EST. 2009

December 8, 2016

That Breathing Space

THE WORKS OF LIAM STEVENS range from geometric cut-out compositions to loose paint daubs, and finally, airy pencil sketches of natural scenes. Predominant across the styles is that airiness, as if the image had taken a breath, and is prompting you to do so too. The sketches in particular impart this sensation, with foliage and other natural elements defined by lines that don't dare intersect. Save for a few, they don't even touch.

In graphology, handwriting with widely-spaced words and letters suggests that the writer enjoys freedom and independence. Widely-spaced strokes in drawing give me the same notion somehow. In Liam Stevens's nature sketches, the lines appear to be independent of each other. The spaces between them call attention to the way they interact as elements on a page; elements that give way and have room to move about.

It's a tiny detail that fascinates me, primarily as a designer who works with graphics, but also personally as an individual who values personal space. We've all been there, in public transport and crowded events, in which strangers feel too comfortable with contact. Let me out!

If you can relate, do check out anthropologist Edward T. Hall's chart assigning radii in feet and meters for the intimate, personal, social and public distances between people. According to the chart, we can reserve up to 1.5 feet of personal space for those with whom we feel familiarity and intimacy.

But alas, it seems we're better off as lines on a Liam Stevens drawing.

Illustrations by Liam Stevens,