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Aesthetic Scaffolding

My musical tree © Britt Conley

I have always been a quick study for architectural structure whether in music, painting or building.  If there was one thing one could probably say about me is that I am a structuralist.  Or more aptly, an aesthetic structuralist.  Being so permeates my work and creative process.  While some might hear a melody or see a painted subject matter or random line, I see, hear and chew a three dimentional vocabulary structure.  I calculate the inner scaffolding and the aesthetic vocabularistic (if only that were a word), accoutrements that are hung upon it.

Every great creator has a firm structure by which each new work is constructed upon.   To me, they are always like Christmas trees.  The tree’s themselves come from divergent varieties.  Some often use the same species because the inherent structure or support lends itself best to the aesthetic ornamentation that best accommodates the writer’s style.  Other’s have a huge range they pull from that is ever changing.

Often the scaffolding is obscured by the aesthetic lexicon and design of a work’s deliberately furnished building blocks.  There are those writers that use all the same blocks as though they were just out of a pre-packaged toy set.  In music this amounts to the same old chords.  In art, this amounts to the same old copied linear of patterned variations.  What’s great about the novel greats however, is that they alter their vocabulary blocks; tinkering, thinking, re-arranging, recombining and coloring them into completely novel mergences of data.  No matter how layered or complex or even seemingly simple they are used, they all bear the originator’s signature line, swell, palette and strength of character of that persons range of visual or auditory lettering.  One can always eek out their a-z’s.

A great artist does not have a tendancy toward this or that in the use their building blocks, they instead, have a well wrought out lexicon by which they naturally speak with – much like our verbal ones.  All brought about by a prolific lifetime of experimenting with and shuffling their particular building materials.  Many blocks are shed along the way while others become main stays that are  wrapped into what is ultimately comprehended as that artist’s style.  Style can of course change over time as each artist finds themselves warming to a new tumbling combination of letters.

The joy in studying an artist’s work is to see the range of their visual or auditory vocabulary as well as the dynamics by which they use their little ABC’s.  How a line ditthers and fades or a chord falls from its precipice is hung exactingly within the created spatial scaffolding.  The aesthetic design by which an artist spatially divides and enunciates with his/her letters is the most telling of a person’s aesthetic structure.  The placement of a writer’s chosen letterings can coddle a space, lift it or drag it down.  Either way, the overall structure of a creative work is exactingly divied up, designed with a tremendous striking of division or diffusion, or feebly fumbled and everything in between.  In any work one can find these mergences of data painstakingly hung throughout the whole like well placed Christmas ornaments, each contrasting the other and creating a balanced weave and empathetic assertion of space.

The true excitement lies in each building block’s letter, word, sound, squiggle, fingered punctuation upon a space, or overall resonance, expanse, and how it pulls, fills, dots, plots or soars when combined within an empty space.  Even a feeble topple over is an aesthetic vocabulary in action.  It’s these moments that I studiously wrap my head around with glee. Mostly because the genius of these decorative products is often in the signature shape and use of the block itself.   So, today’s drawing is of the structure of my vocabulary and spatial style studied as a three-dimensional Christmas tree.  Not that it’s genius but it’s definitely me.

Britt : )

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