64 DIGITAL SKETCHES ON THE THEM OF CIVIC THREAT
The idea was to use text again, following on from the GOOD-LUC GODARD series (2017) where I revised my approach to text in pictures (see notes there). ‘Words’ were always going to play a part in the series title, while the theme revisited my darker, grander series, from CRUSADE CULTURE (2009-10) DECLINE (2013) ENCRYPTION (2014) and even ROBO (2015-16). It seemed a good place to see what more I could now do with text, together with colour and more experience in Photoshop. Then, I happened to hear a song by Leslie Winer – ‘Woodshedded’ (with Jay Glass Dubs) – a Burroughsian tale that perfectly caught a sardonic world of rural or suburban evasion and suspicion. This started me thinking about privacy and security again and led to the title PASS WORDS – not quite ‘passwords’ because I also liked the idea of picture passing or surpassing text in some ways, of their correspondence or perhaps conversation being a fleeting thing. Passwords also evokes the online world of course, which is still the source of most of my imagery and since so much menace and corruption lurks there, this too seemed appropriate.
More notes at the bottom of the page
PW-01A – 4 VARIATIONS
PW-2A – 6 VARIATIONS
PW-28A – 15 VARIATIONS
PW-38A – 4 VARIATIONS
The series was interrupted at the end of July for eight or nine weeks in order to work on paintings for SAMPLER-01. The break provided an unexpected perspective on the habits one falls into working in Photoshop. It took a change of medium to really point these out. To some extent they are unavoidable, without becoming a different person. All the same, trying to eliminate the worst of my mannerisms led to a slower, more complicated way of working, involving not just many layers but many files comprising phases to a single work or image. Add to this, options for captions and variations multiplied a little too freely. Four compositions merit sub-pages here, indicating this aspect of the process.
The theme also brought more expansive, grander compositions, my ‘history painting’ or perhaps movie side. While I tried to find more modest (vertically formatted) versions that I might conceivably have the means to paint, in reality most of these sketches are for bigger paintings and would suffer in reduced form. At best, the sketches demonstrate ambition. Pausing and rethinking my digital technique actually contributed to the large number of works, oddly enough. And there were many more ideas than I had time for – that would have taken the series closer to MASQUERADE (B) or GARDEN PATH. In the end, I just had to defer them to other series. This one had gone on long enough and it was better to consolidate the passage I had, with just words.