In 2014 I made a lot of work using text which I obliterated and altered to suit. This collage shows 4 details, which I am revisiting in my current work. Reading the collage from top left in a clockwise direction, here is what was going through my mind at the time:
1. This was originally a headline of blocky, bold font, from a magazine which focused on environmental art. The editors had a habit of lifting passages of text out of context, using a giant font which endowed the text with an importance which seemed to me to be out of place and perhaps just a tad pretentious, so I obliterated the text by making it into comically fat cartoon shapes suggestive of cars and trains.
2. Detail of a page from a cookery book which I altered. I altered both the printed text and my own handwriting which I wrote across the photos, becoming interested in the way the rows of my altered writing dropped down like a screen over the photographs. I then wrapped a line around the rim of the bowl to confuse the space further.
3. I painted a thin wash of white gouache over old book pages so the original printed text showed through dimly, only partly legible. I then wrote across the pages in my own handwriting, which I altered in a decorative manner suggestive of ancient manuscripts, with plenty of bizarre calligraphic flourishes. I then stitched the pages together with cotton thread in the manner of an open book to emphasise the manuscript aspect.
4. Another page from the cookery book. I messed around with space some more, using my altered handwriting to look like part of the background before inserting into the spoon, bringing it abruptly into the foreground and wrapping it around the bowl and over the food.
This work was originally sparked off by the practice of bleeping out cuss words on You Tube videos, altering their meaning and making them family-friendly. I noticed that looking at the results of obliterated text felt like staring at signs in a foreign country, trying to divine some meaning from the alien shapes and knowing that there was a key somewhere to unlock comprehension. A question I get asked is, can I understand them? At first I can because I remember what I had written before I altered and embellished it, but now, five years on, not a chance!
It may also be apparent I have an absolute obsession with the Voynich manuscript, and this is where my current work in progress is leaning at the moment - I hope to have some to share here soon! (Next week? Maybe!)
Thanks for visiting, see you next week!
Welcome to my blog, where I share what I have been doing during the week.
I have copied blog entries created under my nom-de-plume Binky McKee to their own blog. It can be found on my illustration website, Binky McKee.
Heather Eliza Walker
Artist in Edinburgh, Scotland
My Illustration Work:
Binky McKee Website