Transforming words to pictures

The art house co-op in Brooklyn, the group that sponsors the Sketchbook Project, has many other art projects as well. While I’m not yet ready to sign up for the Sketchbook of the Month Club – I need to finish the Sketchbook Project before I jump into that – I did sign up for one of their others. I signed up to be a part of “The Canvas Project Volume 3.”

This project challenges participants to take words submitted by others and interpret them on a 4″ x 4″ canvas to create a visual encyclopedia. With the canvases, came the list of words to interpret. My canvases are going out in today’s mail.

My first word was “asymptotically.” Never heard of it. No clue. I looked it up (the internet is wonderful thing.)  TheFreeDictionary.com defined it as:

“A line whose distance to a given curve tends to zero. An asymptote may or may not intersect its associated curve.”

Fortunately they also had pictures, so I was able to understand what they were talking about. My version adds color on the interior of the curves.

My next word was “social media.” This was the most difficult of the three. I struggled and asked myself, how do I illustrate facebook, blogs, wiki, chats, games, and other on-line interactions? How do I do it without words?

I took a lot of definitions and made word clouds. I played with colors, sizes, layouts. This was the canvas left for last. I started by using a blue acrylic paint to outline the canvas, making the interior a screen. After looking at it for a few days, I took a black marker and added a list of imaginary friends on the left and a series of one lines – some responsive, some not – to the center. Then I cut and fused words, willy-nilly on top. I let it sit overnight.

I thought about it some more and decided I was all wrong in my approach. “Social media” should be illustrated by media being social. A TV reaching out to shake hands perhaps. So I added another layer – a television or monitor with a head, a stick body, and a hand. I decided the hand was backwards. I adjusted it. When I was satisfied, I fused a layer of tulle on top to hold it together.My last word was the easiest: “merlot.” I decided I wanted to show the grapes, and the bottle of wine. As with my first word, I used acrylic paints and a marker. Having just returned from vacation – Paris and London – my husband thought the result looked very French.

Those are my visuals of the words sent to me. I wonder how other people would choose to interpret them?

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About wallcough

Trying to find beauty and joy in the world around me . I am many things, among them a quilter, a knitter, and an incessant reader. There is not enough time for them all, so I jump in between them as the mood hits me. Professionally - a rabbi; a hospice chaplain.
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