Chris Kohler recently graduated from the Masters in Commmunication Design (MCD) with a ‘Distinction’ in May 2012. He is also a member of the Glasgow based arts collective ‘The Lesser Arts’.
From drawings, collages and prints, to short films, poetry, prose and plays, my work has been centred around the integration of text and image. It has been my ambition to create works which allow illustration and design to function on the same level as a text, where if the design elements were removed, the piece would stop working.
The final outcome of these two years of study is a book called Musical Chairs, a short illustrated novella about two characters, Jonas and Alice, who return to Jonas’ hometown, which has fallen into the sea. Alongside drawings and typographic distortions, a section of images interrupt the books narrative, annotated by short, poetic fragments at the bottom of each page. These images offer a visual inroad to the writing, but the writing also circles the images, trying to find ways of understanding them. From a TV show made of chaotic, cross cut images to a man who makes jigsaws by taking pieces from different boxes, or a play which works like painting, or a textile mill which outfits a pre-war village in a precursed psychedelia.
The images are never integrated into the text, in that they do not ‘illustrate’ in a simple sense, but instead agitate the text and force connections. The short fragments of text which annotate these images are intended as ways of seeing. One caption runs “keepsy taws / saccades,” referring to marbles and the movement of the eye. These are referenced in passing in the text. The last three images, of a boy running towards the sea, tie to a description of a marble rolling freely in the main characters pocket. In this way, the text is really ‘illustrating’ the image.