Imagined, Observed, Remembered

Peter Blegvad: "I began doing comparative drawings of subjects Imagined, Observed & Remembered, in 1977 in New York City, pursuing a line of enquiry which grew out of my first commissions as an illustrator and my struggle to evolve a style suitable for that genre. At work, I was often required to depict things which I could not, without recourse to a model, render 'realistically', but for which I could usually invent recognizable hieroglyphs (as a cartoon is a hieroglyph) by basing these on an eidetic approximation of the particular item which I could "see" with that undissectable organ, the "mind's eye."

In my immaturity, I sometimes experienced a kind of vertigo when drawing, for a client, things purely as I imagined or remembered them to be. Would a picture of the idiosyncratic eidolon or phantom in my imagination be legible to the public as a sign for the thing intended? I doubted it. Often I destroyed the unity of my illustrations by populating, for instance, a stylized cartoon with items (the 'props' of the scene) which I'd copied in an academic manner from life or from photographs in my compulsion to 'get them right'.

Primarily as therapy, therefore, I began drawing sundry items thrice - first as I imagined them to be, then as I actually observed them to be, and lastly, after a suitable interval, as I remembered them to have been. I accorded no less a degree of 'reality' to the item as it appeared to my imagination or memory than to the item as it appeared to what Blake called the 'vegetative organs' of sight."

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