by Lara Odell

Lara Odell

Working Note:

These texts/drawings result from notes taken while reading, in an attempt to read and understand. The notes became drawings and drawings became notes. If notes are sketches for writing, and sketches are notes for drawing, then these “notes” and “drawings” could be ideas for thinking. Or ideas for seeing. And possibly ideas for reading.

I like to draw when I take notes—this is faster for me than writing, and a drawing has a certain immediacy. They become an “unexplained” graph of sorts. Drawing diagrams and visual analogies during reading helps me to remember and discover connections I am making while reading.

Many of the drawings were incorporated into a final text/drawing later, and show a scrambled sensation I must have been feeling while reading something difficult, or something I felt I understood at some level but wasn't able to articulate in words. The result is a collage of text-meets-image, on 8 1/2 x 11 “essay” sized paper. Actual text assumes a material weight, and matters just as much as the drawings it associates with. I have tried experimenting with the malleability of words, using words as materials, equal to paper, equal to ink, tape, glue—and equal to the drawings. If words repeated, I let them.

I would try to imitate the style of the writer I was reading, either by using the same emphasis on certain words, the sentence patterns, the “mood,” and the subject matter. A shape could become a pattern, like a pattern in text. I let fonts influence. A font is like a dress to hang on a word—words wear fonts like clothes, fonts speak words like voices. If fonts are voice and texture, a word is the body. Is there a “naked” word? A “neutral” font?

Bio: Lara Odell is a video maker, image maker, and digital artist. She holds a BFA from Alfred University in the Electronic Arts, and an MAH from the University at Buffalo in the departments of Media Study and English. She is currently working at Alfred University as a technician and collaborative assistant with resident artists in the Electronic Arts division, and instructing a web media course. Ms. Odell is currently working on a series of digitally generated large format prints, (which might become paintings) of an outdoor winter swimming pool filled with snow, a mural sized print of her grandmother, and a short documentary video about a Flowbee power haircutter and the man who uses it.

mixed media

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