Hello from Planet Susannia

Collage by Susanna Lakner
Collage is the noble conquest of the irrational, the coupling of two realities, irreconcilable in appearance, upon a plane which apparently does not suit them.
Max Ernst
Was ist eine Collage? Die systematische Ausbeutung des zuffälligen oder künstlich provozierten Zusammentreffens von zwei oder mehr wesensfremden Realitäten auf einer augenscheinlich ungeeignete Ebene.
Max Ernst

Greetings! It's Friday and I am kinda nervous and jumpy today after receiving 3+ feet of snow in 3 days. It's like an infinite canvas, stretching across meadow and forest. I wish I could paint across it all in a large swash.
Fluxus, Dada, these wonderful art movements both played a part in elevating the status and popularity of collage. When first discovering collage over 10 years ago, I fell in love with these European works, and Hannah Hoch was my idol. I came to learn about mailart rather late in the scale of things, and altho I have sent out a few projects and participated in a few mailart calls, I really have not embraced that art scene as much as I could. There are a lot of Fluxus groups and they are constantly posting intellectual works that are stimulating and innovative.
Today I share with you mailart sweetness from across the pond in Germany. I received an email today from Planet Susannia. As soon as I saw the name in the email, I was excited. I have heard of Susanna Lakner in mailart circles and here she was sharing her collage blogs with me. I am tickled to death that she wrote me--honored even.
Of course, there was nothing I could do but share this all with you.
Her first blog, Planet Susannia, is a terrific digital accounting of her mailart correspondence sprinkled with random collage work. I loved looking thru these pages and spent some time peeking around.
I love the spontaneousness of mail art. I fixate and fantasize about the postal workers and their reaction to a breath of fresh art in the mail.

She started a new blog recently...entitled leben-und-kleben.blogspot.com. I am sure this will also become a colorful box of treasures to peer into when in need of a break from daily visual boredom.
Thanks Susanna for the heads up on your blogs! I am sure to stop by now and then to visit.


Kristina Kiselyte

I know. It's been awhile since I posted anyone else's work on this blog. The energy to do so thru these past few months of surgery and healing was just not there. But as I climb back into my busy reality, I find gems along the way that scream out--Share me!
Today I stumbled upon Kristina Kiselyte. She's a collage artist that recently graduated from University of the Arts Camberwell in 2009 (UK).
Truly, I was not looking for collage, but instead for more information on my Lithuanian folk project. Kristina did a small series of interpretation of a fairy tale I am studying. I liked her stuff so much, I probed deeper and found even more delights.

These fascinating letter collages really tripped my trigger. Black and white is so rich. Her work with type is really inspiring.

This wonderful piece, makes me think of the serpent king in the story. I love the portions that are drawn, and then the addition of minimalist collage pieces. Nice.
There really wasn't a lot to see, but the work that I have seen is terrific.
Her website is here but I am following her blog here.


Instruction Manual for Tree Isolation Unit-Animation

I am working on animating the Prediction pieces for a live performance in Philadelphia on April 2. The details are still being worked out for the show, but in the meanwhile, I got to work this weekend, and finished up the first of 6 collage animations.
It's a bizarre process. I scan in the completed work. I open it in Photoshop and use the pen tool to isolate various portions of interest. I save all these as individual .png files. Next, it's off to Flash for animation. I import all the little tidbits and begin mixing them. It's the most fun part of all, watching everything come alive. Finally, I pair up sounds with the objects, and of course now I am usually brimful with the pleasure of creation. You get another dimension of the artwork...Welcome to the inside of my head....



