Litfaßsäule by Shannon Wardell, © S. Wardell

2. Oktober 2014 / Christoph Pelzl

ImageMaker – Dynamo – SnapshotTaker – THE BIG DRAW GRAZ

Kunst- & Naturvermittlung | Kunsthaus Graz

Im Rahmen des BIG DRAW GRAZ haben wir die teilnehmenden Künstler/innen gefragt was für sie zeichnen ist! In den nächsten Tagen schreiben sie hier im Blog über ihren persönlichen Zugang zum Zeichnen.

Shannon Wardell

In my workshop, I have reserved special places for my most powerful tools: the axes, the chisels, the Festo jigsaw, the chrome plated gorgeously curved Craftsman belt sander from the 1950’s … And I have one shelf newly labelled:

Image-Maker – Dynamo – Snapshot-Taker


While I think in my head an endless stream of words, I understand a thought more fully when I can imagine a picture of it in my head. Drawing this imagined picture on paper helps me to understand the details of this thought. Whether it be a self-portrait as a cartoon space alien, construction plans for a doghouse, a proposed wooden terrace out back, a sculpture carved out of a trunk of cherry, the presentation of a new product, a non-objective drawing of patterns, swirls, angles and prehensile doodling, through drawing and the very act of imagemaking, I enhance my own understanding of it.

I can see it. I can name it. I own it.


Every time someone tells me to “Be Creative”, that’s when I palmface and my imagination freezes, hangs, tells me “Battery Dead”. I could whine and moan, but I’m better off getting the Dynamo down from the shelf. I can jump-start my imagination by drawing: just start with whatever pen or pencil is around on whatever scrap of paper or bar napkin is at hand. Put the pen to the paper, move it and see where it goes.

I may think that I am in charge, because I am holding the pen. But soon I realize that certain patterns and forms have emerged in the drawing; the picture develops a kind of life of its own and tells me where certain spaces need more attention.

Boom, the imagination has kicked in and I may be in for a wild ride. The imagination, being that mental imagemaker that all of us have inside of us, is the most awesome and powerful ability that you have because every other skill of yours is utterly dependent upon your ability to visualize in your head.

So I have now my inner mental picture and the physical drawing in front of me. I go back and forth, looking at one then the other and notice that they both change as I am drawing. They seek to come closer to one another, like lovers playing hide and seek in the dark; let them play –


Yeah, the human mind is an amazing wonder, but individuals can still get on my nerves on a daily basis. I get on my own nerves sometimes – parking tickets – need I say more?

Now, I can measure how tall I’ve grown in centimeters.

I can measure how much weight I’ve gained in kilograms.

I can measure my blood pressure, measure all those other things that hospital tests do to measure the growth of countless organs, tumors, blood clots –

Question: How do I measure the growth of my inner self, not my body, but my mental and emotional state of mind?

You don’t. This growth is not quantifiable. You record it and qualitatively compare drawings you have made over the years. Each and every one is a snapshop of your inner self right then in time. Look at the lines: are they bold single strokes or sensible bundles that soften outlines? To what degree is it representational or non-objective? What do those patterns evoke? Be honest, the drawings may not always stroke your ego, but they will decisively make you better able to “Know thyself”. And sometimes, the drawings can be wickedly funny, too –

If the forms don’t seem right and it bothers me, then I simply reduce the figures to simple geometric shapes. Or I go non-objective; communication is open, suggestive, but never defining. There are certainly situations for this kind of communication.

And the drawing records them for you better than any kind of digital or analogue recording device or software. Why? Because you drew it and only you know what you were really thinking about while you were drawing.

On that shelf in my workshop labelled, “ImageMaker – Dynamo – SnapshotTaker”, most people see just a few boxes of pencils, pens, fine-liners and of course fat-head markers. That’s why the shelf needed a new label.

Weitere Informationen zum BIG DRAW GRAZ

“It’s our world” mit Graz International Bilingual School (GIBS)
11-18 Uhr am Platz des Joanneumsviertels (bei Schlechtwetter im Auditorium)

String Drawings, Motion Drawings, Story Telling, und weitere Zeichen-Ideen
Hashtag: #bigdraw #bigdrawgraz

Kategorie: Kunst- & Naturvermittlung | Kunsthaus Graz
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