Art from words – using narratives to make pictures and incorporating text

Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to make art on the basis of other people’s words – two to accompany poems and one a book cover – and latterly my painting course has introduced projects that require paintings drawing on narratives from stories. These can be news stories, fiction, poetry; anything that takes hold emotionally and inspires a composition.

The projects also feature something called appropriation, which is when you take something, a photograph or print of someone else’s painting, and incorporate it into your own work, often without referencing the appropriated piece. This makes me uncomfortable as both the scientific community I’ve worked in most of my life, and the literary community I joined more recently, would both find this unacceptable. And yes, I’ve heard of found poetry and I appreciate the idea of making something new from something less new by putting a different spin on it perhaps. This doesn’t feel quite the same, and anyway I really do not want the hassle (or potential expense) of trying to defend myself for the sake of a couple of undergraduate tasks.

So, I’ve decided to appropriate myself and this is the first of what may become several.

The story is flash fiction in list form called Five Things That Are True and Six That Are Not. I wrote it in around 2014 and did nothing with it apart from make an audio track and put that both on Soundcloud and elsewhere on this blog. I believe I submitted it to Lascaux’s flash fiction competition without success.

The paintings are shown in the video in fragmented form, echoing the theme of kidnap* which is the core of the story. The victim is being held in a basement * by someone who abuses them and has found a way of freeing, if that’s the word, both of them. The gender of neither is given.

*Although there is nothing explicit shown or described, the words in bold font are a guide to the implied content which may not suit all readers/viewers.

For more details of the art work, this is the process post for my learning log; the audio is here.

Anyone interested in pursuing a degree in one of the arts – painting, drawing, creative arts, writing, fine art – without committing to full time study and especially if working from home is important – maybe take a look at the Open College of the Arts which is validated by the University for the Creative Arts.

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