Collages from Poland by Jan Dziaczkowski

There seems to be a little cluster of my past that has come forward in recent days. I have been having moments of personal nostalgia lately and I am reminded of my Grandma, who came to America from Lithuania in her teens. She earned passage on the boat by working as a cook. She said she cooked for Jewish folks...I can remember her most excellent cooking skills and the strange foods I was used to. Borscht, matzo ball soup. In honor of her memory, I bought a box of Matzos from the store the other day and I lavish in familiar taste memories while I close my eyes. Thinking about her and her legacy sent me searching in Baltic regions to learn more about Lithuania.
Strange that during this personal search, I get an email from a collage artist in Poland, Jan Dziaczkowski. He has both a website and a blog where he posts all sorts of fascinating collages and other creative endeavors. These works have a real common sense earthy edge to them. I don't know what it is, but I really enjoy northern European artwork. This collage artwork coming out of Poland is just spectacular.

I also enjoy work that I see in New Porker. (an online pdf art zine, I think it's from Russia) I can't get enough of it today.
This nostalgia is a good thing. It connects me with my past, and perhaps that will help forge what's next in my creative future.


Video Collage

Continuing along with trying out their new ideas about music marketing, Nine Inch Nails has started a film festival on youtube. They are encouraging contributions from their fans to submit interesting and creative videos to accompany their new Ghosts release. Since the music has a CC license, this allows people to go crazy and create all kinds of new visuals. Again, breaking trends and starting a new way of looking at things, NIN has created a small video revolution. I love the idea and I wanna play too!
I have been working on a lot of video these days, hence the lack of multitudinous posts on this blog lately. I am trying to complete a movie I am making using collage works that I have done (that Sharon Springs project still...). It's a major undertaking, involving all of my skills. I have been a computer graphic artist since 1988, and in all that time I am lucky to have learned a bunch of cool programs, such as photoshop, MAX/jitter, Flash, Adobe After Effects, Quicktime...the list goes on and on. I really dig putting them all together for good causes.
I decided to take one of my collage videos and work it to one of the NIN songs on the CD Ghosts. I wanted to participate in this Film Festival of theirs, and thereby support it. You may have already seen the short clip of this particular collage piece that I have animated in this blog post. I had a bunch of extra video clips that were unused, so I did my best to place them to the music. It isn't my Mona Lisa or anything, but I liked the way it turned out. Here's the video I came up with.

Is there a parallel between music and art marketing?

The collage clearinghouse sometimes has to go to other creative realms, such as music in order to understand and grow. I have a rather longwinded tale here, but it does have a point at the end!
The music industry has gone through some major changes in the past couple of years. No one but those with heads in the sand hasn't heard of the Napster phenom. Even more interesting is direction that high profile musicians as Madonna, Radiohead and now Nine Inch Nails have taken. After fulfilling their contracts with major record labels and realizing that change is in the wind, these musicians strike a new path as far as marketing is concerned.

According to wiki, "In October, 2007 Madonna announced her departure from record company Warner Bros. and a new $120 million, 10 year contract with pop concert promoters Live Nation. She will be the founding recording artist for the new music division, Artist Nation, and the deal will consist of albums, tours, merchandise and promotion." She got involved with a new company and is able to make decisions about what she does.

Radiohead released their double CD set In Rainbows as a digital download also in October of 2007 again after finishing up their contracts with recording companies. Users signed up and were given the choice of paying whatever they felt they wanted to. I downloaded CD #1 and then the second CD was sold in a set that was released a couple of months later in a 2 CD set. This revolutionary method of allowing and even encouraging music lovers to download their music has changed the climate of music marketing from here on and I am sure some record company execs don't sleep good. I don't know enough about it to be able to give exact details but Radiohead made a ton of money and are now in control of what they do and are known as trailblazers.
Along came NIN. These guys went over the top and really started putting some nails on the recording industry's coffin. (pardon the pun) They released their latest 4 CD set, Ghosts online, with Trent Reznor himself uploading the first CD of the set to Pirate's Bay. For under $40, this band sent their beautiful music out into the aether and encouraged all to listen. They used the known enemy of recording companies Pirate's Bay to do it. What a statement!
Just WHAT does this have to do with collage at all???

