VanOrsouw Art Party @ Picture Perfect

The outside view of Picture Perfect, a local gallery in Canajoharie, NY

Last spring, I went to the awards ceremony for the Tri County Arts Council Decentralization Regrant Program. I met fellow grant winner John VanOrsouw there and learned of his project. He planned to create 100 different artworks, send them to various random residents in the Canajoharie area, and invite them all to an art get together.
I received my print in the mail last week and was really curious as to what kind of art event could occur in this little town. The event would take place on a Thursday nite in a store called Picture Perfect Gallery right across from the new Arkell Museum. I couldn't believe my eyes as I drove by the front of the building I couldn't believe my eyes. It was packed!

John Van Orsouw is the gentleman standing on the right, speaking to visitors about his work.

Upon entering, my very first impression was amazement! "What used to be a store, is now a gallery!" The counters were removed, and instead large scale pieces of art hung on all the walls, completely surrounding the gallery. There were works by Marion Preston, Richard Pugliese, and Chris Duncan in addition to John's artwork. The food spread looked incredible, and was continually stocked throughout my visit. The wine was delish...and the whole art party looked quite successful. Who would have guessed that this many cool people lived in Canjo!

You can barely see the food spread in this picture, but there were some scrumptious goodies to eat.

There was a Macbook playing a slideshow of John's work below the artwork that I noticed was actually a collage.

John's work intrigued me the most actually. I was standing in line (for wine!) next to one of his larger works and upon close examination I discovered it was a collage! He used stickers that looked like they were his of his own creation.

A close up of John's collage work

There's a lot of background work in creating stickers that you use in your own work. I really was digging that, and also took a moment to reflect on his lack of copyright infringement issues.
I use images from everywhere, and it immediately lends a variety of texture to my work. I have not tried composing all the parts of a collage myself, so seeing John's homemade stickers on his work was pretty interesting. I have read The Artful Dodger by Nick Bantock, and it looks as tho he also creates everything in his collages. Certainly, this is raising the bar for creativity! I have to re-evaluate what I do. Maybe try this all-encompassing mode. Positively, I could then ignore all the fair use copyright issues!!!

John's stickers up close


Contemporary Collage by Mia Moore

A quote from Mia Moore's artist profile—"My passion is to create works of complexity and depth by melding textures of old and new paper highlighted by varied combinations and layers of acrylic paint and stain." Mia Moore's work has a very defined Asian flavor. There is something so graceful about Eastern imagery. Maybe it is the symbology, or the graceful effect created by the calligraphic text. Whatever it is, I was enthralled with her work. I am always amazed at the unique character and flavor of each individual artists' work. Her website has a selection of beautiful collage work, in addition to some 3d assemblage.

Media: Mixed Media on Paper
Three Dimensional
Dimensions: 25" x 54"


What is art for?

Words by Charles Esche

"What makes art stand out is both the intimate form of its address and its ambiguous relation to the interests that produce it. Art, at least since Modernism's beginnings in the nineteenth century, has been able to distance itself to some degreefrom the social machine that produces it. It is able, in the name of an individual artist, to speak for itself and its selfish intent to be art and nothing more. So much so that the question - 'what is art for?'- has been historically answered by simply saying: 'art is for art'. This has the benefit of appearing to give art its own space to become itself but it is, as we see these days, an effective way to allow questions of ownership to become dominant over questions of meaning or social production whenever art takes up a role in the world outside itself. Nevertheless, 'art for art' is a concept worth retaining in extreme situations of political or economic instrumentalisation."

It was a relief to read this paragraph in the ArtReview: Digital today.
I have often gotten overwhelmed in my own creativity wondering about the meaning of all this art. I read various artist statements, with artists pointing out the parallels between their art and social or spiritual context. Sometimes I feel rather stupid for not being able to verbalize all that stuff. I do art for ART! I do it because inside there are deep thoughts that I can only express with images.
This article also brought up the point of art as being "an effective way to allow questions of ownership to become dominant over questions of meaning or social production..." I believe the author is referring to copyright and sampling and how society is working out the answers to ownership of intellectual property. It's a good read. Especially when it gets you thinking about your place in it all.



