This project was developed under the direction of Dena Cavazos, art teacher, by students of Lincoln-way Central High School for the Contemporary Community Curriculum Initiative 2000.

“A picture is worth a thousand words” as the saying goes. However, they also say “The pen is mightier than the sword.”

Words are powerful; images are potent. Each is a form of communication that requires us to use our critical thinking abilities. Both forms of expression can manipulate the way we think and feel.

Combined images and words can change the meaning of one another--subtly or radically. In contemporary art practices, artists often deliberately create dissonance between words and images--fulfilling the artists’ role of shaking up expectations, creating a gap in the smooth transmission of conventional perceptions and ideology.

The Words and Images project was inspired by the often insipid inspirational posters that seem to be ubiquitous in contemporary schools and offices. The students enjoyed skewering the over serious and over sincere tone of these posters--kitsch text/image pieces in which the picture usually acts only as an obvious illustration of the pedantic concept being proffered.

This project is not about representing a pre-conceived idea of how things are or should be. The project begins with students taking photographs at home and around the school of things that appeal to them aesthetically. After reviewing standard inspirational messages and studying the art of artists who make use of words in their artwork, the students play with words and images, as they do so observing the way context changes and generates meaning.

What results occur when pairing a text with various images? Is the initial intent altered, substituted, or enhanced? Does the visual implication endure?

The final, often humorous, pieces make use of unexpected, unplanned juxtapositions that cause viewers to pause to consider their experiences and expectations in light of new, often quirky, concepts.