Pixelated

I started a drawing of me on a tricycle based on a pixelated version of the original photograph. What I had in mind was, firstly, reducing the information in the image to the minimum needed to  identify what it was (or perhaps even less …) and, secondly, the idea of the girl as unformed, not yet in focus.

In a tutorial about Unit 2, Tania Kovats suggested other interpretations of pixelation of a face – concealment of identity or even refusal of permission to be identified – which have provoked some thoughts about what this series could be about.

Here, I know that I’m not refusing permission to be in the work, but the viewer wouldn’t know that if they don’t know that the figure is me as a child. So the image could be read as a drawing of someone who doesn’t want to be there. That does relate to my feelings about my childhood generally, though not to this particular image (the circumstances of which I don’t recall).

And again, I know that I’m not concealing my identity – these are clearly drawings based on photographs of me – but if I didn’t reveal that, the viewer might conclude that the identity of the girl was unknown or secret and intended to remain that way.

Given my overall aim with these drawings – to work towards a collaged piece which conveys something about the passage from childhood to adulthood and what I (we generally?) carry within – for me, the message about identity is not about concealment. It is about uncertainty: growth, replacement, rediscovery, forming and re-forming. Yet some of the other associations with pixelation could be relevant.

Another factor is that, although I don’t know how it’s going to work out, I’m not imagining that the final piece will be a wholly pixelated drawing. So there is scope to use elements of pixelation to allude to any or all of its possible meanings.