To UK artist Jamie Poole, a picture is worth far more than a thousand words. In his hands, text from poems and love letters become highly detailed portraits that seem to crackle with energy. The large scale works, each several feet tall, use the density and tone of the printed letters to create light and shadow. A combination of a collage and photorealistic painting, each piece is textured and contrasting. His self-portrait incorporates lines from correspondence written by his fiance, Sophie, and his representation of her face is created by layering her favorite verses of English poetry.
Inspired by the works of Gerhard Richter, Jamie Poole’s portraits synthesize words and images to make up portraits of himself and fiance, Sophie. Of his tribute to her, he writes: “The text meanders and flows around the curves of her features and is embedded deep in her eyes creating an intricate mosaic surface. The tales in the typography have become entwined within her image and are part of Sophie’s identity.”
Almost like thoughts flowing together to form an idea, the impression of the sitters is made up of words of passionate emotion. The portraits seem to suggest that we become what we most cherish, recognizable to others by what we choose to hold dear to our hearts. Through creating the portraits, Poole establishes a bond between himself and the sitter, becoming intimately familiar with their appearance, thoughts and feelings. As the text is layered, the words, lines and phrases are “repeated and embedded into the work creating a unifying physicality.”
Poole is a graduate of the School of Design and Ceramics in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire. He is currently a teacher of art at Northampton School for Girls. You can see more of his collage work and traditional landscape paintings on his Flickr account and blog.