Drawing in Progress
11″x17″ • Pencil on paper
For the last three weeks I’ve been spending a great deal of my free time drawing boxes of all sizes. This kind of drawing is as much a meditative act as it is a conscious one. When I’m working on the boxes, I’m working on the boxes. Very little else passes through the mind, and when it does, I simply focus more on the boxes.
The first one I did took me about three days. The second one: a week. The third one has been a week already and I’m not more than halfway there. The boxes seem to get smaller every day.
From afar, the box drawings appear as a grey, mottled tone. Because they’re drawn in pencil, I feel like they have a natural quality to them, maybe like stone or concrete. The sizes of the box determines the tonal quality of the visual texture. This, for me, feels like it’s a sort of macro vs. micro reality and I enjoy the possibilities it lends.
I keep a piece of paper near my drawing board. On it, I write stubborn thoughts, so that I can concentrate on making boxes. The notepaper also allows me to follow through on one idea instead of testing out new ideas on my current drawing. The notepaper has figurative drawings on it. Almost as a release, I think, so that I can continue the course of making boxes.
The boxes, being hand-drawn, are all individual. No two boxes are exactly alike, but I find that many are similar. And I also find that as I’m drawing them, I tend to draw several at a similar height which creates a sort of “ridge” in the tonal quality of the overall work. When I notice this, I purposely move outside of it, drawing a box that is more of a rectangle than a square.
Having noticed this quality of similarity within the individuals, I couldn’t help but think of humanity as a whole. As tens of tiny boxes clamor around one large box, are these the bottomfeeders of the wealthy? Or an entourage to an egomaniac? Or maybe these are a support group to a victim. A non-violent protest to a cause. Children to a mother.
It doesn’t really matter what it is, or what I think of it. As I draw them, I’ve watched them morph relationships between drawn and undrawn: land to water, sky to earth, virus to cell walls, agricultural divisions, topographical maps, computer chips. None of it matters because they are simply boxes drawn in pencil on paper.