Sometimes the most trivial of activities can open the doors of creativity....
On my roadtrip this past Fall, one of the many sights I enjoyed was the old restaurant/hotel/motel signs along the highways in New Mexico (There and Back Again: Part I and Part II). Occasionally we would stop and I would hop out of the car and take a few pictures. I would have liked to have captured more of them, but we did try to maintain a slight semblance of a schedule.
Several places had their letters in separate blocks like the sign you see below.
Last night in the studio, I decided to 'sketch' this 'word-block' idea with some actual physical letters (drawings can only take you so far...). It cost me a little bit of time and a snapped coping saw blade, but the result was W-A-I-T-E-R. (-literally about the third word that came into my mind).
I was curious what a crown-like series of letters fanning out (radiating outward?) from a figure/face would look like. So my initial configuration was something like this.
Even though it takes noticeably longer to make the physical letters, it allows me to move them around and test new configurations/ideas. It also allows me the opportunity to inadvertently move/shift things around and 'discover' configurations/relationships I probably wouldn't have generated intentionally. (I like to think that I might have, but if you take into account how long it took me to realize I could make my own carved paddles, the odds are clearly stacked against me (a link to the post about my carved paddles))
The carved letters were the last thing I had energy for, so after playing around and testing several configurations, it was time to pack up for the evening. So I grabbed three letters at a time a slid them off to the side, then I grabbed the other three and moved them the same way. Their new arrangement caught my eye.
Another slight variation.
I am intrigued by the new word possibilities created by the more ambiguous (less linear, at least) arrangement of the letters. There now exists the possibility for multiple readings/words to be formed.
What will become of this realization? I have no idea. However, some of my more recent work does play around with the physical relationships that exists with words and letters. The example below is the 'stacking' of the letters 'H', 'E', and 'R' in my piece, Relative Location.
The act of scooting some things to the side so my makeshift desk would be mostly ready when I returned in the morning was the catalyst for a whole new branch of work. When all is said and done, it will take me years and several pieces to explore this idea, but the 'Eureka Moment' itself took less than 8 seconds.