Walking away from fifteen years of photojournalism with the Waterloo Region Record may have been a difficult choice for Dwight Storring, but there comes a time when a lifelong calling can no longer be ignored.
Now working as a mixed media artist, Storring uses technology to challenge traditional forms of storytelling while harnessing human experience and self-perception.
“My work revolves around personal narratives and how they influence, impact and inform the larger community narrative. To me, the story is everything,” said Storring.
His digital vignettes assert that technology is simply a lens through which we interact with the world. “Video, still images and audio are all natural storytelling media,” He explained.
One of Storring’s recent projects, Made in Kitchener: Personal Stories from our Industrial Past, is an interactive documentary that focuses on the perspectives of the working class in the second half of the 20th century.
The project website, madeinkitchener.ca, describes the exhibit as an ode to mass manufacturing which has since declined, giving way to knowledge-based industries and beginning a fresh economic cycle.
“As a community-based artist, my work lives in the world of everyday people. I’m most concerned about how my art plays out in their lives and not as much what impact I have on the artistic community,” said Storring.
Storring’s artistic approach involves showcasing those untold stories within the community. He is grateful to the community, which has “supported and influenced” his work.
He says that House of Friendship, Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council, Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region, Reception House of Waterloo Region and Community Justices Initiatives have all contributed to his development as an artist.
Collaboration isn’t just for personal growth. Storring believes collaboration mutually benefits organizations he works with.
”[They discover] how art and being creative can influence how their supporters think about the work of these organizations”, said Storring.
KW’s reputation as a technology hub greatly trumps its artistic reputation. With Google, Blackberry and OpenText on the forefront of the local economic news, the value of art can be easy to overlook.
The stories Strorring tells demonstrate how past and present work together to strengthen the social fabric of the region.
“Maybe some people need to leave the region to understand what they are missing,” said Storring. “For me, Waterloo Region already has ’it’ – a vibrant economy with a strong local component, housing that is still affordable, a strong tradition of arts and culture, a region that looks ahead, not behind.”
Storring will be leading a digital storytelling workshop at Flirting with the Arts on February 9. The event, hosted at Queen Street Commons, is a one-day celebration of art, bringing together 12 artisans whose specialties range from collage to spoken word poetry and metalwork. A 10 per cent portion of ticket sales will be donated directly to The House of Friendship.
“I think people are looking for new ways to express themselves and connect with their creative selves,” said Storring. “Events like this are a great way to find the things that click with you.”