A studio visit from my friend Jasna, and a discussion about the problems I’ve been having drawing words on paper, suggested this series of drawings directly on my studio wall. These words are among those that are used within the novel to describe Frankenstein’s unnamed creation.
When I lose track of where I want to go with a project I return to something familiar. Today I drew words that refer to Frankenstein’s creature using powdered graphite, one of my favourite drawing materials.
I continue to develop the text drawings for my Memory Festival installation. These drawings are both language and image. They reference hand drawn and mechanically produced text simultaneously.
The sentence fragments I’m using suggest the kinds of things that people say that don’t actually communicate meaning. I’m thinking about how memory deteriorates and how difficult it is for language to capture and represent memory.
All of the images I use for my wall drawings are photo-based and drawn on paper first. I draw them multiple times to see what needs to be emphasized and what can be left out.
Of course every drawing is different, but it’s interesting to compare the two versions. The drawings on paper are generally smaller. Paper is much smoother than the surface of the walls, so the walls are more forgiving. It’s almost impossible to erase and correct something on paper, whereas I can usually redo parts of the wall drawings (even though I try to avoid doing this). I can tell, and I imagine other people can as well, when a drawing has been overworked. I love working with (and against) the inconsistencies of the wall surface.
These drawings have been adjusted to the same size. The one on the left is on paper, the one on the right is on the wall:
How do I instantly know whether a drawing is good or bad? Sometimes I feel it in the process itself. The marks may be too emphatic, when I want provisionality.
Some days my drawing hand feels leaden; the instantaneous connection between eye, brain and hand is missing.
These powdered graphite drawing are highly susceptible to failure. In past projects I thought it necessary to include every drawing produced, whether bad or good.
The drawings I’m working on now are preparation for my installation at the the Burnaby Art Gallery at the end of June. They’re practice drawings so when I begin to draw on the walls of the gallery I have confidence, stamina and speed. This archive of images will also help with scale and placement. So I need my best drawings to inspire and give me courage during the installation—a process very much like a performance.