The Dusty Loft Gallery Plan — Introduction

This is the entrance for Fort Plain Antiques. You would come in here to visit The Dusty Loft. Note the deco door.

A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to have bestowed upon me the usage of an entire 2nd floor vintage dance studio, right on the main drag at the light in the little town of Fort Plain. It's a beautiful space. Open space, with hardwood floors, full length windows, and super tall warehouse ceilings. It has full length windows, mirrors, and dance barres...truly inspirational. I used it as my art studio for the first year. It was glorious to have such a huge spot to work in! The musical acoustics were excellent and the sound echoed and created a great ambience for creativity. Literally I danced around in happiness over my art freedom. I was isolated and away from everything distracting like TV, the phone, the people.... However it had its problems. Like it's a brick building with no insulation. In the middle days of summer, it was so damned hot up there, I literally would be sitting in a pool of sweat, even at 11:00 at night, just from cutting paper.... So in October of 2006, when the weather started to turn to freezing temps here in upstate NY the studio got really unbearable, the cold hands don't cooperate like warm ones do. I ended up dismantling the studio and I moved my work zone to my apartment. I have not been back to work there. I have used it as a storage place. I go there every so often and wistfully look at everything. I miss it up there. I miss the enthusiasm it gave me.

The view out the front window looking out onto Rte 5s in Fort Plain, NY.
It nags at me. Here's this beautiful area, and I am just letting it sit there and waste unused. Can you imagine what artists in NYC would do with such a space??? Originally I had thought I could do an open studio, and invite the public up on the weekends to view my work. But I was busy getting divorced and personal life just got in the way.

Looking towards the street in the studio. Note the open ceilings

It's been a couple of years, my personal life is calm and peaceful and summer is coming. I am unable to stop thinking about opening up a little gallery/studio in this space. I have a bit of physical work that I would have to do in order to prepare the space for people. The ceiling is open, and on the third floor of this building is a decaying scene of lathe and plaster. Slowly, daily, little pieces of dust come down from the ceiling and land on everything below. Certainly this isn't a proper environment for artwork, mine or others'! (Due to this phenom, I have dubbed the space, The Dusty Loft) The ceiling would need to be closed in. Chris has an ingenious plan for covering it using this thick plastic boat wrap stuff. It wouldn't cost me in materials, but I would have to enlist aid from unsuspecting friends and family. he he he. I would also need a wall built along the stairway. This can also be made of the plastic, and all I need is to salvage a bunch of sturdy 2 x 4's for some framing.

What it looked like in 2006 when I had my studio here at the Loft. Note the stuffed crow.
Once this physical stuff is accomplished, I have this open space, with walls ready to be filled with art. That's it. I have to do it. So this is what I am going to do!
The next couple of months I will be putting up a ceiling and wall. I will also be creating some assemblage partitions using insane pieces of doors and windows and other strange architectural salvage that I have saved over the last 3 years. These partitions will be portable, and will also be Funky. The artwork will hang on the pegboard walls of the gallery, and also on these partitions. The Dusty Loft will have an area to work, sort of a second studio, so I have something to do when the throngs of people are missing. he he he
I will open on Memorial Day and remain open thru Labor Day. I will have the same hours as the antique store below me, (Thurs - Sat) and I myself will be there all day on Saturday. That's a bit of a commitment, since I work Monday - Friday full time already. But I can't think of anything more worthy of my time. IF it manages to catch on, the community is involved, and people are coming to view and/or buy artwork, I will look into funding from grants and such to pay to get a heating system set up. I don't really have to invest much to try this out. I need a mere $50 a month for electric and that's about it, besides the physical setup.
How can I go wrong? (time will tell I suppose!)
There's the Arkell Gallery that just got finished in Canajoharie only 3 miles away. The Picture Perfect Gallery is across the street from Arkell. There are already other reasons for people to come to this area to view artwork. Maybe, just maybe this could work. I am excited to share it all with you.


Asha Zero

Diskette, Acrylic on board

This is a reverse take on collage. Asha Zero creates these luscious collage compositions, and then He Paints Them. Take a closer look at this pic above, and wrap your head around the fact that painting collages requires some serious painting dexterity! From the SAEmerging Arts Blog, "He pieces together various materials and parts from a variety of sources - magazines, newspapers, stickers, posters - to construct ambiguous and considered, layered collages. When he is satisfied with this “layout as sketch,” he goes on to paint a replica of it; quite simply, he copies the collage, but into the most traditional of media."
I know of several artists that follow this same methodology. Amy Ross, Cecil Touchon...
I haven't attempted to ever paint one of my works. The complications of the torn edges vs the straight edges, the textures...I can't imagine being able to do this proficiently. I wonder about the monetary value of the collage that was used for the painting. Is it just a type of "sketch"?
Asha Zero has some really beautiful work. You will have to check it out.


