Saturday, January 05, 2019

Did I say that? Can I take it back?

Above: 1985 - Book with no beginning or end.

Years ago when I was a student, second time around, in my late 30's - I had to give a talk to the art department. I had recently started doing a lot of collage. Small things that eventually became books. I was struggling to explain the appeal of collage. Someone in the audience said "of course collage is fast." I agreed! What? Wait! Even later that day I regretted agreeing. The person who said collage was fast was a sculptor, I don't know if he had collage experience or not. I suppose if you need a car and don't want to spend time drawing one, collage might be faster. Especially if you have some car magazines around.

But every time I work on a project, papers spread all over my studio, searching for just the right little bit to put in the corner, I deeply regret saying collage is fast. The first studio shot is maps I'm auditioning for a book I'm working on. I had to spread them all out to compare.

More bits of maps and other things I may need to add.

And the most important small bits are right in front of my work area.

Collage is not fast, in fact it can seem very slow. I do it because I love those bits of paper. So many things pass thru our lives, so many go into the recycle bin and are forgotten. But they are each interesting and have some kind of history and a message to convey.

It is also physically satisfying to take bits of paper and stick them down. As they come together in odd ways, they take on new meanings, one that feels very personal to me.

Above: 2007 - Purple Mountain Observatory

I still struggle to convey my feelings about collage - when I am doing it I am absorbed and happy. Maybe that's the most important part.

Do you have regrets about something you said about your art in the past? Or maybe you have changed how you see some aspect of your work?

Above: 2005 - The Findings of the Expedition to an Unknown Land