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.