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Translating

October 26, 2009

This past week has been filled with lots of drawing!

I’m positively enthralled with line work…

Linear. Outlines. Black or charcoal on white. Clean. Fresh. Simple yet detailed. Creating emphasis based on the weight of the line. Using brushes. Using pens. Working with Wacom stylus and tablet referencing historical imagery.

The interesting thing here is the process of successfully translating these references in a new form and medium, which become part of developing a new set of ideas…

When I undertook my Masters in Fine Art at Monash University (2000-2002), I was based in the tapestry studio. Here, I had a revelation about how taking an idea from one medium (drawing) to another (tapestry) required quite serious creative processing. I had gone through this kind of practice many times before, but hadn’t contemplated the intricacies of the process. If an image ‘works’ in one medium it quite probably won’t ‘work’ in another if all its characteristics are simply copied across. Translating a drawing or photograph into tapestry requires the ability to see what elements need to be removed or added in order for the design to read with the same or similar feel as the artwork from which it is developed. Lines, shapes and composition all need to be reassessed. Colours are mixed on the loom to affect a similar palette, which may have been originally created with pastels, paint or photographic medium.

So many things are taken into consideration when modelling or developing an idea in one medium and then re-interpreting into another. Some sculptors draw first, developing the concept, and then work their materials, while others draw three-dimensionally, using the material from the outset. At the moment, I’m completely inspired by historical drawings and photographs and re-interpreting them in a new medium, to create patterns without losing the richness and interest that is part of their complexity.

Some call this developing an idea. Some call it play. For me, this process is intense and I ask myself a million questions every minute about each line and layer and relationship between shapes and find this completely challenging and simulating…

See below for some more fabulous images for the Alice at Edward project I’m working on with UAP.

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