Since humans developed cognizance, visual manifestations of what we see, hear, smell, feel, and imagine have presented themselves in a wide away of forms. Starting with cave drawings—the most well-known being in Lascaux, France—symbols of hunters and animals were created to show a procession of hunting and spiritual ritual. Figures of humans and heard animals were shown in simplified line form. This type of symbol is referred to as pictograms, and they can be traced to nearly 30,000 years ago. From pictograms comes the emergence of the early forms of the alphabet. Even though civilizations remained thousands of miles apart, many of their alphabets contain similarities and common symbols. The emergence of language itself is–in my oppiion—the most important shift in symbol usage all throughout human history.
Looking for a gateway into symbol culture while still finding something that relates to me, I was reminded of religious iconography—specfically for Christians. Coming from a very religious family myself, I would consider myself well-practiced in the Christian tradition, and have known for years what the Christian community thinks about me, specifically my sexuality. Anyways, I digress from the history of Christian icons.
While simple symbols such as the Cross or the Ichthys have remained without contention, the use of art in the church has been a heated debate since the religion’s inception. Many people viewed any form of iconography as pagan and self-worshiping, so it was kept out of churches until the 2nd century. By then, manuscript art, paintings, statuary, and stained glass would soon flood the church buildings.
Architecturally, the church also developed from Basilica—a relatively rectangular shape good for circumambulation—toRomanesque in which the floor plan forms a cross with the nave and the transept to Baroque, which focused of illuminated, theatrical spectacle.
I would like to combine the development of church symbols and architecture into my personal symbol that synthesizes the Christian perspective with the temporal architecture from Dallas and New York. In that way, my symbol shows both how I view myself and my interests, and how an outside community might view me (the church and the cities).
Moving forward, as I develop a personal symbol, I would like to integrate icons of the cityscape with some form of religious iconography. For example, one idea illustrated in my thumbnail drawings is a cross made by intersecting three buildings. I would like to emphasize one window within one of these three buildings to show how I might feel distant from New York, the Church, or Dallas at times for various reasons. For all of my project ideas, I would like to work with wire and cardboard.