This little notebook contains my Symbol Dictionary. It came about from an exercise that Emma Willemse gave in her Conceptual Art Course: create a set of 26 personal symbols for use in art making. In my first iteration (which I did at varsity still so that was more than 10 years ago) the dictionary was a set of iconic drawings, cut out and made into a mobile. I wish I still had that. Symbols included a penguin, butterfly, unicorn, crab claws, eye of Horus and some designs I made up. The process led to my personal mythology (ah, my memory is coming back!)

But that set is destroyed, and it’s time for an update.

I’ve been reflecting on the art that I’ve done and animals feature a lot. This symbol dictionary is my own interpretation of what these animal symbols mean to me, and might mean in my art. These interpretations are drawn from different books, the archetype workshops, my own reflections and my own experiences.

I guess I could have just posted the pictures, but I want to go through the exercise of explaining what these animals mean. These explanations are by no means fixed, and the great thing about digital documentation (i.e. this web page you are looking at now) is that it can be updated later, and I fully reserve the right to do so if deemed necessary.

This is an ongoing project. This Animal Symbol Dictionary will not be limited to 26 entries. I plan to fill up the remainder of the book with images.

First up: Dragons!


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