My Aesthetic Phonetic project was born one summer in my sketchbook as an experiment in evolving patterns and word sounds initially separated from immediate meaning. I wanted to create stream of consciousness imagery, without a plan or composition in mind, but to be aware of patterns and associations that emerge during the process. In a way, it’s an experiment in automatic drawing with control gradually introduced, an attempt to try to channel the flow of free association into something with some structure. (You may also call them weird doodles…)

The text element is formed in much the same way as the drawing. Letting my mind wander during the drawing, I wait for a word or words to bubble up to the surface. From that point, I freely associate other words based purely on phonetic relation to each other rather than the meaning. There is a similarity to Dada Poetry, which also emphasized sound over definition, but the Dadaists chose their words at random, while I’m much more picky. I tend to steer away from actual rhymes, instead favoring near rhymes or subtle syntax connections. I like the idea of creating little mini-poems based on evolutionary changes in the sounds and structures of the words themselves. I am usually trying to make combinations of words that are separated from their definitions, but associations do appear naturally, and I will often let them stick if they work together on other levels too.

I enjoy the conflict and dualism that arises when trying to work in a frame of non-meaning while the mind is constantly trying to put things into a context that makes some kind of sense. I end up at a kind of halfway point between the two, and that’s a major part of the appeal to me. Some of the pictures and sounds wind up being really funny or bizzare or revelatory in the way they materialize on paper. And that’s really what everyone likes about doodling, right? You don’t know where you’ll end up, but it’s probably going to be at least sort of interesting.