Words | and | Images

What is it about the construction of the human mind that makes the interplay of words and images seem, despite innumerable historical and regional variations, to be something like a cultural universal?

~ W.J.T. Mitchell, Word and Image essay from Critical Terms for Art History

At the moment, I’m taking a Voice and Vision class at the San Francisco Art Institute through the Continuing Education program. We’re learning how to incorporate text and words within our work. It’s pretty difficult to make something that looks effortless and not contrived. Well, for me, this is the case. Seriously.

One of my favorite artists is Travis Somerville. We study his work quite a bit. I’m absolutely enamored by his technical skills and concepts. I had the opportunity to meet and talk to him early this year. What a night but I digress. Looking at his work, a lot of what he does is convey his understanding and experiences of the South and its history and culture. Still, you can’t fight the feeling of wanting to do what you think people want to see. He doesn’t do that. He just produces and it’s always some of the amazing stuff I’ve ever seen. Yes, I am an art writer but making art helps me understand the creative process. Overall, the class has been enlightening and rewarding. I’m one of those artists that can’t escape words and I’m starting to accept that fact. I’ve got more of an illustrative style and THAT is okay.


Author: Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina-American writer, editor, curator, and educator whose research interests include new media and digital art, activism, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She serves as one of the editors-in-chief for Hyphen magazine. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and SF MOMA's Open Space. She has lectured at the De Young museum, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, and more. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture (2016). She is currently a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts fellow researching the concept of citizenship. She also serves as executive staff for the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism and board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center.

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