NIN released that last album under a CC license. Yea, that's right, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. That means users can share the music, copy-distribute-display AND perform it. People are also free to remix. Go ahead make some derivative works. In return, users attribute the music to the NIN and agree not to use it for their own commercial purposes. That's only fair, since they were kind enough to give it out basically for free. You can also share this music, build upon it and create something entirely new, as long as you also give your work the same CC license. The stringent rights of a regular copyrighted song seem military in comparison! There's a whole lot of room for creativity built into this CC license, and that equals new paths, more ideas, more thinking, in essence, more creativity.
I wonder how this model would translate into the art world. I know these licenses are available to anyone. As I post my pictures on flickr, I have noticed that the default for copyright is for the normal © copyright rights and in the United States at least, as soon as you have created something it is under your copyright even without deliberate paperwork. Well honestly I don't like these regular rights. They are unclear and leave a lot of room for interpretation, loopholing and shady business. I really want to try to remember from now on to put my works under one of these new CC licenses. If you look on flickr you can see where you can change your images rights. There are several different types, to allow you to adjust the reuse rights as you see fit. It seems like such a better method. I really have to implement them asap.

Red Shepherd 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" — Nick Bantock

But what about the distribution of art? I have a 150 page collaged book that I have no idea how to release. I know that publishers would cringe at the thought of publishing my book, with literally thousands of images that would need to be assessed for copyright infringement. It would be so cumbersome it would prohibit publishing from happening, between the time and money that would be involved. I keep it at home and think about publishing it myself, but 150 page books are a major undertaking. I think about the NIN model. I scan in my book, create a beautiful online E-book, and weave it into the wide web....I also offer a super deluxe-o, animated illustrated hand made version for a nice sum of cash and make a limited number of them. And then I see what happens. It's all so scary for a newbie--giving away your own creative work. NIN, Radiohead, these guys are established names in certain households. They didn't need to find their fans, they already had them. I don't know if I would succeed in the same measure doing this with my artwork. I considered a more famous artist doing this. Most artists are selling art, not books, so maybe this comparison is already warped. But imagine Nick Bantock (a fairly famous collagist/author in recent times) offering a pdf book online. And then offering a finer edition for a cost. Would this work?
Is this model only for those who have already reached their fame? Is this model only for the music industry? Will this marketing model cross over to art? Is there a parallel between music and art marketing?


Mr. Ghost Chairman

Mr. Ghost Chairman
Originally uploaded by misphit
So I went and did it repeat. And this must be Ghost Chairwomans' husband. The Mr.
I was trying to achieve a better feeling of the light and a more obvious ghostly tone in this one. I altered the contrast on the photo before I output, and it really changed the colors I had to use.
If you look up close at this one, the silver glows. The Interference Oxide Green Acrylic (Golden) shines brownish in one plane, and a shimmering green in another almost like a hologram. Makes a great effect in this piece, too bad the scan doesn't really show it.

Ghost Chairwoman

Ghost Chairwoman
Originally uploaded by misphit
I tried something new this time. Well, it isn't new, that's for sure, but it's new to my trickbox. I mixed my background in MAX/Jitter, and then printed it on my really good watercolor paper on my Epson 2200. The paper takes the images so beautifully but I usually am busy making up my own scenery so this was a departure from my norm. The background is composed of a 2 photo mixture. One was a photo of a ceiling with swirling ceiling tile and a light fixture. The other was a shot of an elegant room in the now boarded-up Hotel Adler in Sharon Springs. What struck me the most about this particular image mixture was the crazy magenta that remained on the floor. I hesitated to add the olive at the top, but I decided if I didn't like it, I could do it over differently. I think I may try it again, only with more white-based images to help accentuate the thing that attracted me to it in the first place, that brilliance in the window reflection.