My Work in Somerset

I used to be heavily involved with a little zine called AEZ. It was formed years ago by Melissa McCobb Hubbell, Amy Peacock, and myself. We were (are) members of a group called Art Erratica on yahoo.groups. We started out with a nice little black and white zine. The cover was from some kind of special colored stock, and printed black. We had fun picking out stock, covers, and coming up with fancy mailing options. I did an animated CD for each issue, using colorful digital pictures and flash, to help compensate for the black and white visuals in the zine. We weren't heavy into text, but we were into art. Erratic art to be specific!
After a time, we evolved a bit and began printing full color zines on a laser printer. We got really bizarre with the themes, the art was from even more prominent folks, and the CD's became more and more intense as my skills in flash and dhtml increased. Amy had some personal things closing in on her and she went on to pursue them. Meanwhile, Melissa and I continued the zine for a time more, under the name Erraticus Zine. We did a few more issues, and then I also had my turn with the personal stuff. That left Melissa who still is printing and producing this little zine, now on her own.
She recently did an interview with Somerset about the zine, and last night she let me know that a bunch of my artwork is featured in the current issue! I was psyched to see a few pieces of mine on the Somerset website. It was really a good thing to do the zine. I felt focused, involved, and also overwhelmed! It was a ton of work, even though it was satisfying. We didn't set it up as a money maker, and after awhile devoting so many hours wore me down.
In retrospect, I think I replaced my Erraticus Zine work with this here blog. I still enjoy reading and reporting about good art. I like to be involved with my special niche...and this blog is less work than laying out, printing, and binding a physical product. I miss the feel of the actual product tho. I don't have any cool ornate zines to show for all this writing I do. But I do manage to have some of that time back for myself, for the studio. For the magik making...


Equilibrium Poised in an Epergne

Equilibrium Poised in an Epergne
Originally uploaded by misphit
Yet another piece for the Sharon Springs DK project. The central photo was taken in Sharon Springs. There is a lower bathhouse behind the White Sulphur Spring and it has this terrific green gothic grate in door. The Epergne (a fancy Victorian centerpiece) was in an old and decrepit silverware catalog that has no cover and no back. I really liked it's form. I tried to get a sense of balance in this one, with a ying and a yang side to it as far as dark and light is concerned.

What was going on in my head while creating? The guy is literally bending over backwards to accommodate her. She is accepting but arrogant or cautious. It isn't clear whether the door of communication is open or closed. That's where your own thoughts come in.


Liquidation Detector

Liquidation Detector
Originally uploaded by misphit
Number 6 in the prediction machine series. This one seems to flow.


Painting Studio

I read this post on Artworld Salon and had to do some heavy thinking. The post concerned the fact that there are groups such as the Oil Painting Studio that exist in China that are experts at copying oil paintings. It really didn't hit home how upsetting this could really be until I read this in the comments...

"This Just in from Andrea Claire in New York.

I am a painter but work part-time for a large-ish design firm in NY that specializes in hospitality, casinos, restaurants etc. I was working on a 5 billion (yes, that’s a B) dollar project recently in the office: a casino in Singapore. My firm was contracted to do the interiors. There is an art consultant on the project but as the interior designers we can suggest what we are interested in seeing in the spaces. As an artist I was excited about this, thinking that I could have some input, maybe get some good art in the place. However, what I learned, with a wink and a nod, was that the “art consultant” would be taking the images we suggested and have the work copied by art factories like this one in China, at a fraction of the cost to the client…"

WoW. That opened my eyes. Immediately I thought of the people that are creating DVD's and CD's, our film and musician cousins. They have been facing this same kind of mentality for awhile now in Asia. It's a common thing and something in the news constantly. It really sucks to think that you can spend all sorts of time, energy and creativity coming up with a really interesting oil painting, and someone skilled on the other side of the world can so easily steal your thunder...and in a roundabout way your bucks, too. Paint is paint, and canvas is canvas. If 2 artists are compared, one way to compare them is by their technique. Certainly, techniques can be replicated. So what remains to set the 2 apart? The idea is what will be unique to the individual and that's just the gray area we are always discussing here in the United (Commercial) States.
Makes me think of how collage fits into this paradigm. The myriad of objects and ephemera that are used in a professional or fineart collage are not so easily mirrored and copied. It would be much more difficult task for one to replicate the textures of century old documents, vintage photos, rusted metals, and Spencerian handwriting! I am comforted by this, but not by much. I love to appropriate things, but I really do question myself about how I would feel if a Chinese group copied my work verbatim. I would probably be pissed off.

