Everyday Icon(s): Brian Andreas/StoryPeople

The everyday icon is the person that doesn’t abide by style… no, they create it.

VanDurkinDarrin.  And now the village that is StoryPeople, straight from the mind of Brian Andreas.

I first stumbled upon StoryPeople a few years ago in a small gift shop in Salado, TX, a quiet B&B filled town in between Austin and Waco.

Since then I’ve kept a StoryPeople piece displayed in my view each day at work.  It’s a constant inspiration.  The lines, shapes, quirky sayings.  They are simplistically inspiring.  The hand-drawn feel is somewhere between childlike and a mature but whimsical wisdom.

StoryPeople comes from the mind of Brian Andreas, a man who’s career is build around the idea of community.  The tribe of people around Brian includes Matthew, Annette, Ben, Juli and more… writers, sculptors, musicians, yoga instructors, foodies and people who’ve been uniquely inspired by the style in between the lines of each StoryPeople piece.

Fine Times caught up with Matthew, one of StoryPeople’s unofficial chieftains, to learn just what goes on behind their very colorful doors.

FT:  The story of StoryPeople is fantastic – a family playing in a backyard, having fun and suddenly life becomes art and the beginnings of StoryPeople are born.  How has that beginning carried itself over into the growth of StoryPeople?

Matthew:  There is often a sense of play infused to all the work in the studio.  When you work for a trickster/storyteller you begin to realize how often we take things too seriously.  We can forget often enough, but being in this place & having the stories to remind us, helps to keep us level…balanced.

Our partnerships don’t always make sense.  That sense of fun plus intuition often plays a big part in the choices made.  They don’t often end up as expected, but we’ve realized that most things rarely do.

FT:  What’s a typical day like for the people behind Story People?
Matthew:  It’s a mix of the usual & unusual.  We check our orders & clear production. Annette is handling customers on the phone & email while others in Graphics prepare & pack print orders.  Often, Ben is working on HTML, CSS or some piece of web documentation or organization.  On the other side of the building (there’s only a wall between us) we’re sanding, painting, stamping, wiring, lacquering or anything else that the sculptures or home accent pieces might need.  Shawn is taking our gallery orders & helping the studio (or graphics) when the pressure gets put on.  Missy, then, is helping all our ADD (or ADHD is caffeine has been imbibed) heads keep on track while delving into all manner of new or current markets & plans to share StoryPeople with the world. It’s when everythings clipping along that Brian will come in with a new idea, some sketches or a mad plan for web 2.0 & distract us into what’s next. All the while, we talk of family, life, rarely politics & what might make an excellent next recipe for dinner/supper.
FT:  What’s the most common music played in the Studio?
Matthew:  It’s a very eclectic mix.  There’s everything from Country-fried Rock, the Black Eyed Peas, Townes Van Zandt, Tom Waits, classic 80’s & 90’s, a little Dance, Dub & Trip-Hop(Massive Attack is one of my personal favorites).  We’ve had hey days from past employees of Jazz, Folk & Hip-Hop as well.
Our current favorites:
Matthew – Mumford & Sons
Ben- anything with a slide guitar
Juli & Annette – U2 or R.E.M.
FT:  StoryPeople seems to inspire those around it/those that consume it.  Why do you think that is?
Matthew:  There is a mixture of the child-like quality & a primitive aesthetic that seems to draw from our past.  Brian’s writing is written to allow the reader to insert themselves into the story.  The StoryPeople stories become your story.  That connection is, I think, I large part of how the inspiration happens.  Brian’s intent on what kind of world do we want to create is another piece.  When you imagine a world, do you imagine a world flawed with no possibility?  We imagine a world of limitless hope & uncharted possibilities.
FT:  Each piece has such a unique phrase/story around it.  Honestly, how many of those come from real situations?
Matthew:  They come from Brian’s head.  That means that many of them come from real situations.  Some of those real situations just happen to come from his dreams…(She kept asking if the stories were true. I kept asking her if it mattered. We finally gave up. She was looking for a place to stand & I wanted a place to fly. Places to Fly-Brian Andreas)

Places to Fly, Brian Andreas

FT:  Likewise, each piece seems to have a level of wisdom in it.  What do you think the baseline life lesson is from StoryPeople?
Matthew:  Similar to above: Life is a blessing… just not always how we want it to look…
FT:  What’s the one item in your wardrobe that you couldn’t live without?
Matthew: Does that include my iPod? 🙂  This was a tough question for us so I went to our kids & got Threadless t-shirts, American Eagle hooded sweatshirt & most importantly Chuck Taylor Hi Double Upper Canvas sneakers.
FT:  Who would you say your ‘style icon’ is? That is, the person(s) in the world of music, art, entertainment, etc. is that you hold in high regard and ‘would love to be like when you grow up?’

Matthew:  We often shift from one of shiny to another.  Brian has even been on the list until we found that Celine Dion CD in his vehicle & had to rethink our assessment. 😉  I can only speak for myself when I say those who hold on to strong core values while achieving amazing things.  examples include: Paul Newman, Brad Pitt, Neil Gaiman, Will I Am, Spike Jonze…the list goes on.
I asked Ben & he said – Jim Morrison, Jack Kerouac, Surrealists of 1920’s & Bob Dylan were early inspiration for him but he’s his own icon now. 🙂

… It’s easy to see how such a spirited message can be so inspirational for so many.  That’s the story of StoryPeople.

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