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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Passionate Scribbly Experiments

This afternoon was perfect for writing.  Torrential downpours!  Dramatic thunderclaps!  I was working away in a Starbucks when the storm hit and it certainly did wonders for my productivity.  Equipped with photocopies of my sketches and unable to escape the coffee shop, I worked through the drafts of two new poems and then started experimenting with how I might integrate image and text on the page.

This process turned out to be a lot more difficult than I expected.  I wanted the text to look emotionally written (passionate, frenzied), yet legible.  I also wanted to break away from a straight-forward linear presentation of the poem without making the actual sequence of the poem difficult to follow.  No easy feat!  I ran into similar issues with Pax Familia when I incorporated the poem into the maze and ended up sending the poem as a separate Word document when I submitted it to ensure that the impact of the poem would not be lost.  

I still don't think I found the right balance today, but some of the results were encouraging.  The poem I wrote to accompany one of the nude females wandered into the somewhat dark subjects of sexuality and the internet, which I don't think really suits the image. It begins:

An icon in the modern sense, digitized and abbreviated 
to make room for a thousand simultaneous desires
of which your thighs can satisfy only one

My first attempt was a pretty standard, linear layout, which ensures the text is readable but isn't very visually interesting.

My second attempt was a little more all over the place. You can probably read the whole thing if you click on the image (Let's hope it doesn't end up plagiarized in a Hallmark card!).  The poem itself needs work, but there's a good base to work from.  

The second poem explores themes of heredity (one of my goals, of course!).  Definitely a work-in-progress, but at least it allowed me to practice new text/image combinations.

I like the energy of the image above, but my favourite is this one below.

After today's experimentation session, I'm debating two directions in which I could take this series:
  1. I stick with a more linear presentation and make sure my writing is legible enough that no words get lost in the presentation.
  2. I go totally crazy/messy/abstract, throw all order out the window, and make the text truly an integrated, overlapping part of the image.  Then, if and when I choose to submit the works to any sort of publication, I submit the image and text as two components of the same work.
I would really love some feedback on this, so if you've made it to the end of this ridiculously long post then please leave a comment about which option you like the best (or any other crazy ideas about where I could take this experiment).  I'm really hoping to have a polished idea ready for October so that I can replicate the final version as a screen print.


  1. first off, your handwriting is beautiful. i really enjoy the first drawing and the linear text. but i also love the drawing with the slightly arching text. my eyes are naturally lead towards one direction so it feels easy to read (as opposed to the last drawing).

  2. Thank you so much for your feedback, Tanya! I used to hate my handwriting, but I've worked on making it a little more fabulous over the years and now it's not so bad.

    I'm coming around more to the linear text layouts as well. I was so set on making things look messy and loose, but the image with the arching text is really the best representation of what I wanted the end product to look like.

  3. I really love the first rendition of the heredity poem. I love the way the arching text flows with the sketch. I also really like the second attempt of the female sketch. The way the words are written really accentuate her curves (if that makes sense!)

  4. Totally makes sense! Thank you for your thoughts on the images. It's funny. I really thought I would like the non-linear options, but the images with at least a little linear organization clearly have more of a visual impact. Good to know!

    I got the clothing package, by the way. Thanks for sending it up!