A note: As this commission process started in January, I'm writing about this part of the process after the fact. I'll make sure to let you know when what I'm writing is current.
While I was thinking about where the drawing should go, I was also thinking about what the drawing should be. I was interested that it was going to be in the Honors College, where the curriculum is influenced by great books of Western thought that have fueled the so called "Great Conversation." (See the "new five foot shelf" Ruppersberg link.) As my work for the past decade has almost exclusively considered the relationship of word and image, I was anticipating that one or several of those books would be the basis for my commission. I first visited the Estess Family Alumni Library inside the Honors College on January 10th of this year. Here's a short list of books I wrote down in my sketch book:
Michaelangelo the Painter
Collected Work of John Stuart Mill
Selected writings of Lord Acton
Collected Works of James M. Buchanan
Selected Writings of Sir Edmund Coke
I hadn't previously read one word in any of those books, nor had I heard of some of the authors. And I wasn't aware, for instance, that Sir Edmund Coke was responsible for a sentimental quote I'd heard my entire life: "A man's home is his castle." My experience in the Estess library underscored my insufficient education, and maybe provided a reason as to why the best I could ever hope for in my conversations was "good." This wasn't feeling like where the source for my drawing was going to come from, but I wasn't ready to give up yet.