Making Collage Personal

It's been a long tough year for me. In May, my mother passed away from a vicious case of lung cancer. I understand it was a hard thing to avoid the cigarettes. Being a collage artist, I get a chance to peruse paper from different time periods. It's enlightening. The frequency of ciggie ads is amazing. The best pictures of actresses and actors seem to always contain the fashionable cigarette. The pressure to smoke must have been quite great. My Mom was just one of thousands and probably millions of folks sucked into the smoking habit. Getting back on track here though, the whole cancer thing is pretty sobering. You can't exactly get through an experience such as watching your mother dying without some kind of messages, feelings and repercussions. I had to withdraw into myself and feel the experience of loss for awhile. I stopped doing my daily collage work. Instead, I replaced it with lots of thinking, sorting, and learning. I read a couple of art monographs. I searched the web, reported to this blog, and recorded new reflections. It has been about half a year, and now I feel as though maybe I have worked through some of my grief. I am starting to get hungry though. I have been on pause...waiting to push the play button. It isn't like I didn't do ANY art over the past half year, because I have, but just not to the higher level of quality and quantity that I want to achieve. It took awhile, but my emotional well has filled back up and I am ready to tackle some new things. My goal is to get better at infusing that emotion into my pieces. I want to pour it out and smear my attitude on everything I touch. I have always tended to be "just" visual about things. How does it look? I enjoy color, line, and shape. I have explored context and textures...But that last and final ingredient, and probably the most important ingredient, the emotion, the message...that needs some work. I tend to do things and they come out autobiographical. I can't stop that from happening, but the signals in the work that point to the meaning of the piece are so subtle I wonder if someone else can even see them. I even wonder if the signals are even there! You get so one-sighted about your own work sometimes, it is a wonder I feel any piece is valid or complete! So this next phase of collage work that I do will be done with the emphasis on getting that feeling out and making collage personal. Difficult task. I have read that the older the artist gets, the more difficult it gets to achieve. I am trying to pump myself up for this challenge.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your time doing this blog- I look at it every day. Your post here was very heart felt and moving- your sharing is a gift.
I experience many of the things you talk about in this post when it comes to my own collage work.
I LOVE RAY- how cool you got those cards- I have the book Correspondence and love it. Terry Garrett

Donna said...

Julie I enjoy your blog immensely, but I was wondering if you know of an *active and motivated* online group of collage artists that I might join? Is Scrapiteria an open or closed group? If open, do you know how to go about applying? Please don't suggest The International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction. I find with over 1,400 members, the group is less than enthusiastic and supportive. I don't understand why collage groups tend to be so elitist and self-centered...at least the ones I have encountered to date. Thanks Donna

Laura said...

I'm reading your blog because you inspire me with your words and now with you sharing you passed couple of months, I feel with you. And reading about the new direction you want to go it is also inspiring. For what it is worth... I look at alot of other artist works for inspiration, direction and understand of life and one thing I've found out no matter what work I look at that I like and would like to imulate in my own it just never works out the way I want it, so at the beginning of the this passed year, 2007 I decided to accept this is the work that comes from me and embrace it, run with it, play with it and that is way I decided to go big really big and see what will happen. So far it's a freedom thing that's happening.
Peace to you

julie said...

Donna, sorry for the slow response!
I do not know of any active and motivated groups. I wish I could lead you in this direction.
The Scrapiteria folks are active, however they are a closed group, but I believe you can "apply" to join and get involved with them. I was tempted to do this, and started to inquire about it, but my own art obligations (specifically the grant for www.sharonspringdk.com) is keeping me from doing so for now...
You can google the National Collage Society, I know they have exhibits and competitions throughout the year. I don't think this group is very personal tho, and it sounds as though you are looking for something more active and inspiring on a daily basis. Good luck on this quest! If I do find out something of interest I will be certain to post about it!

scrapatorium said...

Hello Julie. I know exactly how you feel since I just lost my father in Sept and my mom has terminal cancer and not long to live. It's so difficult to watch someone you love die and to lose someone forever. It has definitely affected my collage work. I am usually light hearted most of the time, but lately, my work has become very dark. I don't intend for it to be that way. It just happens. I suppose that life's experiences change us and if you do art and art is another extension of yourself, it changes your work too.

As for Scrapiteria, I run that site and am happy to hear from any enthusiastic collagists who want to join. Just email me at scrapatorium@yahoo.com. I hope you join one day too, Julie, when you get the time.

Angelica (aka) Scrapatorium

Coop said...

Hi, I hope that this interests you and you can share it with as many avid artists as possible.

I am attempting to amass a large collection of portraits of Frankenstein's Monster in as many different styles and in as many different media as possible as an ongoing art project. The only stipulation is that the size is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches (standard artist trading card size) and that each card has name, date, location, title and anything else you care to add on the back.

I welcome cards from both amateur and professional artists.

I will be leaving blank cards with instructions and mailing address in galleries, colleges, art shops, on buses, handing them out in the street and wherever else I can think of.

If you think you can spare the time to produce a little something, please send a portrait to:

A Patchwork Of Flesh
45 Silversea Drive
Westcliff on Sea
United Kingdom

Each card I receive will be uploaded at http://apatchworkofflesh.blogspot.com/ to produce an on-line gallery, I then hope to put on an exhibition of these cards in a gallery.

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