Unmonumental at the NEW MUSEUM -Thanks to James Kalm

Today I was surfing and reading about various art-video. I learned about many videos that James Kalm has done and posted on youtube. He takes trips via bike (eco!) and visits various exhibits with his own vidcam. I was lucky to stumble upon his video about Unmonumental, the collage exhibit that I mentioned a few days ago here on collage clearinghouse.
He has posted this most excellent little report and although I usually frown upon youtubes in blogs, I found this irresistible! I was wanting to see some of Wangechi Mutu's work, but there was nothing in this video. Still, it's worth a watch.
UPDATE: James Kalm has commented on this post for me and pointed out that there is a huge piece done by Wangechi Mutu that is shown in this video. I can't believe that I missed it! But in my defense, it doesn't look anything like the pieces that I have already seen done by her. Most Excellent! Thanks JK!


Glue and Gouache

Recently I did a post on an email that a fellow collage artist had sent me regarding glues. I also have done a recent post about a collage artist that used gouache to create flowing effects in their collage work.
I wanted to tie the 2 together and write just a little about the combination of glue and gouache. While visiting Matthew Roses's The Whole Truth exhibit in Vermont, I was able to get up close and examine the deep and complex textures that he creates. I wanted to get exact information, and in an email here's what he says regarding his materials:
"I've used a zillion kinds of glue and my favorite was a one liter bottle from BIB / Giotto and distributed by Omycolor. but they changed the formula and when I called them, they denied they did, but it's clearly a different glue with different surface qualities when it dries. The new version is high gloss. I'm scavenging Paris for the old formula now. For gouache, I've used most of everything, but prefer the large one and two-liter bottles from Giotto and Dalbe. The glue I tend to mix with about 1 part hot water with every 3-4 parts glue. Another glue I've used a lot is Sadler (your name!). I used to buy it in tubs of 10 kilos from the BHV in Paris. I no longer use the expensive mediums that dry to an impossibly high end finish because I can't scrap them away as easily or effectively with steel wool. Some of my "paintings" mix layers of gouache and glue then are drenched in water and scraped ... so as to reveal underlying colors. Sometimes I leave the finish flat and matte and other times I'll apply more glue on top to create that cake icing look. "

This texture is really thick and I like it very much. It adds depth and an air of antiquity to his pieces. Visibility of this texture on the web is limited, but in person, the effect is stunning.
There is a wealth of Matthew Rose collage work here and you can also visit his blog here.

Collage from New Zealand

Dale at home in New Zealand

What kind of collage blog does not include Dale Copeland? Dale is a powerhouse artist that resides in New Zealand. She is very involved in her craft and is an inspiration for many artists. Dale has run the Virtual Tart website for Taranaki artists since 1997, and organised Taranaki exhibitions around the world. She also is the curator for the very popular International Collage Exhibition and Exchange. Aside from her active involvement with promotion of artists through the TART site, she is also a prolific and talented collage and assemblage artist.

By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them
mixed media assemblage by Dale Copeland, 1987
Collection of Jerome Leyendecker, USA

Her website is loaded with quality examples of 3d pieces and she recently has updated her collage page. A visit to her site will take some time. There's a lot of work there and the messages are deep.

Moving towards loss of identity
Collage by Dale Copeland 2008



Originally uploaded by misphit
Struggled like crazy with this one. I wanted it to look different and all that. Froze up like a scared rabbit and couldn't do anything for a couple of hours fussing, snarling, and rearranging. Finally decided just to settle down and do whatever it is I wanted to do and to hell with the whole "different' thing. Just do art for me. I was feeling guilty--like I should be doing valentines for my family. That seemed to influence this work.


Amie DICKE: Sensual Sadness

JLo wetT (2003) • Cutout, ink on poster paper
• unframed size ± 39x 27 inches (98 x 68 cm) • Amie Dicke

While looking at the Unmonumental exhibit information, I discovered the work of Dutch artist Amie DICKE. She isn't exactly a collage artist. She is doing the reverse almost, by taking magazine photos and snipping away vast portions of the image. The result is a flowing piece, with smooth flowing lines reminiscent of art nouveau. The contrast between the background white of the paper and the new shapes that Amie brings out is really innovative. I like these...

The piece "Love me Calvin Klein" spilling across the centerfold like that creates some really nice lines. This is one of my faves.