Originally uploaded by misphit
I am interested in focusing some attention on using photos in my work. This particular little piece uses 3 different photos. The center one is uncut , but underneath everything, the left hand tree is from a holga photo I took in a cemetery. The girl, she was plucked out of her front lawn and landed here.



It's Friday. And usually this is a lazy day in my little world. Work is slow, everyone leaves early, it's payday, the weekend is on the horizon, and there is this frivolity attitude going on all day long.
In keeping with a Friday mood, today I present the collage work of Marty Gordon. He combines modern imagery with crazy text in comic bubbles! It is like a cartoon collage. I am digging his messages. I think it is less threatening to receive a striking message in a comic bubble. Somehow, speech balloons give me this innocent aura...(maybe because I didn't buy enough of the badass monster comic books!) I read his bubble text and it really grabs me. Also a plus, is the fact that his messages are relevant to today, and seem to be pointing to a higher purpose, a bigger message. It works for me, because the seriousness of his point is not easily noticed at first glance. He draws you in to see what this is all about, and then Zaps you with the punch line. KaPOW!
His blog is here. Pump up your Friday!


Quote by Yayoi Kusami

I recieved my copy of Art Review Digital in my email and read an article about Yayoi Kusami. I confess that I was not aware of her or her work, but I found her concept on art and her comments quite philosophical...

What do you hope to communicate to the viewer?

I hope to communicate that love is forever in the universe, and to share with them wishes for peace on the earth without terror and war.

When you make your work, to what extent are you thinking of the way it communicates with other people?

I am I. Others are others. We are different in many ways. Behind art are, however, aspirations common to all humankind. It gives me great joy when I find them.

Simply beautiful!
peace. love. groove. art.

Side note:
ArtReview: Digital is a great online zine to check into. I enjoy the articles, and the online zine interface is sweet.

Collage Art by Erika Tysse

Collage on Canvas

Erika Tysse has some really nice collage work on her site. I like the painterly-ness of these works. They have an illustrative quality to them and I feel stories in my mind when I see them. Visit her site and find several more images to make dreams with.

Collage on Paper

Collage art by Nicole Natri

Today is this wonderful collage artists' birthday! She does some really nice spacial work. The tension between the images in her collage pieces really works for me. My work is so overdone and cluttered sometimes, it is a relief to see her images play off of each other. Happy Birthday Nicole!


Collage and It's Relationship to Recycling

BLOG ACTION DAY: Collage and Recycling
(Today is Blog Action Day. You may notice a plethora of blogs choosing to discuss the topic of environment today, and this is one of them.)

There is a natural recycling action that starts from the very origin of our thoughts. Every single day our minds take in thousands of new thoughts, ideas, images and sounds. We process them, distill them, file them, and then recycle them over and over throughout the course of our entire lives. This process is innate, involuntary and totally encompassing. There is no end to the recycling that our minds do...even with mind altering drugs and restraint, we continue to add, subtract and recycle.

Collage is the perfect artistic mirror of this organic process. Images are gathered, stored, filed, used, re-used, adapted, colored, stored and then used again. Their initial context may blur, the associations and relationships between them may alter, and they also may distort and morph into other images. I find this type of art very intuitive, because it taps into my inner mode of recycling and reinforces it.

There is a lot of contention between artists, producers, musicians, record companies, copyright owners...But the bottom line is that we ALL need to learn to use our resources wisely, no matter what we do or where we are. Recycling is the mode we should be in for the rest of human race, not just today, or during our lives and those of our grandchildren. It is the beginning for us in understanding our longevity on this planet. Critical for survival.



I know i know this is a collage blog.
Al Gore, Congratulations on the Nobel Peace Prize!!!!


The story of magikglasses

1999, Travis wearing the special Magik Glasses

2007, Travis now, with newer glasses

I did a bunch of work on my site lately, and I thought it would be cool to give a lil' magik history lesson.
Originally, magikglasses was formed by my coworker and best friend Travis Button and I in July of 1999. We became the new web department for our company and in addition to the sites we designed for work, we were able to obtain a site "for practice and staging". Travis had this sick pair of nerdy yellow plastic sunglasses he used to wear which just cracked me up. We coined the phrase magic glasses and when it came time to name our site, we chose magikglasses. Not wanting to be normal, we spelled magik with a K. Soon we got the hang of what we were doing as far as the work websites were concerned, and staging was something we did less and less of, and playing we did more and more of! Soon magikglasses was ours to use at will, as the company didn't use it anymore.

