June 28, 2020

What Came First: The Image or the Words?

Ellie Lauder, 23

This is an A3 portrait of my younger brother, Jamie. He has Autism, and as a result does not speak in complete sentences, or first person. “Jamie’s happy.” “And Daddy will come home.” “No you don’t want the toilet.” “Tomato sauce.” I have collaged these and other sayings into his portrait’s body, aiming to illustrate his quirks in a new way. Words and images have huge power to convey thoughts, feelings and ideas. Can the same level of emotion be felt looking at a picture book, as from reading a novel? Can a photograph of an egg-box sell the product faster than words exclaiming “BUY THESE EGGS NOW”? I try to question this idea through Jamie, seeing if his personality can be conveyed through one medium or the other. I believe my entry shows the importance of images and words working together, as it would be difficult (or possibly not as effective) to portray his physique and personality with just one. At face-value he is a tall, spindly young man; the inclusion of text conveys his humour, stubbornness, and unusual charisma. However, if I made this again, I would spend more time perfecting the illustration – perhaps adding more colour.

Jamie (Self-Portrait), 2017Paint, pencil, collage42.0 x 29.7 cm