For over 25 years, August Highland wrote in a variety of traditional forms. He gradually became interested in pursuing a new direction and, in the early 90's, began exploring the appropriation of text and rearranging text into non-linear sequences. Highland went on to originate a genre of literature called “Hyper-Literary Fiction,” which became successively more and more visually oriented.
When he initially made the leap from the page to the canvas, his work was only made for viewing on a screen. Then, Highland developed the proprietary techniques that today enable him to produce his work at a large scale. Without the use of commercial graphic software, Highland creates his compositions by giving instructions to all elements, such as typefaces, font color and size, text sources, distribution of text, and overall dimension. This has resulted in his creating a media genre that he calls “Literary Extremism.”
Every compositional element of his work is text. From a distance, the text in Highland’s work creates an artistic pattern. Up close, words and phrases in his work are revealed and can be read by the viewer. This is what makes his work not just an art piece or a work of literature. It combines and transcends the two.
Highland’s first visual works were made up of text from various sources, from words people were searching on the Internet to political campaign speeches. He soon created a collection of work that used text from only one source and it was titled “The Paradise Effect.” Created in 2003, the collection celebrated the 400th birthday of John Milton by using text from his epic poem, Paradise Lost. Ever since then, Highland has celebrated the birthdays and commemorated the deaths of classic writers by creating collections of work with text from their novels.
By "reworking" the text of classic novels, Highland is able to present them in a modern way. This enables him to appreciate these great works of literature in a new form, and he hope that others can, too.