The Orca Tribe Project is a youth culture initiative that seeks to enable, promote, and connect young artists from various backgrounds through an accessible platform. This site is a collection of artist interviews, galleries, performances, experiments, and other new media.
The name “Orca Tribe” was selected to most accurately epitomize our mission “…to enable, connect, and promote young artists from various backgrounds through an accessible platform.” As you will soon find, these two words are redundant in their own ways, but also uniquely describe our goals on an idealistic and functional level.
The orca was chosen as our ideal:
Aside from humans and rats, orcas have the largest habitat distribution out of all mammals—while we are currently based in Minnesota, our hope is to expand our coverage and membership across the country within the year, and then, to expand globally. In other words, the orca knows no geographic bounds, and is an animal known to nearly everyone in the world.
Moreover, ecological research in the past decade, most notably just last year, has found that orcas are the only other culturally distinct and culturally evolved animals. Orcas are first and foremost socially motivated animals that live together for their whole lives. While the orca holds a symbolic place in indigenous cultures along the American Pacific Northwest and Pacific islands (and, of course, many other cultures), ideas related to the orca in these cultures are not ones we carry with any intention. For us, the orca represents and is a universal and singular organism driven by its own culture and the individuals around it rather than survival.
These magnificent animals are also distinguished by their diverse social behaviors, known for their many dialects across the world, and revered for their particularly complex level of communication. At Orca Tribe, we strive to create a shared identity (the orca) between a large and diverse population of artists—painters, photographers, fashion designers, musicians, poets, and more—and build a community based on sharing their many stories and their contributions to youth culture.
A tribe was chosen as our function:
There are many ways to describe a group of people, but we chose tribe because a tribe is the only type of group characterized by self-sufficiency, family, and timelessness. We don’t simply want to be a platform for artists and writers, but a place where they can meet new people in the community, learn from one another, and create new and amazing work together. Orca Tribe is not a place to just collect and publish work or artists and writers’ stories, but also a place where new work, new artists, and new writers are born from.
Across the world and across history, tribes have existed under various geopolitical, ethnic, and religious circumstances, but familial bonds exist in all tribes, regardless of their many differences. As a family, we are not here to capitalize off the work of young artists and writers, but to maintain an adequate space that promotes their work and supports them through their journey. The function of Orca Tribe is not to simply be a collective where people just mutually benefit from each other, but a community that nurtures and supports one another in each individual’s growth as artists and writers.
And, finally, timelessness: if anything, the existence of tribes is a testament to bonds so strong that they have withstood the test of social, political, and environmental change. While many tribes have grown in their own ways and exist in different capacities, they have not allowed the external world to significantly alter who they are. Thus, our function is also our challenge: Orca Tribe as a project is itself young, and our mission is to represent the youth, a group of people who embody dynamic change, but we must also learn to remain a stable group—standing strong against the torrent of social, political, and environmental change—rather than a passing fad.
The logo is perhaps the most abstract and mysterious aspect of our brand, but its origins are quite simple: it was once an orca. Turn it counterclockwise, and you can see an orca emerging from a spray of water, captured in a single paint stroke. However, we at Orca Tribe recognize art is not a literal thing, but a form of expression shaped not only by the artist, but also by the viewer. The orca was turned sideways to be more abstract and less directly connected to our name, and since then, we have received the most questions about it, with interpretations ranging from a question mark to a fish hook.
While different individual interpretations may be positive, negative, or neutral, they are all valuable. There is no single story in art or culture, and no single definition of a word or object. We welcome and encourage all conversations not only about who we are and what our mission is, but also of the art and writing that we will be publishing and promoting. Our biggest goal of all—accessibility—would not be reachable if we did not first condemn insulation and the stifling of productive, even conflict-driven, conversations.
For these reasons, here are the first five positive steps we hope to take with this project, and of you we ask your support:
- Write journalistic features on young artists from a diversity of backgrounds and share their work on our website and social media. If you are an artist or writer under the age of 30, please submit your work here: www.orcatribeproject.com/submit
- Promote and cover events where young artists will be featured (Instagram: @orca.tribe). If you are planning an event that fits those criteria, please contact us. You can message us through Facebook or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Grow and diversify our staff. Our acting staff is currently comprised of 50% people of color and 50% women, with ages ranging from 17 to 19, among other demographics. If you’re interested in joining our staff, fill out our application here and email us a cover letter and resume.
- Stay connected. At Orca Tribe, we will do our best to communicate with clarity and speed through our social media and email with everyone in the community.
- Get the word out there! A tribe doesn’t exist without people in it. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, and more and share our content and events.