Monday, June 22, 2015

Iconography

I have started to play with iconic imagery in my drawings. Ever wonder about the fancy illustrations on your money? It turns out that there's a good deal of symbolism packed into those legal pieces of tender issued by the government. Here's an interesting dissection of the US $1.00 paper note by an art professor: ArtLex Art Dictionary, Symbol (One Dollar Bill). Of course Wikipedia has some explanation, too, but I liked ArtLex's more in depth dissection of why certain images were chosen and posed in certain ways.

This study of imagery is directly related to my (dabbling) interest in heraldry and the design involved. I have and probably will check out more books from the library on heraldry. My experience with these books has shown me that heraldry is extremely faceted, and bewildering if consumed too quickly. While I know that these images are beautiful, intricately designed and useful, I also struggle with some of the aesthetic appeal of certain types of images, things that I might want to gravitate towards that may not be appropriate for what I want to convey. For example, who wants pigs on their shield? I'd much rather put a griffon or a lion on a shield, but if you are a family who has farmed excellent pigs for decades you might want them on your shield.

The nice thing about being an artist that is not relying on my next meal in exchange for a heraldic crest is that I can break the rules. Problems arise when you don't know what rules you've broken and why. So I am in the midst of a slow process of learning those rules.

Here's a sketch inspired by classical iconography with no fancy meanings attached (yet) plus my own artistic flourishes.



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