Visual Thoughts

Emily Carr University of Art + Design, South Building

Welcome to the first entry of a new section called Visual Thoughts. Taking inspiration from giants like Paul Madonna (All Over Coffee) and the prolific Will Eisner, Visual Thoughts will bring together drawings of the local urban landscape with words that speak to a theme related to the image.

Why “Visual Thoughts”? Well, everyday we are bombarded with all types of visual flotsam. Images of everything—from buildings and ads to people and products—are hitting our retinas and interpreted by our brains. More often than not, these images and experiences trigger other fleeting thoughts. A conversation with friends, perhaps? A childhood experience? Maybe a random lesson taught by an elementary school teacher?

Similarly, as we participate in the myriad of conversations we have with people everyday, the words people say often trigger visual thoughts. The bay window in our childhood home where we enjoyed sitting in the sun? The corner store we bought candy from on the way to school as a child? Or, the farms we drove by on the way to our family’s house?

In both cases, these apparitions are gone as quickly as they appear, and we continue about our busy daily lives.

Visual Thoughts is my attempt to capture those brief (but important) moments—a mental snapshot where words and image have collided as I go about my day. As one would expect, they are very personal and speak to the many places I visit—or have visited—locally or abroad, as well as the conversations I have been a part of, or overheard.

That said, given that most of the drawings take place in the spaces of Metro Vancouver and that there is always a connection between the words and images, I invite readers to guess their locations in the comment section, treating the set of information (drawing and words) as clues. Some will be easier than others, of course, but solving a mystery is always a fun pastime. I’ll write the location of the previous drawing with each new post.

Visual Thoughts will run bi-weekly and I invite other people to contribute their own “visual thoughts” for publication here on Spacing Vancouver. If you are interested, don’t hesitate to contact me at

And for all of you self-conscious artists and sketchers out there, you don’t need to be  an established “master drawer”….anything will do, as long as there is a story – humourous, serious, thought-provoking, whatever – that goes with the image and the drawing is somewhat recognizable as a place.

I look forward to seeing if—and how—this new venture evolves!


Erick Villagomez is one of the founding editors at Spacing Vancouver. He is also an educator, independent researcher and designer with personal and professional interests in the urban landscapes. His private practice – Metis Design|Build – is an innovative practice dedicated to a collaborative and ecologically responsible approach to the design and construction of places. You can also see some of his drawing and digital painting adventures at Visual Thoughts.