A couple of years ago, I was approached by Cara Benson about participating in a project called Predictions. She invited me to participate a book that would require me to search my soul for feelings about our future here on Planet Earth. I have a deep love for forests, and I see them dwindling and slowly disappearing. I allowed my imagination to go wild on the topic and after much thought, I ended up thinking of a day when trees only appeared in tended gardens. It would be a time where our atmosphere would have degraded to such a degree that perhaps we would even have to contain, and therefore sustain vegetation.
Using collage as my medium, (*of course*) I tackled the subject and came up with 6 different ways of depicting this concept.
I probably posted them here while I was working on them, but here's a reminder of what they looked like.
Liquidation Detector
Liquidation Detector
Mixed Media Collage on L'Anaquarelle
12 x 9
Vintage photo frame, snips from Emigre type catalog promoting the font Puzzler, wrapping paper, rice pasta bag, poster from religious mailer, marbled floral wrap, vintage atlas, instrument keys from vintage instrument catalog Tone Topics Issue 14

Operation Manual for Tree Isolation Unit
Operation Manual for Tree Isolation Unit
12 x 9 on L'Anaquarelle
pen and ink, tissue paper label, Vintage The Vermonter cover, Chinese Calendar box, automotive poster, medical book, popular mechanics cuts, Kirsch drapery brochure

Some time has passed since I did these pieces, and now the book has been published and even reviewed by the Brooklyn Rail.
I can't resist posting an excerpt here>
"If “Global futures cannot be predicted due to three types of indeterminacy—ignorance, surprise and volition,” then it is necessary to begin with hypothetical scenarios. Who better to work with such scenarios than professional visionaries who creatively tinker elusive material into potent realities?...
...We cannot imagine falsely and Julie Sadler imagines images of things like a “Harmonic Human Invasion Instrument” and a “Landscape Containment Unit.” These gorgeously reproduced collages combine vintage instruments with barren trees and wrappers in a meld of alchemical layout. They are blueprints for the fusing of a malleable past into an elastic future."

The book turned out to be quite cool. You can purchase it here.


Sometimes things just don't work out

My mind is hammering the fern blossom story to death. Day and night, asleep and awake, I keep going over papercuts, blacks and whites, oranges and blues, on top of tunnel book techniques. It's consuming me. I have various styles floating in my head, too, which also haunt me and affect the upcoming outcomes. The inspiration keeps pouring in from the beautiful use of photography by David Hochbaum, the fascinating tunnel books of Andrea Dezso, the paper cuts of Hans Christian Anderson, the use of Lithuanian folk art symbols-legends-myths, and of course, my own collage experience. How...how how to meld these influences together, and make them my own. That's the question. That's the goal.
So I vacillate, back and forth lately, between a collage that is more painterly than collagey--unfamiliar and strange-undone, and a collage that is more typical of my former work--comfortable, but clone like. It's a struggle to grow and to find new paths of working. I have found a formula that works, but unfortunately, I tire of it. And also, I have discovered a formula seems to create similar results. I seek growth and a change in perspective. In fits and starts I plod along.
Sometimes things just don't work out on the table and what I come up with bores me and doesn't even come close to the visions dancing in my head. For example, this piece here.

Not all work is a masterpiece (poorly cropped. it didn't deserve another scan!)
Using a family pack chicken meat tray, I made a drawing in the styrofoam with a pen. Then I inked it up with magenta acrylic and used it to create some prints. I am exploring print methods for SUNY Cobleskill (there's an etching press there dying for some use!) and decided to use some of this in my own artwork. The print worked well, altho my drawing really kinda sucked. It was a 2 minute sketch of the view aross the street. I liked the print, and decided to challenge myself to use it in Yet Another Solstice Fern Blossom picture. Unfortunately, I kept trying to cover the printed portion with collage! (In the end, I still put some pink photo blobs on it.) The outcome is pretty lame, barely speaks of the solstice and truly, I don't think it worked out. Not all pieces are the masterpieces. I am hoping all this experimentation will lead to something grand. Meanwhile, I am enjoying the journey.


CLIMATE/GALLERY "Putting It All Together" exhibit

... a couple more to go with the ones below. I apologize to the artists that I am not providing their names. The opening reception was CROWDED and my time was limited. Enjoy!

CLIMATE/GALLERY "Putting It All Together" exhibit

Here are some of my favorites from the exhibit now at the Climate/Gallery in Queens:


I will be following-up on this "teaser" post; but I must say, if you are interested in seeing some wonderful contemporary collage in NYC, visiting the current exhibit "Putting-It-All-Together" at the Climate/Gallery in Queens is a must! What a great group of exquisite collages. Wow! I will share some photos this evening.

___A place to find all kinds of information about collage.