Words are Sweet Sounds for Objects Unreal

2003 - 2004

Words are Sweet Sounds for Objects Unreal, Oil with pencil, pen and oil pastel on Canvas, 2003-2004

This piece won the Gold Medal in the Mixed/Alternative/Computer Category and the Steele Family Award for Creativity and Innovation in the 41st RMCAD Student Show.

In a heartbeat, this painting is composed of the first page of text from, On The Road by Jack Kerouac. The letters themselves are painted in colors that will make a portrait of Kerouac when seen at a distance. This painting tries to blur the line between "reading" this piece as literature or something to take in visually. In fact, it is both.

This painting's process of creation was also vitally important, being filmed in a time lapse style with thoughts also kept in journal form, written after most days after painting.


Stills from the film:


One of the most important parts of this piece is the idea of documenting the process of creation in a variety of formats. Transferring a piece from one medium to another changes the overall message and meaning. As seen from the time lapse film itself, sometimes the most interesting part of the process is something other than the ending object.

The painting itself shows only the last layer of paint applied, but gives generous hints of what was taken to create it. To me, that's the most interesting part about the painting. It's a simple jump from hinting at what the creation of the painting was to showing the actual creation itself.

An interesting avenue to explore when documenting the process of the creation of a work is to pick what exactly you want to document. You cannot document everything. Documentation is related very much to the artistic decision of what exactly to paint, accentuate and neglect when portraying a particular scene, still life, posed model and dream, just to name but a few of the many subjects there is to paint.

Because of that, the reason to document in this way is not to be able later to reenact a particular moment with an exhaustive amount of material at hand, but to use documentation and process as a medium in of itself, almost a medium about mediums. An enormous amount of creativity can be coalesced in bringing a process to the point of an Artwork.


To me, the feel of each photo seems very still and silent, as if a desertion had just taken place, like after a natural disaster, or a war. It's unclear on how long the various items left all about have been in the state they've been. In fact, they were taken a day after the painting was completed, at around noontime.

This is how I differentiate process documentation from mere notetaking or historical documentation. Notes can be much like sketches, and another analogy from painting can be discovered.