Raoul Hausmann — Photomontage —Collaboration

Looking at some DADA work from our not-so-distant past, I spent some time thinking about the changing context of their ideas. Raoul Hausmann was an artist born in Vienna in 1886, but by the time he was 14 he was a resident of Germany. By 1917, he found himself co-founder of the Berlin DADA movement. He was a buddy of Hannah Hoch...John Heartfield....(Already I need to wonder from the subject and ponder about how utterly powerful it is when artists get together. Imagine getting to hang out with on a daily basis your most favorite inspiring artists. Imagine the rush you would get off of a daily feed of creative and interesting ideas, not to mention the gentle nudge of competition that would edge your work even further to new directions.) Together these famous people started the process that is now my passion. In Wiki, it says that they "pushed the idea of the photographic collage and the use of mass-printed source material by inventing photomontage." I can't say that I am a photomontagist, but I can directly relate to the idea of using the mass printed resources available to me. It was a different time back then, and the idea of using non-traditional methods and materials wasn't exactly popular. (And now it's popular, but illegal!) Photomontage is "when a photographic collage—made by arranging and gluing photographs or other found illustrative material onto a surface—is photographed so that the final image is converted back into a photographic print." This reverse photography idea has been blown far and wide now with computers at our fingertips and digital cameras against our eyeballs. Photomontage is now miles from where it was.
And so is our ability to network and communicate with each other. The idea of hanging out down in my local town with other creative thinkers coming up with new art movements is pretty far-fetched in this rural place I call home. But thru the internet things have changed. It's a new world we are living in and I think it's great. Not only can I have friends in art, they can live all over the world, we can collaborate on projects in new ways and maybe discover something new and share it with each other. I am not sure about starting an art movement...but who knows maybe we are living it and don't know it! We are living in some amazing times. Sometimes it pays to sit back and think about all the good things that are coming our way daily.


My Collage Jumps Thru Hoops

I've been spending more time lately working on the digital end of my Sharon Springs stuff. This little video tidbit is a mix of the scan of my collage piece "NO Longer Hanging From A Chandelier, MAX/MSP video editing, and flash animation. This little piece is not a final. I am still working on it.


The Dusty Loft — Random Doubts and Thoughts

View inside Honey Space, a makeshift gallery in Chelsea, NYC
note: This post contains a margin of sarcasm. If you know me at all, you know it's inevitable for the sarcasm to leak out.
As I consider the whole Dusty Loft concept, I am coming up against some serious roadblocks, mostly from within my own mind. I am pretty certain that I can get the physical portion of things done. I dread the work because my body rebels anymore when I work really hard, but this isnt my stumbling block because along with age comes wisdom, such as the wisdom needed to enlist the aid of others. The real problem lies with the entire "mission" of the project. I want to share art. That seems rather simple. But after that it gets complex really quick.
Why am I doing this? For Money? For prestige? For friends? Because I can? All the above? What's the purpose of it all?
If the gallery is to work, then it has to generate some income, so to some extent exchanging money has to be involved. The lights, insurance, and the meager rent..>these fees will have to be covered. I cant afford to support this space, it needs to support itself. So money is a consideration. How can a gallery make money? HA! I know >>it seems obvious, by selling art. I have some amount of doubt about sustaining a gallery in upstate NY by selling artworks. I hate to be a buzzkill, esp. since it's my buzz I am killing, but I can't say I have much faith in the value of culture here in the Mohawk Valley. In general, people here are lower income folks, farmers, struggling with very high NY taxes and very little to offer in job selection. Money is tight, gas is expensive and art is frivolous. I will have to come up with additional ideas for gallery income. I will say that I still do have some small trite amount of hope that IN TIME, after being exposed to some minute doses of culture, the area would/should/could support a gallery. But there would have to be some serious community involvement...some insane publicity stunts....something would have to draw attention, cuz it feels like people around here would rather watch NASCAR than attend an art viewing!
I read about this gallery in Artkrush, called the Honey Space, where artists basically commandeered an abandoned building in Chelsea. No Windows, No Heat, No Staff, No Rent. They show their work in a very meager setting. And it's working. How cool is that??? So what was I saying about money? Money sucks, and I hate to make it the center of what I am doing. For that matter, I really am an artist, not a gallery owner (yet), and I would prefer to be making art for money, not shmoozing at a gallery for cash. (So here I go in circles with this! This artist is really tortured and conflicted!) The Honey Space gives me hope, hope that in any context, people may come to buy see art, but this does remain to be proven here in the empty corridors of the Erie Canal.
I have a couple of ideas about how to generate cash besides the selling of artworks. I could rent out artist studio space, it's a huge area I am working with. Certainly there are other people interested in spreading out and having a nice place to create? There is also the idea of holding classes or workshops. I am not too keen on this, because I see this getting me further and further away from my own personal goal, which is creating art and sharing it! I could use the space as a coffeeshop type place, where people go to drink coffee in an arty atmosphere. This also takes me far away from the original idea of showing art in the gallery, but maybe adding a secondary purpose to the space would help it generate the cash it would need to survive.
I am not sure where all this is heading. I am worried about putting all kinds of sweat equity into this project and then getting very little out of it, besides a pretty space. I could produce my Mona Lisa in that amount of time! I work full time (still!) , and I am trying to wean myself away from that idea of the 9 - 5 grind. Maybe the gallery can be where I "work" next, but there's a lot of time and space in between Now and Then. And until I do manage to create more time in my personal life, all this gallery prep stuff is competing with my very very Treasured art time. This REALLY worries me, perhaps the most of all. I don't mind putting some art on hold for a few months to prepare the space, but I already am certain that this is a mode I can't keep up for too long, before the artist in me gets pissed off and quits everything in order to get some Art Done! It's all so uncertain. In life there aren't any guarantees and that's making me crazy.