Flowing Collage Pieces by Eva Han

{un moment-} collage_cut+paste_gouache_sur papier noir 29 cm x 21cm(11.4'' x 8.3'')

Today I bring a new discovery to the blogtable. Eva Eun-Sil Han. From her website, "All works feature the element of surprise and unexpected juxtapositions-Working with elements from the tradition of Surrealism- And Old School hand-made collages augmented with drawing and painting techniques." In her series, Cerveau which is featured on her website, she does this beautiful flowing gouache work on her collages and it is captivating. I really love these thought provoking pieces. The effect is a visual energy flow.

{ complice- } collage_cut+paste_acrylic_sur papier 37.7 cm x 28 cm ( 14.8'' x 11'' )

In her gallery Rouge, collages are stained with the brightest of red, creating an unusually high drama impact as in the piece complice, shown above.

사건발생 [事件發生] - happening
collage_gesso_magazine_sur papier
projet pour AAAAA

The Asian type in "happening", show above, lends a different spice to this work. I like her textures, and I really like the flowing gouache. Thumbs Up!


Collage: The Unmonumental Picture

Collage Clearinghouse found out about a really excellent collage exhibit in NYC on the MAO blog. This is a good one. I may have to take the trek on down to the city for this one.
Here's the down-lo from the New Museum site...

Unmonumental” expands on January 16, 2008 with the opening of “Collage: The Unmonumental Picture.” Recent collages by eleven artists, including works made expressly for the exhibition, will be installed on the gallery walls surrounding the sculptures already on view. Using varied strategies and materials, each of the artists in this portion of “Unmonumental” exploits the formal and ideological power of juxtaposing found images to create everything from social and political commentaries to Surrealist fantasies and personal confessions. Collage is a medium that by definition incorporates fragments and deals with opposing tensions, broken images, hidden desires, and collective myths. “The Unmonumental Picture” demonstrates the urgent relevance of collage practice in a contemporary world full of excessive imagery. Participating artists are:

Mark Bradford
Jonathan Hernández
Thomas Hirschhorn
Christian Holstad
Kim Jones
Wangechi Mutu
Henrik Olesen
Martha Rosler
Nancy Spero
John Stezaker
Kelley Walker

“Collage: The Unmonumental Picture” is organized by the New Museum's curatorial team of Richard Flood, Chief Curator; Laura Hoptman, Kraus Family Senior Curator; and Massimiliano Gioni, Director of Special Exhibitions.

A catalog is available for purchase on their site.

New Museum website
Collage: The Unmonumental Picture
New Museum
235 Bowery
New York, NY 10002

Gluing Plastic to Paper

I've spent a lot of time looking at completed collages, however I have not delved into collage construction. I have had people asking me about materials, adhesives...and I figure that it's time I wandered onto this subject.
Since I am no expert by any means, I cannot sit hear and write like I am an authority. There are plenty of places on the web where one can find out about glues, adhesives and their qualities. I won't even attempt to list them all. However, I can tell you how I personally feel about some of the glues that are out there. I am inviting any and all discussion regarding glues and the various techniques of adhesion.
For this post, I am going to copy the contents of a brief email conversation I had with fellow collage artist Marty Gordon.
MG: I am looking for the right glue to adhere plastic to paper. In the past, I've had the plastic peel right off after it dried. I thought I would consult my expert collage connections. Any suggestions?"
CC: HA! (good one!) expert connections! hahahaaaaa
That's a hoot! I am not really expert, but I do have some experience. And I also am not a technophile with this type of thing, I don't manage to retain chemical information of anything of that sort... But still, I appreciate your asking and of course I have an answer for you, actually a couple of choices.

My ultimate glue of choice is Golden Matte Medium. I have used Golden Matte Medium for things like this before and it holds. Liquitex also makes it but it costs more. Both products are comparable.

You basically are looking at a non-porous item adhering to another non-porous item. I have used Yupo as a base (synthetic paper, basically plastic...) and have successfully adhered pretzel bags to it (also non-porous). I had to glob the medium on pretty good and get a nice thick layer. The glue will not be absorbed, so therefore you really need a nice bed of medium because "it" is doing the job of sticking.

After globbing it on, you don't touch it AT ALL if possible. Let that sucker dry, and it might take hour(s) to do so. If your plastic has folds or bends in it this may make things a bit more difficult. I have used all sorts of things to weigh down plastic that is stubborn. Use objects that are heavy and not porous. If you use porous objects for weight, they may stick to any stray medium and cause issues later on when you try to remove them. Once the glue dries, it will hold your object on there. Continually bending or messing with it will allow it to pop off. Still, matte medium has worked the best for me many times in these conditions and even works on objects that you wouldn't think would stick.

