I was reading an essay by a friend, Salar Abdoh, the Iranian-born writer, and in the middle of an intense description of his time being imbedded in Iraq, he summed up how I see my own way of working: “…the video camera that I carried was not my primary tool. My primary tool was my own thought process, a writer’s impulse for constant self-questioning.”
My version of this is made up of drawing and writing on large sheets of paper where my own thoughts and experiences are a starting point for considering larger issues of why we do what we do, what matters and how we can get lost in distractions that are ultimately unimportant.
The mixture of personal, political, and social concerns that fuel all forms of moods, worries, and psychological states of being, is the material that feeds my work. The text in my drawings starts as a stream of consciousness, in Spanish and English, where I look to consider what is of most importance at that moment.
Editing out sections that are of little interest to me, I will translate words or make a notation that provides a context for the work. Some drawings have large sections of covered text that become a picture of how much thought is irrelevant, a form of nonstop noise.
The writing is a tool for ideas but it is also a build-up of marks, texture and layering, that is an important part of what I do. There are equal parts of pure drawing in my work, and the movement between the verbal and non-verbal approaches is a constant. If the words are my thinking sections then I see the non-text areas as my non-thinking sections, where the tactile experience of the drawing materials become paramount: pencils, broken pieces of metal, sticks, pigment and paint. Crossing out sections of text, covering drawing, circling or pointing arrows at problems in my work is my way of acknowledging imperfection and “mistakes” as part of the picture. There is a desire to lay bare things that may be problematic, to include areas that speak to agitation and unrest as much as to moments of quiet and repose. 

Anne Gilman
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