At first, Trav maintained a few pages and we shared the webspace, but after awhile he went on to bigger and better things and soon magikglasses was overwhelmed with my stuff. I started out doing simple dhtml with GoLive3, animated gifs in photoshop... It was such a big moment for me when I could scan in my watercolors and then animate them. I felt pretty empowered and enthusiastic and made all sorts of strange little animated ditties. Inspired by photomontage, I started working with collage and began animating my artwork. Soon I got turned onto Flash, and it became my new favorite animation tool [and still is!!]. (Click here to see my very lame first flash animation)

The site went thru several revisions. I really wish I had saved screenshots or something so I could go back and see the progress! But computers get replaced, firewire drives die in power outages, and you get so glad to replace that same old page....you don't think to save them. The digital world is quite ethereal!! I can remember a puke green background with a tree and text as menu, and a minimalist version that was really plain and modeled after m/m paris...There was another version that didn't last that long that had crazy artwork that I created specifically for the site.

The logistics on that version drove me nuts and it wasn't too long before I had to come up with something that would last just a bit.
My all time favorite magikglasses design was the one modeled after one of those ads in comic books, you know the ones...with the xray vision glasses, whoopi cushions...The site stayed like that for the longest of all of the designs I suppose.

Until 2005...I think at that point I started refining the design that I still am using today. There were a lot of links to projects on the web, and several people also had their work on my site in various galleries...I really couldn't just delete the old site. So I decided to put in a whole new index, and this time have a link to the "olde site" and leave everything there.

Unfortunately, with this cheater way of re-doing the site, I ended up with really cool projects buried in the site really deep in the old pages. In fact, some of my best animations were done back then! I worried that no one would even find them. So, in this latest revision of magikglasses, I put some organization into use. The best of the best old stuff I brought up front and I removed the link to the Olde Site. Hopefully, this will be a better way of presenting my work.

Here's a run down on what I did in the update...
Totally new:
Mini Human Artefakts Show
Human Pixel Project

Drudged up from the deep:
(no more links! Go to magik and see these!)
• Insektika
• Aviaria
• Peeping Toms Peep Show
• At the Creek 2 Sisters
• Adirondack Gallery
• D3
• Focus

Full Collage Journals:
• Journal of the Birds and Bees
• The Silver Journal
• Scroll Collage
• Composition XX4
• Dragonfleyez

And I Updated and Annotated the Links List that makes it easier to know what you are going for.

Today, Magikglasses enjoys daily traffic, and over 25,000 people have visited our measly magik world. If you haven't been there in awhile, it's time to make another visit!

2002, me back then with lame glasses

Today, Me taking a complete dork picture of myself in the bathroom at work with the ORIGINAL special Magik Glasses

Good Copy Bad Copy Online!! Watch it Now!

DJ Danger Mouse

Good Copy Bad Copy is a documentary about copyright that was created in Europe. It has a great handle on the whole copyright concept, and is a really good film to watch if you are wondering about the future of our copyright business model here in the US.
I got news this morning from the mailing list at detritus.net that the flick Good Copy Bad Copy was posted in full feature online. I took time out and watched the whole thing. What a great movie! What a great explanation of how I feel about culling pieces of culture and making new culture!!!
This movie has several case studies that go into depth about copyright. There is DJ dangermouse...and his phenom with the Grey Album....there is Pirate's Bay and their Swedish p2p biz pissing off Swedes by bending to US law...

Lawrence Lessig
There are all these various ways that creative folks have used "sampling" in order to provide fresh and new sounds for everyone. I was sad not to see an artist in this flick, because the relationship between what the music industry is going thru and what collage (and other) artists are going thru is strikingly similar. What I do when I take pieces of paper from here and there and combine them is fundamentally the same as what a musician does when sampling different riffs and recombining them into new pieces.

If you have any interest in the future of our culture...If you are an artist who appropriates and who is working sometimes in fear...If you are a citizen who is forward thinking about our personal rights...this is a movie you must watch! And besides, it's online and showing for free. Do yourself a favor and learn something.

