Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Symbolic images have a power that goes beyond words. They contain ancient knowledge of the time before writing, before language even. They activate a spark in the right hemisphere of our brains that is reminiscent of the spark we felt as kids, while listening to our favorite story being told or read aloud. This spark is a piece of an infinite campfire, a thread that has traveled with our DNA from the beginning of time. Symbols are so powerful that we dream in their language, often more than our own languages, or the language of the dominant culture. The advertising industry knows this. They know red=sex and everyone can relate to birds even though we don't have wings. they exploit our disconnect from the symbolic language of nature and appropriate the iconography of the all-but-forgotten pre-Christian culture. T.V. and movies know the power of the image, as do fascist governments. They converse with the part of our minds that was dimmed when we entered school and were taught to use only one hand, when doodling began to get us into trouble. Considering media's constant dialog with our collective subconscious and our own considerable lack thereof, is it any wonder that the world is filled with terrible things, acts of violence that cannot be explained, only described as "random" and "pathological"? I believe that cultures create art, and that art creates the culture--virtually simultaneously. This can be seen when observing art and crafts movements going back 10,000 years. I think it's important, as artists, to recognize that we are creating reality. w need to think really freakin hard about the reality we wish to create.
Comics are coming at just the right time. We are in the midst of an image overload, but I think it's a good thing: a return of sorts to the way things were before everything started to go wrong. Comics, with their combination of word and image--utilizing left and right brain functioning simultaneously--are tapping into that ancient universal language of symbol, and I think they can, you know, change the world and shit.
But enough proselytizing...this was just my way of introducing my new series of posts: an A to Z of my favorite metaphysical symbolism in comics form. Hope you like it.