Journal of Images: Unity thru Collections
Introduction to the Visual Arts 1301
Austin Community College
Paula King, Professor
At some point in time everyone has had, or knows someone who has had a collection
of one kind or another. And while the reasons “why” we collect are as varied as the actual
objects being collected, in either case there is an obvious connection that can be seen upon
closer examination. Unity is described as “a sense of oneness of things belonging together
and making up a coherent whole.” If we were to take a few moments to think about it, we
could easily point out several examples to illustrate that same sense of oneness in the
many things that people collect. Just like the individuals which we call family are all linked
by virtue of our DNA – sharing the same last names, similar physical features, and even
the same residence – that same sense of belonging can also be said for the various
collections that we often amass, whether intentionally or not. These collective units, while
all very different in one way or another, equally possess unique characteristics which
overwhelmingly express just how well they “belong together”.
My reason for choosing collections as a subject was determined after hours of
contemplation on what it was that I was truly passionate about. I finally decided that it
would be easier for me to illustrate the unity that can be seen in various collections of
things that were right before my eyes. If I were to give a virtual tour of my kitchen you
would clearly be able to see what I mean. From floor to ceiling and on each wall and
counter I have amassed over one hundred different kinds of “Noah’s Ark” collectibles,
which are prominently displayed throughout the space. What began with an anniversary
gift of a ceramic cookie jar, over time has grown into a pretty significant collection of
whimsical and colorful curios.
Just to paint a mental picture, my collection includes various items such as puzzles
and pictures, magnets and music boxes, wall hangings and wind chimes. There are also cups
and candleholders, pot holders and pillows, books and bookends, dishes and dolls. I also
have clocks and cookie jars, place mats and floor mats, snow globes and snack tins, lunch
boxes and lamps, along with switch-plate covers just to give an idea as to the diversity
within the collection. Nearly every time I would go out, whether it was to a thrift store,
the grocery store, or even some clothing stores - I was sure to find something with the
same “Noah theme”. It’s easy to see how one can get carried away once a collection gets
started. So then, let’s take a brief look at some other reasons why people collect things.
Some collections, like my own, attribute their beginnings to what may have initially
been a simple gift from a loved one, or perhaps an interesting item that was found while
out digging in the flower garden. Many collections may have been discovered by
archaeologists, while other collections may have been family heirlooms that have been
passed down from one generation to the next. Some collections, such as photo are often
reminiscent of past family events, while sports memorabilia exhibits the collectors’
appreciation for their favorite sports hero. While still others are collections that begin
simply because the collector happens to be a “pack rat”, and just doesn’t like to throw
anything away! Whatever the case may be, the collection itself essentially provides some
form of enjoyment to the collector, which in most cases they want to share with others.
Determining the value of a collection is very much a subjective task. For as one
cliché states, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. In other words, what may be of
little value to one monetarily could possibly hold even greater historical, scientific, or even
sentimental value to another. The beauty of each collection is definitely in the “eye of the
beholder”. The various collections that we observe in everyday life provide us with an
opportunity to better see the oneness that some items exhibit when they are displayed
together with similar items. It is my goal through the following images to illustrate the
elements of art along with the principles of design while demonstrating the theme of unity
through the examination of collections,
Line: The diagonal lines within the fabric seem to steer our
gaze from one item to the next.
Color: The arrangement of these thread cones give the
illusion of a painter’s color palette.
Shape: The subtle earth tones and pastel colors of this
rectangular shaped grouping of tiles appear to stand out from
the solid white background.
Form: Varying heights, widths and depths of these dress
forms is what give them three-dimensional proportions.
Texture: You can practically feel how soft and cuddly the fur
is on each of these stuffed toys just by looking at them.
Value: The coins closest to the viewer exhibit a noticeably
higher value of light being reflected when compared to the
darker shades of those furthest away.
Space: These words of inspiration appear to literally be
framed by the spaces surrounding them.
Unity: This framed fabric panel along with its surrounding
dream catchers provides a combination of several art
elements and design principles which perfectly illustrate the
concept of unity.
Variety: While the animals shown here are all of a different
variety, the scene in which they are depicted unites them as
one big family.
Balance: The visual weight of these wooden monkeys against
the textured background is evenly distributed thereby
achieving symmetrical balance.
Emphasis: The strong contrast of a darker colored shell atop
the pile of more lightly colored shells provides a definite
“focal point” of emphasis as it appears to watch the viewer
with an “all-seeing eye”.
Scale: The use of hierarchical scale would indicate that the
large pitcher in the center of this grouping is perhaps the
most important piece within the assortment.
Rhythm: The alternating patterns of light and dark brush
strokes lead the eyes all the way around these balancing tea
Movement: The diagonal slant in the position of several of the
players bodies give us a sense of either backwards or forward
Index of Images
*Line. Navy/Gold woven chenille bags and book cover, Hutto, Texas, April 14, 2009.
*Color. Assorted Maxi-Lock Cone Thread, Hutto, Texas, April 12, 2009.
*Shape. Love Is Wall hanging, Hutto, Texas, April 19, 2009
*Form. Iron, Wooden and Plastic Dress Forms, Hutto, Texas, April 14, 2009.
*Texture. Assorted Stuffed Animals, Hutto, Texas, April 15, 2009.
*Value. Assorted Foreign Coins, Hutto, Texas, April 15, 2009.
*Space. Wooden Inspirational Angel Figurines, Hutto, Texas, April 14, 2009.
*Unity. Framed Fabric Panel, Leather Dream Catchers, Hutto, Texas, April 15, 2009.
*Variety. Pete Apsit Holy Herd, Hutto, Texas, April 15, 2009.
*Balance. Carved Wooden Monkey Trio, Hutto, Texas, April 15, 2009.
*Emphasis. Assorted Seashells from Galveston Beach, Hutto, Texas, April 15, 2009.
*Scale. Carnival Depression Glassware, Hutto, Texas, April 16, 2009.
*Rhythm. Arita China Tea Set, Hutto, Texas, April 15, 2009.
*Movement. Pacific Trading Cards – Washington Huskies, Hutto, Texas, April 14, 2009.