Golden Matte Medium isn't cheap. But this stuff is serious. When I use my fingertips to press out air bubbles or to press papers to each other I get it all over my hands. Washing it off is Really Difficult, because water just doesn't automatically absorb it and wash it way. It isn't like Elmers glue to clean up, even on skin! This stuff has staying power. I have faith.

Another alternative I have used successfully is Tacky Glue. Tacky Glueis really thick and gooey and reminds me of Elmers glue when it comes to cleaning it off. It has sticky power, which the Golden Matte Medium does not, so if your object is heavier, you may want to consider Tacky Glue.

Finally, I have to mention the glue stick. I did a project just last night and had to adhere a flexible plastic computer circuit board to paper. I used glue stick, but then again, one of the surfaces was paper(porous).

What do you normally use? I probably will post this a la blog.... No doubt we will gain further feedback."

Thanks for the input. I usually use Mod Podge (gloss) for everything. I rarely use plastic so it's not a problem. Do you have a position or insight on Mod Podge?"
CC: Mod Podge.
That was the stuff I first used years ago.....
I don't like the gloss. That's the first problem. I use antique materials and the gloss bothered me.

I wish I could remember why I stopped using it, to tell you the truth. Oh YEA! I DO remember!!!
When I did pieces with Modpodge, I found they stuck together easily. I was doing journals and collage in books at the time. IF I used Modpodge, I couldn't put another modpodged item against it. They would stick together forever if I closed the book and sometimes it destroyed all the artwork. It would require waxed paper in between the sheets, which was a drag. I was participating in round robins, and other people that used ModPodge didn't protect their pages. A few of my altered book specimens have pages that are permanently stuck because of it...
With matte medium, I never had that problem. Once it dries, it isn't sticky anymore, or at least I haven't experienced a problem with it.

I imagine ModPodge would work fine for a single collage that was not up against another one or in a frame. Moisture in the air seemed to exacerbate this problem. Perhaps the climate where you live is dry .
MG:You are correct about the stickiness. Sometimes I stack my collages (since I work on 20 or more at a time) and sometimes they get stuck together. I can see where that would be a major pain with an altered book project. I like the gloss look. It makes my images pop. Plus I'm a texture guy and I like the way the light picks up the brushstrokes and fingerprints and all.

I really appreciate the input. I think I might try the Golden stuff just to compare (since I never have).

CC: Thanks Marty for inquiring and giving me a chance to share some info...My experiences are only the voice of one, however. Does anyone else have any thoughts about gluing plastic to paper?

Check Marty Gordon out on his site or his blog!


Prediction Enlargement Machine

Prediction Enlargement Machine
Originally uploaded by misphit
The Idea is manifest. The mind takes a snapshot and the idea is sent into the circuitry. The Idea is enlarged through the prediction. The circuitry nurtures the system with the prediction as the idea is brought to reality.


The Lugubrious Game — Dali Collage?

This is a quote from the book Dada, Surrealism and their Heritage (MOMA, 1968) concerning the painting "The Lugubrious Game" by Salvador Dali
"The eclectic Surrealism of Senicitas....led in 1929 to Dali's first mature works, a series of brilliant small pictures whose hallucinatory intensity he was never to surpass. In some of these, The Lugubrious Game, for example, the photographic realism of the painted passages is indistinguishable from those parts of the surface which are actually collage bits of photographs and color engravings. In equating his painting technique with the verisimilitude and surface finish of photography Dali here brought full circle the "perversion" of collage that was initiated by Ernst. Dali maintained the activity of collage, but in disguising even those differentiations of image components still visible in Ernst, he produced, in effect, an anti-collage."
Looking at this piece as best as one can on the internet, I cannot tell what portions of this painting are photo, and which are paint. Is anyone familiar with this piece that can pinpoint this? Dali's masterful painting technique once again has fooled me and I can't tell from lame .jpg files.
Through a Google books search, I found this further quote in Realism, Rationalism, Surrealism: Art Between the Wars, by Briony Fer, David Batchelor, Paul Wood regarding this particular Dali painting.
There is no coherent unity to the figure; it is only the sum of these fragmented parts. But it is not only this figure that is 'dismembered'; in addition to some real elements of collage stuck on to the canvas, the painting as a whole deploys a collage-like technique to assemble fragments and parts."

2 Copyright tidbits

• I need to buy this book. Clarity can only come from increasing my knowledge.
The Copyright Permission and Libel Handbook,by Lloyd J Jassin and Steven C Schechter

LLOYD J. JASSIN is a New York-based publishing and entertainment attorney in private practice and he also was involved with the afore-mentioned book. Here's a link to his document Fair Use in a Nutshell. This was written as a checklist for writers, but for collage artists, similar rules apply. I liked the general advice on this page.

___A place to find all kinds of information about collage.