Pirate Gorbuska


Collage of Pope Pisses off the Church!!

I have this goal to bring collage news to the surface. Well this one really got me. Talk about stretching limits!
Dutch artist Ivo Hendriks's created a risqué collage of the pope getting it from behind...not to mention the fisting in the background! It's pretty crazy really. Apparently Ibiza, Spain is a place known for various forms of debauchery...and lo and behold there is an art exhibit called ‘Vamos a Ibiza’ or ‘Let’s go to Ibiza,’ in a church done by none other than Ivo Hendricks. The collage works he did for this particular exhibit play upon the fact that Ibiza is a rowdy place. Why the pope (and apparently other religious folk) are involved in these works is anyone's guess. The El Mundo newspaper says "Ibiza has never and will never exercise any form of censorship of artistic expression." Sandra Mayans (councillor for culture)says the church is not longer used for worship and the exhibit will be shown.
So 10,000 people go to see the show! But according to Spain Culture News, the Bishop of Ibiza, Vicente Juan Segura threatens to sue and the show goes down, long before the end of the month as planned.

The picture I was able to post was pretty lousy. You really can't see the detail or the quality at all. I am unable to make a decision about how I feel about this whole exhibit, because the pic is out of context. If he was using religious images to make some kind of global point, well I guess that is the point of art, isn't it? If it is just to slander and create trash, why would someone go thru the trouble of an exhibition? And the comments on these linked pages allude to some kind of hypocrisy, when the Mohammad cartoon is considered. Quite a bizarre story. Spain is Catholic country...I wonder what would happen in the states with this exhibit???


David Wallace

I am loving the raw collage work of David Wallace. These images are housed on Salaczar.com. There is a lot of collage work here to view.

Folk Art Installation with Soda Bottle Stained Glass

I saw this in Juxtapoz today and had to share it, although it really isn't collage, it seems more like massive assemblage! What an intense place. I would really dig going inside of it and seeing how the light reflects off all those bottles. Too bad it is on the other side of the country!


Appropriating Artists Face Uncertainty

I found this pdf today from the NYS bar association. It is really an informative essay, and contains many warnings for all those who appropriate things. It lists several recent copyright and fair use cases, and gives a warning to appropriation artists.
It makes me so uneasy to know that I am on the edge of the law on this. I guess it's all well and good and you can do whatever you want if you keep your art to yourself, hidden in the closet. But what good is art in the closet??

I want to make it perfectly clear to anyone who reads this blog the details of how I feel concerning the incident on flickr.
I was really silly to go and just download images and use them in my work in this case. The user had pictures that he had marked "All rights reserved." I was ignorant in that I didnt' read the fine print before I went ahead and used it. Of course I didn't realize it, or else I would not have told the person that I had used his photo!! I was surprised at his reaction. Instead of flattery, he was pissed. Good thing! He woke me up to a phenom that escapes me in my naivete. Some people don't WANT you to use their stuff, and they have that right. That is fair enough. I destroyed the image that I had made. I respected the wishes of the photographer. Downloading images and using them is out for now...My ephemera collection is quite far reaching. I can spend many months using what I have without touching anything else. It's the spontaneous combustion of my work that may suffer a little. I need to learn to hesitate, then appropriate!

Seeking Perspective from Eva Lake

In working as an artist, there should be reasonable boundaries to creativity! I can read back in art history and look times past when the freedom of expression was not so free. Religious depiction was the norm. Durer lived in this time, when the Age of Faith ended and the Age of Reason began. What a difference in art and freedom, from then till now!
I relate this to collage and issues we all face in doing our art. What freedom do we have in our creativity? I decided to get perspective from someone who also uses appropriataed images in their work. I thought of Eva Lake. Eva also uses a variety of images in her work, as I noticed in her online diary. She has met a lot of people, her blog is very interesting, maybe she has some insight.
The following is our email conversation.

"Hi Eva Lake,

I am Julie Sadler, a collagist in upstate NY. I have read your blog
off and on and explored your work several times and enjoy your
perspective. I also respect the fact that you have "been around this
block" longer than I have, and your experience and opinion is
therefore highly valued!

