San Sebastian , 1999

San Sebastian, 1999

One of the chief aims of drawing is the bringing together of values and relationships. Values are the elements we put into a drawing (lines, shapes, cloud, tone, texture, size direction). Relationships are the principles that guide these elements to work together to function as a common design. However, it is not often that we stop to examine the very qualities that make values and relationships possible.

Everything important in life comes down to values and relationships, everything we want for, hope for and fight for, everything we screw up- values and relationships. Yet, rarely do we consider the connection between these two words. When one looks up “distinction between values and relationships” on Google no answer comes up. Is this uncharted territory?

Values and relationships appear to exist independently. Much if not most social problems occur due to the muddle between, with people judging values to be bad because of the relationship or context their embodied in, or people relating poorly to eachother with the excuse of noble values. And yet, values and relationships are also interdependent, swinging on a constant pendulum of support and defining each other through transformation and growth.

A value is a measure of worth or importance. It may be a quantity, such as a number or money, or a quality such as colour or juiciness. A value can come independently, like a gift or it can come with strings attached. An independent value is said to be absolute and usually comes packaged as an answer, providing something we might know. However values are not independent for long (someone eventually grabs the forbidden fruit) and when values get company relationships are formed.

Relationships, therefore, are the combination of values, not always happy ones. Relationships provide problems, valuable problems. Sometimes we have problems because we do stupid things, like pouring orange juice over our sausages or leaving our keys in the fridge. But sometimes we do sensible things, good, kind, brave things and it all goes to poop and there we have a valuable problem, or a relationship.

What drawing provides is an excellent platform for airing out and evaluation relationships. For the tension of a relationship isn't necessarily bad, tension being necessary for structure. What drawing shows us is what is to be gained from the reconciliation values within a relationship. For while values independently may provide knowledge, it is only through relationships, tried under the tension of opposites that they earn the added rigour of understanding (inter- standare: to stand among).

Equipped with understanding, drawing enables us to look toward further values with an added sense of empathy, identifying with the tension and strain that makes them possible and better appreciating the qualities that make them shine. 

To find out more check out the audio file below...