This spring, I took an online class, “Text in Abstract Drawing”, with California abstract artist Sara Post. Sara is a champion of drawing–not as subservient to painting or sculpture, but as an artform unto itself. By studying the work of artists like Cy Twombly, Amy Sillman, and Julia Couzens, expanding my thinking about drawing, and using ink, cut paper, and other media to “draw,” I’m exploring new terrain in my work. Our class has focused on using all kinds of writing and text in our drawings and collages–and this has stimulated some exciting new directions for my classmates and me.
Asemic writing–shapes, symbols, or patterns that simulate the appearance of written text without carrying its customary meaning–has been one focus. After experimenting, I’ve found that some of my own asemic symbols look like simple leaf shapes, linked together like cursive handwriting. I’ve also delighted in using a 1970s-era “Touch Typing” manual for collage material. Its text–unrelated words, very odd sentences, and paragraphs, all designed to help students gain specific keyboarding skills–has been the gift that keeps on fueling the text in my collages.
Using alphabet stencils has become another favorite technique of mine. Instead of completely filling them in to replicate letters, I tend to scribble across them. My chosen drawing implement–whether pencil, pastel, oil stick, or marker–gets stuck in the spaces in (to me) very appealing ways. This activity results in regularly-spaced marks that are letter-like, but not letters: another kind of asemic writing.
I’ve included a number of examples of my recent work with these techniques here, and more can be found on my Instagram page, @elise.digiuseppe.
While these pieces have not been posted to my website, they are available for purchase. Most are 12”x9” or thereabouts, and priced at $60–$70. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.
As always, thanks for reading and viewing!