What a word says and what it is intended to mean can be a bit of a grey area when it comes to human speech. When a dog, or a cat, or a grizzly bear is angry, it tends to make itself clear. As is the same when they are complacent, happy or tired.
Humans on the other hand tend to complicate language to portray a deeper meaning that they may or may not want to be revealed.
It’s not only words that convey meaning, but images can convey very strong messages, not just as they are seen, but how they are portrayed, stylised and composed. Using juxtaposition, irony, symbolism, jest, sarcasm, dark humour, and many more tools to emphasise an idea.
I actually took to this idea very literally to start with and decided to look beyond the canvas of paper and use different methods of drawing with words and word related ideas.
The idea of using different surfaces I started to look to old books, texts, newspapers, sheet music and maps.
From these it gave me a fresh perspective on how to treat them and I found myself cutting, pasting, folding, layering and building all sorts of ways to express the idea of communication in various ways, metaphors and images. And by doing this I was quite surprised at the diversity of the work.
The Tree of Knowledge.
Finding an old second hand book warehouse was a god send and after collecting all manner of old book, maps, sheet music and articles I amassed a pile of disposable text, images, card and shapes in abundance!
I decided to start cutting up the books to make a sculpture that would represent a tree which grew out of the pages into text itself. From the branches I hung little random pieces of knowledge found in the assortment of books as a metaphor of the growth of knowledge symbolised by the tree.
The tree itself was made from wrapping thin wire strips around each other and finally strips of text were glued over its surface. The butterflies that were flying out of the page symbolise the freedom gained by acquiring knowledge and how the mind is allowed to float freely.
All in all it is a metaphor and a collection of symbols that tell a story made up of words. However it’s not the arrangement of words that’s important, but more the images they have been twisted and manipulated into to tell the story.
Lost and Found.
Taking an old map was a fertile ground for investigation, metaphor and symbolism. I managed to source a very old map with a rough canvas binding on one side.
From here I chose a number of themes to explore including ‘lost’ related images, map and travel inspired drawings, using the contours of the map to give rise to images and creating layers by ripping into it and re working it with different mediums. All this I set out so that the map be folded, and opened in a certain way to tell a story of images that portrays a journey of sorts, hence travelling the map, noting all my plans and ideas in my log book.
It consists of a scrawled out line of two drunk girls on a Friday night. The images provoke the question of being lost, but not necessarily physically lost, but also lost in purpose and direction.
Next to it is a cut out of an article. Inspired by Bryon Gysin and William Bouroughs techniques in ‘cut ups’. Running a pen randomly over an article in a newspaper, circling words spontaneously to create a new story. These random words were then cut out and placed in sequence, pulled out of the paragraphs by my subconscious. A very interesting exercise with humorous results.
The two excerpts that came from this exercise were:
“A few days in Churchill and other types gathered on other side London The art force…and create the temporary closure the streets Police face on year 1971, shooting success. Strong state of mind. Depressed for a while I thought society has finally really kicked in the arse”
“A lot has happened since Donald Trump reduced hopeful economies closer to home. US manufacturing solar panels…farmland…drastic killers…prospects? Pumping large, dangerous, alternative wean(ers)us. With hindsight, consequences that understand human history will take green people…trump carbon dioxide.”
Other images include a woman’s face with octopus hair, and a cut out of Alfred Korzybski with his famous quote ‘the map is not the territory‘ (Korzybski. A. Louisiana 1931 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map%E2%80%93territory_relation) or, in other words the map only represents the terrain and is not the actual terrain. Therefore it shouldn’t be confused, in a way that reality often gets confused and distorted by perception. Or simply, things aren’t always what they seem.
I used the contours of the land to carve other faces, one of a mans face shouting, drawn in scrawling shades of sentences of thoughts to do with Korzybski’s territory theory. I then played around with other faces that follow the actual contour lines, just using my imagination to see what shapes I could come up with.
This was a great way to use the difference surfaces of the map in conjunction with the already existing images and the symbolism of the maps to portray ideas with these themes.
It’s all in the bigger picture.
I wanted to play around with the idea of introducing ore emotion into another wise quiet, noiseless place. I did some sketches whereby I incorporated sentences into the picture that were relevant to the image, and also became part of the image.
In this path scene, I’ve scrubbed the words into the pathway as if they were the mud on the ground. Although most of the sentences are illegible, it’s not so much the point of reading them, but the fact that they are there, and there unique shapes define the detail of the picture. However, all the sentences described the feelings I had when I walked down the path. The damp smells of the woodland, the moist air, the sunlight dapples through the trees, the sounds of the birds etc. It was a way of bringing the senses into the picture and actually emerging them as part of the image, as in a way, they are part of the image.