Our possessions tell the tales of who we are, and the sum of our existence can be seen by the effect our presences leave on the world. With this idea in mind, I began a collaboration to examine age-old ideas of what makes men evil as represented through nontraditional interpretations of the seven deadly sins dressed in contemporary stories, places, and items. In collaboration with a writer, our work resulted in a book. While the writer wrote about troubled men, I created portraits of these characters using illustrations of objects they are associated with.
This concept is founded upon the idea that the seven vices are timeless; they are always discoverable within society should one look close enough. Methods and techniques from the past and the present were used to explore this idea. The adaptation of letter forms from the 19th century, the technique of hand binding the books, and the use of haiku to tell the stories represent the past. Digital illustrations, stories about present-day men, and illustrations of present-day objects represent the contemporary age.
The use of Latin names for the vices probes the abstract concept of words. The Latin names of the deadly sins are historic shells that first contained their meanings. Upon the death of Latin, the ideas of these sins found new vessels in other words from other languages and therefore continue to exist. Although a language may die, as long as a concept continues to be relevant, it lives on and is accommodated in surviving languages. The sins were born in a civilization before our own, wrapped in a different language and a different way of life. Although that way of life is long gone, the concept of the sins stays resilient, finding value and significance in our own language and society.
Although great sins are reprehensible failures and are not beneficial to society, they grow from seeds of basic human wants; the monsters that men become still have human cores. It is easy to vilify a person and forget that there are simple human motivations which result in their actions. It is easy to consider them anathema and deny the seeds of their desires in our own human hearts.