I am in quite a quandry these days over something involving collage
and art. I was wondering if you had just a moment for me to help me
understand exactly where i do stand!

To make this email easier to read, let me make the story short and
My method of collage involves culling pieces from anywhere and
everywhere in order to do a work. I cut up magazines, books, and
virtually anything I can get my hands on and use it in my work. (You
can get a feel for what I do on my website, or on flickr...if this
helps). I have been working very hard on a huge project...a 150 page
collage story. It has collaged words, and every single page is a
collage spread. There are literally thousands of snips in this book
and it took a 4 year span to complete! My intention was to complete
this, and then send copies of it to a few publishers and see if I could get it published.

And then the whole thing began to unravel. As I have a blog, collageclearinghouse, where I post all kinds of collage related stuff. In the course of the blog, a conversation occurred and copyright was the subject.
BIG Sigh.
I have always felt that I was transforming anything I use into
something new--a new work, and therefore I was clear from issues of
copyright. How could it be illegal to cut out a page from a magazine
I bought, and paste it on a paper? But as the whole subject unfolds,
I find myself questioning the very validity of my work, and in fact
any collage work. I notice that you use images in your work. Are they
all your original images? Do you also cut and paste from various
sources?? I understand that I of course can cut and paste till the
cows come home, as long as I keep these pieces to myself. But, in
this particular case I am talking about a book, getting it published,
and not keeping it secret.

I don't know exactly what I am looking for here! I am so sorry....I
guess I am seeking to find out how you are coping with this issue in
your work? Maybe I am mistaken and you use entirely original imagery,
and therefore, I have some learning to do!! I recognize you are no
lawyer, but there must be some opinions you can share...

In the meantime, thank you for the time you spend on your blog! I
enjoy reading about different art scenarios and it is thankless work
sometimes writing a blog!

I appreciate your time,

Julie S."

And her reply:

Hi Julie,

Thanks so much for reading and enjoying my writing.

As the questions involved, I am not really an expert.. if you talk to a lawyer, she/he will say there are copyright problems. And yet. And yet artists steal all of the time. Even David Bowie. Warhol, absolutely. So there is no straight answer.

I think Warhol won his lawsuit. If you had legal problems, a clever lawyer could site many instances in art which are on your side. I mean, let us look at the history of art here. Let us start with Picasso. Look at his collages and you will see images he did not make, but rather, well, stole. This is the road your lawyer shall go down, if she/he must....

First of all, do you profit from someone else's images? Rather doubtful. That is what they would really go after, your profits. I've never made a dime off collage; even when I sell one, I have put so much more into it.

Perhaps you read the story I posted once on an anonymous call I receieved. A collage of mine was printed in a magazine - it ripped off Warhol's Flowers

The caller was all pissed that I ripped off Warhol! What nerve I had etc.
Well, it was that exact image that Warhol was sued for! He ripped off those flowers from someone else. - Of all artists to attacked on the originality score. The case must be made that you have transformed something adequately enough. this was the case that Andy won time and time again.

Later on I found out that many artists were rejected from this magazine and the caller was probably one.

What about Sherrie Levine shooting all those Walker Evans photographs? What about Mike Bidlo painting Jackson Pollocks? As you can see, this issue is not just about collage. So much made in the past 20 years is singing about Andy in one way or another, artists glory in ripping off whatever they can.

You know, I had an art lawyer on Artstar Radio once. He told me I was crossing all these lines in my work. BUT. Guess who he defended? Negativeland, when they were sued by U2 for using U2's music in one of their pieces. So what goes around come around and in the end, he defended an artists right to splice and dice.

I think you have no problem and should just go for it. If you get sued, you will become a famous artist! Add my two cents to your blog if you like.


Thank you Eva for responding to me! I really enjoy hearing other peoples' perspective. The more it is talked about, the closer we can all come to understanding each other.
I have more to say on this whole copyright thing, but that's for another post!


David Hickman posts new work!

Me liking it. Check it out.

João Colagem

The Yahoo Collage group was discussing João Colagem, a collagist from Brazil, does such beautiful work with figures. I was checking out his very extensive website and was awestruck by some of his unique combinations. Residing now in the Netherlands, he continues to do some very fascinating work. It is so difficult to see things on the net! I wish I could see these in person. As usual. If I was anywhere near the Netherlands, this studio would be on my "to visit" list. The studio shots on his web are really cool. I love to see pix of studios, especially ones from other places! Visit his site for more of this and that.


