Exploring the relationship between art and writing

“Every project starts with words on a page” – Vito Acconci

Down to their brass tacks, both writing and art are a form of communication – a language. One is through verbal means and the other is (conventionally) through visual means. While the creative process behind them may technically differ, they both spring from the same roots. I see them both as a form of creativity which can be defined as an individual’s response to a culture, or an experience, or even as a product stemming from the primal need to express themselves.

As an artist, I strongly identify with Acconi’s statement (above) about every project starting with words on a page. My own creative process always begins words, statements, or phrases that come together to define an idea on a page. The “page” in this context doesn’t have to mean a literal page, but rather the metaphorical sense of a blank canvas. When thinking of concepts or themes, before anything else, we comprehend them through our own language. Thus, we can say that writing can be used to stimulate art. On the other hand, we can also find instances when art comes to stimulate writing – like a Monet would inspire a poet to write a poem, or a like a short film conjures up a critical piece of writing. Hence, is these cases we see the give and take relationship between art and writing.

However, that is not all. There are also cases where one form of creativity is incomplete without the other as seen through Acconi’s work. Without words, his movements are just that – movements. And without performance, his words remain weightless. Similarly, writing is an integral part of my work as well, like for instance, the words on the coat I made for my studio project convey to the viewer that the coat is made of maps. Hence, writing is used as a tool to successfully deliver my theme of the garment being a protective mechanism against the fear of getting lost.

Thus, we can conclude that writing and art are essentially just a means of creative expression, and that despite their obvious differences of one having a verbal outcome and the other visual, both still spring from the same intent.