Friday, February 01, 2013

Suck It Up

collage 5"x7"

A BIG THANKS to the nice folks who took the time to comment during the 100 collage project (deadline Jan. 31, 2013). They were: Wasted Papiers, Todd Franklin, Mattie, Sosser, Crafty Dogma, miriskum dot de, and Lisa (Simpletoenchant) . To show my gratitude, I'd like to give each of you a collage from the 100. Please email me (you can find my address in my profile) so I can give you details. Some of you, I already know which collage to send based on your comments, but still might need some info.  If I left anyone out, please let me know. 

My main purpose in doing the 100 collage challenge was to get in the habit of creating on a daily basis, even when I didn't feel up to it.  I was able to accomplish that and actually learned a few things along the way:

1.  Even though I am busier now than I have been in the past, I found that I still have plenty of time during the week to sit at my desk and produce work.  A collage a day seems such an easy task now that I have tackled making up to 7-8 in one day. 

2.  I was able to get a very good grasp of my materials.  Over the past twenty years I have accumulated a few hundred magazines, clippings, and boxes filled with old ephemera.  I found some papers that I had long forgotten and look forward to working with them in the future.

3.  I found myself reverting to some of my collage styles of the past.  In the early 1990s, my style was very simple using colored backgrounds and a few clippings, mostly from fashion magazines.  My biggest influence to layer more imagery came from two of my favorite artists, Michael Leigh and Paul Jackson, who I met online in 2004 in the early days of Flickr.   Most of the simple collages I made this time around were not because I wanted them to be plain, but because of time constraints.  Simplicity is fine, but I also think it's boring when you rely on the original graphics  of an image (which is pleasing to look at whether you add to it or not), or on a clever title, to make your composition appear more interesting than it really is.  I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I've been guilty of doing it.

4.  I realized that I am too organized and uptight when making work.   During this process, again because time started to run out me, I just kept all the loose images and magazines piled on top of each other on the floor around me.  It helped me to loosen up.  Can't say that it didn't drive me crazy, but I think I can find a happy medium.

The only con I can report is that I made lots of work that I am not proud of, but posted them anyway because it was all part of the process.  Still, I threw away many collages.  I frequently trash work because the ideas don't come together or I make a glaring glue error.   I really hate poorly glued collages.  What's the point of a good composition if little attention is paid to how it's adhered to the paper? 

All in all though, I loved the experience.  I thought about, read about, dreamt about, and was obsessed with collage for a whole month.  I learned a few new things and have several ideas for future collages.  I'm hoping that I can move forward and make some exciting work (to me) and try to move away from making work that is easy and comfortable. 

Larry Lewis Collages

I recently ran across the collages of Larry Lewis (1919-2004).  I love the vibrant colors.  "He was a reclusive and unassuming man, but his books took on another life. He hand inked and painted brilliantly colored pages of ledger books and then created collages from photocopies of collected Victorian ephemera, images of movie stars from the 1920's and 30's and newspaper ads for elixirs, potions and ways to flatten face wrinkles, address sagging waistlines, pinch back big ears and remedy bodies that needed to be fortified and beautified. Each page and spread was composed as a painting unto itself. When the ledger book format became too confining for Larry to work in he made larger books by hand. We are told by Sharyn Prentiss Laughton, his niece and heir to the art work, that Larry never finished any of his books, but rather worked random haphazardly through each one and showed them to the best of her knowledge only to Sharyn. The totality of Larry's work was discovered after he died." (Larry Lewis website).