Last Summer (2008) I took an iconography class with Austin-local iconographer Irene Pérez-Omar. It was an amazing experience. I finally took it back to her, long after it had fully dried, in order for her to put on the final sealing coat of linseed oil. Now that it is finished, I've taken this totally non-professional photo to post on my avocational web log. And I am introducing a new "locus," on my web log for such projects: "ikon."
I think, in some ways, "writing" this icon was more difficult than writing my dissertation. I love re-engaging a folk-art tradition in my post-modern condition. I love the spiritual depth of meaning in each line and layer. I love that an icon is highlighted, and never shaded - the iconographer always works his or her way out of darkness into the light. I love how working on an icon reflects one's spiritual journey - and the troubles you have in writing your icon reflect your own spiritual state. Needless to say, I learned a lot about myself. As I meditate on this icon, I continue to learn more.
There is no signature. Iconographers do not "sign" their work, they "channel" it: both in the sense of passing down a tradition bigger than they are, but also in the sense that the icon enables contact with the transcendent realities it images. Stretta recently embedded a video where a famous author reminds us of the ancient conception of creativity as something only enabled by the divine, by something that transcends merely quotidian human existence. Iconography, as a liturgical art, is, to me, the key example of divinely inspired creativity. It is "sub-creation," under the Creator: to whom be glory.
I plan further posts in this web log locus with regards to why I took iconography, future hopes and projects, and some of the theology and philosophy behind it. Please let me know what you think.
Thanks for following, and thanks for the encouragement.