: a particular subject or issue that is discussed often or repeatedly
For years I've said that I don't work with themes. Themes to me meant stuff like Alice in Wonderland Books, Frida Kahlo, etc... Being stuck with A THEME always made my head hurt. I like the freedom to wander, explore and see where the wind takes me.
In my classes I'm often asked if students should be exploring a theme. My response is often that they should pick what they like and what they are drawn to the most. If that working with a theme helps them in their creative process that they should work within the realms of what makes them comfortable.
It was pointed out in class yesterday (thanks Maria and Meryl) that I AM working in a theme. My buds pointed out that I often use the same kind of imagery repeatedly in my work. I argued that those were the kinds of images that I am drawn to, that I am using those images to represent and speak for me. I countered that what my friends were saying wasn't really a theme but that those images, colors and symbols instead represent my visual vocabulary.
After class I packed up and headed home. Six hours to process and think (along with several hours of singing along at a very high volume to David Bowie, Talking Heads, Hardline and Dick Powell.
Eclectic is my taste in music.) Then it hit me.
I DO work in a theme. Repeatedly. ME! I'M my own theme! Self exploration and discovery. Images of women and colors that represent ME, my feelings and my thoughts. Repeated words that are winks at things in my life. Books full of my own thoughts, reflections and pondering. Books full of me.
So, I'll have to change my thoughts on how I talk about themes from now on. Seventeen years of teaching and it's taken me this long to realize it and wrap my head around it. I'll have six hours on the way to Frenzy Stamper in Scottsdale this weekend to process and gather my thoughts some more.
Some other links that may be of interest to you:
Building a Visual Vocabulary
Another Building a Visual Vocabulary Post
Where I Find My Collage Images
Thoughts on Collage Work