I have an unusual attraction to text that goes back many years, but I think the real attraction began while reading Stephen King’s On Writing, where he described the magic that occurs when readers interpret text.
His example, if I recall properly, was that writing was telepathy and then wrote a description of a table with a red cloth and then referred to a few other things on that table.
The magic was that almost no two people were probably picturing the same sized table, the same color red cloth, the same type of cloth, and then all of the objects on the table were probably different from person to person as well…
But we were all sharing the same experience. So, he put an image out into the world and we all see it. We all see our version of it, but we all see it nonetheless.
That simple thing really clicked with me, and made me really appreciate the alchemy of mixing words together that could conjure visual, emotional, and other reactions for people to experience through interpreting those words for themselves.
Although I tend to wear funny or ironic T-shirts with phrases that are more amusing, my skinny wardrobe also tends to have a lot of textual elements, as well, although not as funny/pop cultury.
In my apartment in San Francisco, I had a valance above the living room windows, with text in French (I think), and although I never knew what it said, I still liked knowing that it said… something.
Recently, I’ve started buying artwork from an online site called Five Spot Derby, where text forms the basis of the artwork. Each week, the site features one new piece, and every five pieces sold increases the price by $5, so buy early and you get a great piece at a great price, buy later, well, you still get a great piece.
But the combination of the text, the simple imagery, and I’ve become very engaged with getting the pieces I want every week. Some weeks, they don’t hit me, but most weeks they do, and I’ve been stashing them away, building up an archive.
This week’s piece is featured above, and you can click through the link two paragraphs up to see the full image. It is a Steve Jobs quote, so I kind of like having artwork I enjoy, with text I appreciate, from someone I actually got to know (ever so slightly).
The quote is: “When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”
So, of course, I bought this week’s piece (for way less than whatever price you see when you click the link), and someday it will be hung somewhere, and most people will probably never know what the text is that makes up the artwork. I’ll have it ready in case they ask. But I sort of like knowing it has important lessons to tell.
Plus, it seems to add something to the Stephen King telepathy, where Steve Jobs was quoted, that quoted has now been captured and converted into a singular image by TEKSTartist, and now when I see that image, the meaning of the quote is linked to the image, and I may not recall every word of the quote, but looking at it will convey its meaning on sight.
So continues by love affair with text, as I start working to create more of my own…
Here is a video of TEKSTartist creating the Steve Jobs quote: