Two Mind Maps

Today I’d like to introduce you to two drawings that are, to me, joined by a single thought: how easy is it to represent what I am thinking and feeling through art? A big question, for sure, that raises a multitude of others!

abstract art made up of curved lines, circles, patterns and symbols such as stars
Universe Soup, 2019

Questions, such as: how do you express your feelings about a specific thing without creating your own vocabulary, risking the alienation of the people who look at it? Or should you try to make the effort of using common themes and symbols to connect with others?

These are pretty big questions that lead to big artistic decisions! Artists have argued historically about how much one should be taking the viewer into consideration, like how much should be explained to them. And then we have the critics and art enthusiasts of all kinds, with their own opinions as the experiencers! So who should you listen to, as an artist? Your peers, your audience, your critics, or your heart?

I think that because art comes from you, you get to set the rules. So I may not like your art, or understand it, but I can respect that you did something that comes from you. To be fair, I expect the very same to be thrown back at me.

While I like making art that other people can understand, even if some parts of it are a little cryptic or too personal to translate. I know that some viewers’ own experiences and cultures are going to be a barrier to their understanding of what I’m trying to say, just as my own experiences will be a barrier to my own ability to communicate to them. I can hope that people get it, but I can’t depend on it. And it isn’t in my personality to dwell on things I can’t depend on! Therefore, I keep on doing what I am doing, as best as I can.

There is one thing I absolutely love, something that only depends on human beings acting like themselves.

abstract art made up of geometric shapes and lines
Learning collage, 2019

Both Universe Soup and Learning collage, abstract drawings I made earlier this year, are trying to portray something simple in each of them. It is more fun to me, and fulfilling, to let people see what I do and hear about what they see.

The first drawing, Universe Soup, has to do with how I view the vastness of space, while the other, Learning collage, speaks more to how and why I do some of my best learning through books. Every line I make has a purpose; every shape I use has a meaning. I wonder, reader, what you saw – were those themes obvious? Or did you see something else entirely?

And if it was the latter, would that be a failure on my part?

Cosmic portrait

abstract art depicting a face with two eyes, nose, mouth, neck and chest made up of different geometric shapes, patterns, and miniature drawings of space, planets, the Earth, stars, moons, waves, and threads.

I gave myself a challenge to draw something based on the word “universe” and as I drew, I came up with the shapes that made up this face. The universe as a face isn’t something I’ve thought of before, but since seeing the universe in someone’s face is a romantic notion (and I’m a sucka for that), I went with it. And I’m happy with how it came out!

I don’t like overly explaining my imagery. However, I feel comfortable saying that a lot of what makes up this face are small portrayals of the universe from the Earth, through the atmosphere, all the way to space.

Something I enjoyed doing was hiding little “surprises” here and there; little drawings within drawings. Every time I found a place for one, I went for it. There’s something special about knowing that people out there will find them, you know?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this one, I was really excited for a chance to share it!