who are your musical influences?
I’ve always felt an enormous connection to music. It’s another form of art that unites, excites, and connects. The thing I love about creating, whether visually, in writing, or in song, is that every form has the capacity to tell a story, and to evoke some sort of emotion. To hopefully relate to others, showing them that wonder is possible, or simply that they don’t have to feel alone. I only started songwriting about a year ago, so I’m pretty new on that journey, but I’ve just teamed up with some (far more talented!) friends and we’re going to give a shot at being a three-piece. I’m really excited to take songs I sat and wrote and YouTubed on my tiny little couch and hopefully make something of them. In terms of influences, anyone who touches me with a voice that doesn’t seem possible, or lyrics that are strung together in perfect form, or anything that’s so epic I feel like I’ve held my breath underwater for three minutes and can only breathe again after the crescendo of pure awesome. Some favourites right now would be Dry The River, Keaton Henson, Mumford and Sons, Bastille, CHVRCHES, White Lies, James Vincent McMorrow.
I’m about a third into a novel that’s set in a building here in Winnipeg, and I can’t wait to share it. It’s a collection of psychological horror/thriller type stories written in the style of prose you’d probably find about two hundred years ago. I don’t know if it’ll do well because it’s not the typical fusion of genre and writing style, but it’s something I love. With writing, with photos, with songs… it all begins the same way. I have an idea, and I just go for it. I don’t outline or plot or storyboard or anything. With writing, I’ll have a character and a vague idea of a story, and I’ll just sit down and they end up taking on a life and adventure of their own. Like they already exist, and I’m merely the vessel through which they materialise. With visual storytelling, I’ll usually either have a concept, or a character I want to represent in a way that differs to the traditional. I want to bring in elements either of the dark side, or of magic and whimsy. It’s a strange combination of things I’m drawn to, I guess, but I tend to follow my heart and just jump right in. I’m far too impatient to plan things once an idea has taken root. I just want to get out there and do it. Put something out into the world that’s never been there before. And I like not knowing how it’s going to turn out. The finished product is always a wonderful surprise.
It’s a similar process – an idea hits, and I’ll jot it down in a notepad, not knowing if it’s going to turn into a story, a song, or a photograph. Then maybe I’ll be playing around with some chords, and the right line will come out, and I’ll find the story can be told in a three minute song. Sometimes I’ll find in order to fully paint a picture, it’s going to take a thousand words, and I’ll write a story that will (hopefully!) engross the reader and take them on a journey so full of emotion and atmosphere that they’ll feel they’ve walked right into my scene, in the shoes of a certain character. A lot of my writing is told from the perspective of thought, not dialogue… solitude is a theme that I’ve found has emerged and can be quite unnerving. I want my writing to be beautiful and unnerving. But sometimes, as they say, a picture paints a thousand words, and I’ll create one of those instead. I’ll often post the story behind it alongside it. Some stories are suited to different mediums, and some could be represented in all three.. that’s the great thing about art. So many different mediums; such a universal language.
WRITER BIOGRAPHY: Emily Wood is a British expat currently living under the enormous skies of the Canadian prairies. By day, she works in marketing and communications, but her real job is to create worlds. (She likes that that makes her sound kind of like a superhero.) Whether through song, writing, or visual art, Emily loves to tell stories that capture spirit of what lives inside the imagination, whether the darkest and most sinister tales or those of whimsy and fairytale magic. She believes that all of them exist in the real world, and aims to create pieces that reflect the possibility that everything you can dream up can become real.