I have been thinking recently about the inventory of symbols which I have slowly been amassing. This has happened almost without me noticing, but I now have the beginnings of a rich collection.
I find myself reusing symbols to illustrate my ideas when making new work. For example, a heart has come to represent death, and by contrast also life; anchors represent hope and the loss of hope. The symbols in my inventory have become the building blocks from which I construct work. This ridged structure suits my style of working, which always searches for rules and boundaries, creating a set of rules, or framework, in which I can work. This is both beneficial and restrictive. They force me to be methodical, and to think and find solutions.
I very much see my work as allegorical. I hope that people will find their own meanings in my work, and interpret the symbols in their own way. This may be superficial, enjoying (or of course hating) a piece for its aesthetic value alone, or they may find a deeper meaning with a piece by understand the significance of the symbolism used.
Coming to realise this has helped me to better understand how I like to work. It seems strange, but by being so close to my own work, I do not really realise what I am doing. Taking a step back in this way, and assessing my methods will help me to move forward. It has also helped me to think about breaking my own rules in future works.