I’ve had a bit of a challenge this past few days which I won’t bother you with but the upshot has been a retreat from an online prescience since February 24th and an engagement with the physical.
I found myself procrastinating on my book, blog posts and digital work, and ended up mucking about some old (dryish) acrylic paint. After just playing with it I ended up taking the issue of personality in my personalised symbol a little further. You can find the post here that explains how I came to create the original personalised symbol.
I know it sounds contradictory for a symbol to have a personality but then think of BBC 2’s treatment of the 2 and you will get where I am coming from.
I cut a 10cm square card and began working on that. It was great to just sit and play with the heavy paint, creating the shapes and textures. I used a paint brush to lay the basic foundation colour and a stick to lay more heaving paint. The work took a few days as I had to let each layer and colour dry prior to moving on. Here is the result.
I am pleased with the result. The colours are more a result of what was available to me than anything else, and the new design feature – the horizontal blue line – was needed as a way of injecting some (albeit limited) dynamism into the frame – otherwise it was too static.
I think the image is as much about form and texture as it is about subject matter. But I really like the physicality of it. I thought its tiny size would work well in a large deep black frame and was proved correct.
Here is an image of the completed picture in the frame and then I have shown it against a context that provides you with a sense of its scale. The actual picture is 10cm square and the frame 24cm square.
I hope that the use of my personalised wheelchair symbol with non-conventional colours confounds the viewers expectations through the use of conventional production values alongside subject matter usually used in functional signage. Its scale should draw the viewer in and make them get close. I hope it offers a new way for viewers to see and think about wheelchair symbols and what they can mean and evoke. The painting will probably need careful lighting to bring out the texture without obscuring other features.
The end result reminded me of the paintings I viewed on my recent visit to Dulwich Picture Gallery. The thick textured paint and wide heavy frame give the image an sense of gravitas like some of the Old Masters and I am happy with the result.
Indeed this whole exercise proved a wonderful retreat and I feel refreshed and I plan to continue to experiment with creating some physical images and so have categorised this as a new project. (Project 18, was about creating digital images of work, not physical versions and so is distinct from this project).
It’s very striking Pete and looks such a good way, as you say, to retreat in a different way. The thick heavy texture hints at something deeply felt, experienced, that haas slowed you down yet the head is still urging you onwards. There’s determination there I think.
Thanks Catherine. It really fed my soul.
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