my own thoughts

i do notice some common -pardon the pun- threads among my quest for collage information.
First and foremost, of course, is the copyright issue. I have a 150 page book of collage that I want to publish. It is on my mind. I continue to purposefully choose labels and wrappers from purchased products. These are definitely not in the public domain! I feel as though I flirt with disaster by using them. But where else can I get such interesting texture for my work? Candy labels are really exquisite. Embossed and decorated foils, high gloss printing, deep enriched color. It seems such a shame to not be able to use these because...they somehow intellectually belong to someone else. Nonetheless, even tho these labels are like trinkets to my eyes, something like a paper jewel to be used to accent and add gloss to the work, they are somehow taboo. Or are they?
Continuing to define the fair use act and discovering the real laws surrounding appropriation seems like a smart thing for me to do. I would like to be an informed collage artist.
After copyright, I like to look into the lives of previous collage artists in history a lot. I think this is helping me define exactly what is happening within the context of my own work. I read about the comeraderie among the Dada, fluxus, surreal artists of the past and I ponder about the collage "movement." I feel as though I am quite lacking as far as ganging together with other artists, whether it be for creating a group statement about art/life/our work through group meeting and exhibition, or whether it be simply for exchanging ideas and entertainment. I seem to be isolating myself in some ways. I did embrace the internet, collaborative exchange, and newgroups for awhile, and feverishly entered a zine project that lasted a few years, participated in several RR exchanges and book creations. But somehow it all seems so unimportant and frivolous. And I have signed off of RR and projects for now, watching on the sidelines and yet feverishly working on my own projects...singly and without much collaboration. Almost in isolation but yet saturated by the world around me.
I seek to understand how our current society affects my work, the work of others, and collage as a whole. Since our entire life has become a cut and paste event, collage on a piece of paper seems like not such a big deal. Am I supposed to feel like a hack, since my work does not contain my own painting or drawing and relies on paper visions that were printed already? Or should I feel like a genius, looking beyond the actual meaning of the paper and using it as my own version of paint??
If I only did a collage now and then I wouldn't be searching so deeply for meaning. I do create collage like a fiend. I have boxes and boxes of ephemera, shelves and shelves of cut and slashed books, even more boxes of pieces that were chosen and cut that never quite "fit", unfinished works, finished works. It is my life, this cutting pasting rearranging and appropriating of paper and objects. The need to understand it in depth seems to be driving this blog. Certainly there is no conversation here on this blog (yet) about what I need to discover. My own personal need is what compels me to read and digest, and then record.

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