What is the mechanism of collage?

Max Ernst (1891-1976) - Listonosz Cheval, collage 1932.
"I am tempted to see in collage the exploitation of the chance meeting of two distant realities on an unfamiliar plan [this being quoted as a paraphrase and generalization of Lautreamont's famous phrase: "Beautiful, like the chance meeting of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissecting table"] or, to use a shorter term, the culture of systematic displacement and its effects...A ready-made fixed, once and for all (a canoe) , finding itself suddenly in the presence of another and hardly less absurd reality (a vacuum cleaner), in a place where both of them must feel displaced (a forest), will by this very fact, escape to its naive destination and to its identity: it will pass from its false absolute, through a series of relative values, into a new absolute value, true and poetic, canoe and vacuum cleaner will make love. The mechanism of collage, it seems to me, is revealed by this very simple example. The complete transmutation, followed by a pure act, as that of love, will make itself known naturally every time the conditions are rendered favourable by the given facts: the coupling of two realities, irreconcilable in appearance, upon a plane which apparently does not suit them."
Max Ernst (1936)

Guild of the Black Eagle III — Oct 6

David Hochbaum uses his studio as an alternative gathering place for artists to show their work in NYC. What a great idea! Another example of artists taking art to the streets, taking marketing into their own hands, and getting things done!
Here is some information about his latest event in an excerpt from an email from David:
"I am very happy to announce the third installment of The Guild of The Black Eagle salon exhibition. These shows are a survey of new works by some of the finest fresh talents I find myself surrounded by. About twice a year I clear my studio out to make room to give these people a chance to show their work in a different setting rather than a standard gallery setting in NYC. Its a great opportunity for folks around here to get a look and meet many of that artists in this growing and tight community of talent who are part of the contemporary scene who supports and pushes each other. There are no restrictions to boarders or styles. We have East and west coast and in between. The work is for sale but this is not the motive to the show. We take no commission from the artist which gives the collector a chance to get work for slightly less than normal. So please come out to see this rare and special show."
Guild Of The Black Eagle 3 Sat. October 6th 7 to 11pm
Hochbaum Studio 93 2nd Avenue Btwn.5th and 6th streets buzzer 1 NYC

Here is who we have lined up for this one.

Travis Lindquist
Colin Burns
Jonny Fenix
Steve Ellis
Kevin Willis
R. Nicholas Kuszyk
Eduardo Benedetto
Gabriella Vainsencher
David Stoupakis
Danielle Ezzo
Lincoln Capla
Anthony Zito
Angie Mason
Kirsten Kay Thoen
Jason Griffin
Dave Tree
Goldmine Shithouse
David Tree
Erik Foss
Allison Silva
Alie Ward
Marcus Poston
Ernie Sandidge
Joe Heaps Nelson
Lizzie Liegh
Amy Shawley
Greg Gould
David Hochbaum

1000 Journals Film to Premiere in November!

I have some new information regarding the 1000journals film!
The 1000 journals project involved 1000 blank journals that were sent out into the world to be filled wherever/whenever, and then returned to California, to Someguy, who initiated the project. I was lucky enough to be involved with at least 4 of these journals. They were really fascinating, and before I knew it I was also involved with the 1000journals film. Andrea Kreuzhage directed this documentary on the project, and she traveled all over the world and visited with several people that had particated in the project. I met up with Andrea in NYC and we filmed on the streets in Chelsea. We also visited and filmed at the 9/11 site together. So, I am in the film, but I don't have any idea what it looks like yet!
The film was just completed, and it is set to premier on NOVEMBER 4 at the AFI FEST in California. I am not able to attend, since it the same date as an important family gathering that is already scheduled. BUMMER! But IF you are anywhere near California next month, you should be thinking about buying tickets to go see this film! There should be lots of interesting people in it, lots of interesting ideas and art in it, and lots of inspiration for creative types.
If you are not aware of this project, you can find out more about it here and here.
Congratulations Andrea!

___A place to find all kinds of information about collage.