Yellow Sulfur Columniation

Yellow Sulfur Columniation
Originally uploaded by misphit
Decided to sit back and try to do something with this piece that bothered me so much before. It was left hanging in disgust and I was hoping to resurrect it somehow today just for something to do. I was not in the mood for a central composition, I have done to m any of them lately. But this piece was already started and needed completion. I really do enjoy taking glossy photos and mixing them with other textures. The realism of the photo seems to make the color saturation go up.


Call for Korean Ephemera

Decaying Magnesia • 20" x 38" • Mixed Media Collage

I am working on a project about a small decaying town in upstate NY. This town used to be a very popular mineral bath and spa resort during Victorian times. Several of the more historic and interesting buildings have recently been purchased by a Korean company that plans to bring people in for vacations. They want to refurbish the spa and make it a thriving town again. Of course, being Korean, they have different ideas on what the new town will include!
I am working on a second phase of artwork on the town, based on what I envision happening when the construction is over. I would like to include Korean ephemera in my pieces, however I am seriously lacking. I can afford to pay a little bit for the pieces and shipping. Does anyone have any source, any ephemera anything Korean they can share? (receipts, tickets, food labels, packaging, photos, newspapers, calligraphy... anything with Asian type characters on it) Please email me at rustik@mac.com for particulars. I would seriously appreciate it.


Tales of the Forest Book 2 — Free Download

12 Tales of the Forest — Book 2, Julie Sadler

In this post I introduced the 12 Tales of the Forest. It is a project I am working on that has 12 different one page books that combine to equal the 12 Tales of the Forest. I am a bit late on releasing #2, but here it is, the second in the series. These are cool little books. I love the printing on only one side feature!
You can download book #2 here.


Anatomical Collage of Richard Russell

Absolutely stunning work! I was tipped off to this link by Amy Ross, of NatureMorph fame. If Amy Ross is Nature Morph, then Richard Russell is the Body Morph!! He uses a generous portion of anatomical illustrations in his work. It is compelling.

His work is oozing with meaning and texture. His collages have a clean look, and I like the message he implies. He has a website, although it is under construction. I look forward to seeing more from him. Note to self: visit this site again in a couple months!

___A place to find all kinds of information about collage.