If a picture paints a thousand words….

Then what happens when you make an image from words? 

I love words, you can make them dance. They can twist and turn and, in the right hands bring comfort and wisdom but in the wrong hands they can wreak havoc. Like most people in this world I am guilty of both I suspect. Words, undoubtedly, have power. Historically words wielded a profound power, particularly when the ability to comprehend and interpret the strange marks scratched on a surface was a rarity rather than the norm. The ability to take such markings and conjur up an image or a story has at points been regarded as a form of magic. The term for a book of magic, grimoire, is a derivation of the word grammar and the term ‘casting a spell’ is just that, spelling out a thought and committing it to paper for retrieval at a later point to be cast out into the air again.I have come to use words more and more as a textural tool with some added meaning. Words in art are not a new thing David Hockney was fond of his letter codes and Jean Michelle Basquiat scrawled words are something I’ve always loved but I’ve used them more and more recently and the notion of forming an image almost solely of words rather tickled me.


It is only over the last few years that anyone has come to appreciate the rather idiosyncratic nature of my handwriting. I form many of my letters back to front and upside down, a trate of those with dyspraxia it seems. It was always a constant source of torment growing up, my barely legible scrawl, and so now I have chosen to reclaim it as part of my art. 

The wording used is a series of repeating phrases in a number of languages with different levels of meaning from the glib “the way to Chris’ heart is through his radial artery” a reference to my recent operations through to the intentionally unintelligible both by obscurity of language and by the level of overwriting. It’s an interesting technique and I would certainly like to pursue more variations on it, the use of an entire piece of custom written prose springs immediately to mind. I suspect a great deal of planning will need to go into something of that ilk but I reckon it’s worth a go.

The subject matter represents the precarious nature of my life over the last year or so. Without realising it I had be standing on the edge of death, getting iller, more tired, more of a ratbag to be with as unknowingly my heart silted up, cutting off my oxygen supply. The irony was that the medication the doctors gave me then as a temporary fix  made me utterly foul to be around and then fixing it properly sent me a bit nuts. It is safe to say that life for those that love me hasn’t been easy and I’m sad and sorry for the hurt I caused.  I love Beachy Head, to me it represents happy times. I have spent many hours up there with someone I love dearly, I feel safer up there ironically that I do walking down the street. It was the company I guess… With some people everywhere is the best place to be, even the edge of a cliff.

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