Religious leaders have always been great communicators when it comes to spreading their message. Through the aid of books, tomes and pictorial illustrations they have brought the word to the faithful.
Painting the saints
The images are always particular of their time. So in the 1100s scribes painted medieval knights and in the Renaissance the protagonists are shown wearing 16th century fashion neither of which would have happened 2,000 years ago. So I decided we needed a new style of image for communicating religious ideas in the 21st century.
I am currently working on a series exploring the depiction of saints in a modern way. Today we live our lives on the internet, iPhone and tablet so I think we need religious images that reflect our modern age.
The newest of languages is the visual emoji, emoticon language, where feelings, states of mind and responses are all quickly communicated via the international language of cartoon characters.
Since their inception in 1982, emoticons have been the chosen form of communication for the new age. From the simple full-colon with a bracket 🙂 smiley face we have seen a whole drama of emotions created. With the addition of avatars, emojis and memes, conversation and messages have taken on a whole new direction.
This series takes modern iconic symbols and combines them with current technologies and an older style of portrayal to produce a contemporary image, with a historical connection.
As in the thirteenth century rooms series, the initial point of reference was the IKEA catalogue. The figures are based around the character found on the much ridiculed instruction leaflets that come with any flat-pack and has been altered slightly to suit the saint.
Modern saintly images
Who these days uses an iron cauldron or fires a crossbow? Very few I’d imagine. Therefore the addition of things like wicker baskets, casters or wooden dowels put the saints in a modern context to which people can relate.
The paintings look modern but are also easily recognisable as religious iconography, even through their simplicity. Bright and colourful with the usual, slightly obtuse viewpoint they are fun but relevant comments on religion in today’s society.
Who is your saint of choice?