Letter from the Art Editor

c m taylor

My name is c m taylor and I have served as the Art Editor for Variant Lit since August 2020. For previous issues during my tenure so far, my job has been to select one work to be featured on our cover and to interview that artist about their artmaking process. Variant has been trusted with submissions of an incredibly high caliber from visual artists around the world over the course of this past year and some change, which has made my job blissfully difficult.


          Moving into this issue and bearing in mind the switch to a digital visual art presence, our Managing Editor, Kalyn Livernois, and I encountered a dilemma: on one hand, an online issue opened up our capacity to accept more of the extraordinary work flooding into our Submittable queue; on the other, without a cover artist, we worried about losing the built-in opportunity we previously had to engage in creative dialogue.


          It is thus my delight to announce that Variant Lit will now be accepting visual art submissions from multiple artists per issue rather than a single work to be utilized on the cover. Each published piece will be accompanied by an artist statement.


          I will additionally be selecting a featured artist for each issue. We will publish up to five of their pieces alongside an interview about their influences, history, and process as a creative. The selection will be based on submissions which demonstrate cohesion—as well as excellence among individual pieces—and visual work which sparks the questions for a continued conversation with its maker. While we are certain of the intrinsic worth in all the work we receive (including that which we don’t publish), we also want to utilize our platform to give special recognition in this way to one artist per issue, in the hope that our support will bolster them on their creative path. No individual may be selected as a featured artist more than once.


          For our inaugural featured artist, Sarah Louise Wilson was chosen for both the surety of her style and her poignant, timely subject focus. Even the selected pieces that have found their homes with Variant demonstrate only a fraction of Wilson’s creative perspective, and I’m sure that reading in her own words about her multidisciplinary approach will further illuminate for our readers why I’m all starry-eyed. Wilson captures in her paintings an astonishing balance of emotion and ambient sadness alongside soaring joy in color. Her work kicks me in the gut.


          I am tremendously grateful to everyone who submitted to this issue and even more so to the fantastic visual artists whose work I have the privilege to share with you here now.

Charlie Madison Taylor is a poet, essayist, painter, and songwriter from Boulder, Colorado currently living in Buffalo, New York. They earned a BA in Creative Writing and Dance Studies from Knox College in 2016. Learn more by following them on Twitter @carma_t.

© Variant Literature Inc 2021