Phillips' A Humument, Phillips suggests that in any person’s life there is always hope even through the bad by the various color, shading, shape and text of the composition.
In Phillip’s drawing the object shapes out to be a lifeless tree that grows in a barren land. The tree has the color of green, red, blue, and yellow, but all the colors except for yellow is shaded to black meaning that it’s almost lifeless and the ground is colored brown with tints of purple creating a dead color. In this drawing the tree is a symbol of life. It is here where it’s ironic that in such a barren place, a tree can sprung from the ground. It seems like the ground gets little to no water and the tree is lifeless because of the dark shadings. But it is in times like this where it seems that nothing is valued in such place that life can withhold through such a harsh obstacle. This is the tree of hope. The ground can symbolize a person who is lifeless and have nothing to live for but from this person’s mind springs hope, which is the tree. Their hope is having something to live for. That’s why the text says “Can it be in my barren garden that you flower?” implying that garden is the ground and the flower is the tree.
Another interpretation of this drawing is that the lifeless tree symbolizes a person’s mind. The shape of the tree is almost molded like a human brain, it seems soft and squishy. Also there are a many words written in the blobs almost like the human mind thinking about different things. Think of it as a person growing in a harsh environment, which is the barren ground where the tree gets very little water from. This is the root of the tree/person where there were many obstacles already surrounded the person. And yet this tree/person struggles to grow with all the source that they have which is the small amount of water and sunshine. Knowing that the tree is shaped like a human brain, the person’s brain is covered with different blobs with words in them with the colors green, blue, red and yellow. But yet the colors is shaded over by the darkness of the black which can symbolize that the person is unhappy or depress with the way things are going in their life that it’s slowly taking over the good memories. This signifies that the person is changing, which is into the dead tree. But within the tree or the persons mind there is something that lights it up. It is the yellow blobs that pop in the tree. The first thing that Phillip draws the attention to is the brightest color on the page, which is the yellow. The yellow represents hope. In this person’s mind springs out a feeling of hope, the yellow is the only thing alive in this picture it is the “flower” in the barren garden that the text talks about.
On the trunk of the tree says Chapter XIX, this could possibly be the title of the picture because the tree represents life. It could possibly mean the beginning of a new chapter where a person who went through many downfalls has strength and hope to move on because they see that there is something there to hold on to. And that’s why Phillip suggests that in any person’s life there is always hope even through the bad by the various color, shading, shape and text of the composition.