Sam Winston – Orphan:

Sam Winston is a man of many words. With the obsessiveness of a lexicographer and the perfectionism of a master craftsman, the London-based artist creates many of his sculptures, drawings, and books out of language itself, splicing up words, endowing once lifeless definitions with human vitality (and, in one case, a thirst for blood), turning the heavy volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary into airy origami, and arranging the emotions of Romeo and Juliet into blocks of text that somehow both muffle and amplify the force of Shakespeare’s tale of love, lust, and blood.

Interview – on “Orphan”

One of Winston’s most recent works, “Orphan” documents the writing process of the title story by arranging ten years’ worth of drafts into “text clouds” (see the thats at the top of this page).

I was writing over a ten-year period, and I wasn’t binning the drafts. I was saving them. When I finally got to a final draft, I went through all the previous drafts and cut out all the words to make the final draft. I describe it as I made a typeface of the previous drafts. So what you’re looking at is both the story and its history. If you see a nice a bit of copy or a nice paragraph, [people] tend to be like, “You’ve polished that so much.” I wanted to put all of the dirt in the process. So you got to see how many times I had to physically write these words before I got to a final copy.

It was a naked writing experience. You’re showing all your references. You’re showing your influences. It takes some of the “How did you come to say that?” out of it.

I asked Winston which writers’ work he would like to see laid out à la “Orphan”.

If it was a writer, I’d like to see Italo Calvino. If any poet, it would be Don Patterson. He translated a series of poems by Rilke. So [by extension] Rilke. Rilke’s “Orpheus” is really interesting.

Melnick (2011)

Fig. 43 (above) & 44 – Graphic Design by Sam Winston (Unknown date)