A message from Alexis Anne

Dear Friends,
I hope this finds you all well and enjoying the new year. 

This Saturday at Swarm Gallery in Oakland is the opening reception for Bloom & Gloom, a duo exhibition with my friend Katy Horan and myself. The works I’ve created for this show are all non-figurative, a side of my work that I have always loved personally, but have not exhibited much. 

Other news: studio visits from just last weekend have been posted on Juxtapoz and The Flop Box... Follow those links to check them out. And, on January 30th, keep your eyes peeled for an illustration I made for the New York Times Sunday Magazine On Language column, utilizing football players, of all things. 

Below is the press release for Bloom & Gloom, and a couple images of my new work for the show; hope to see you Saturday!


“Milk Grass”, collage on vintage paper, 14 ½ x 12 in.


Ho Nee Yeath Taw No Row got promoted to collage today. I really was thinking about ways to float his face on top of script. I came up with all these various techniques, but each of them had faults. I ended up printing my own ink drawing on the paper and then working the collage. His face is so busy already with the tattoo, I didn't really feel the need to add too much embellishment.



Ho Nee Yeath Taw No Row

The next thing I need is 2 fine Mohawk Indians. I need them to be somewhat true to what a native American actually looked like. I researched and found information about this fine warrior and Iroquois Sachem. They had fantastic face tattoos and I think I will use these patterns in my upcoming work on this particular vid.
Ho Nee Yeath Taw No Row

Here is his companion, Sa Ga Yeath Qua Pieth Tow, the grandfather of Joseph Brant who is quite a figure in our local history. These 2 prototypes will now go from drawings to collage.
Sa Ga Yeath Qua Pieth Tow


Music to my ears

Anthony has completed the music for my first hidef video project. I am so excited about this and I will try to express it! It's a bizarre thing to have a vision that you make visual by creating an artwork. It's another bizarre thing to have a concept, and have someone else complete your concept in another medium. There is such an inner exhilaration that I feel as I listen to the music that was composed for me for my situation on this occasion.

It's like magic. When the things that spawn in our minds become real. The power of it!!! It's like a rush, like a drug, like endorphin execution overload.

It's like a game of toss. I had the ball and passed it to him. He took it for the play, and sent it back at me.

Go listen here and share this excitement with me!

The next part is the video. Finally the moment i have been waiting for! It's this actual moment in a project that I love the most. It's when something has already taken hold, and you are already into it deep enough that you can't turn back. It's when you can't think about anything else but finishing it, or going back there, into the magical part of your own brain where these things live...even in your sleep. It's when the tingling excitement of your accomplishment is felt in your pores and in your organs and you feel it leaving you in it's own birthing. It's when it is happening that I love creation the most.

Gotta go. You know where. Back there....
I'll be back soon.


The clearinghouse dilemma and Jeff Koons

clearing out the house
A couple of posts ago I brainstormed here on the various aspects of distributing my work.
I still am hammering this in my mind, and I have yet to come to any kind of reasonable conclusion.

I posted about 14 items on etsy last weekend. I found that less than satisfactory! Somehow, just listing stuff up there and hoping someone finds it among thousands of other craftwerks seems silly. I am not into posting favorites, and tooling around in forums, or buying online real estate so my things can be seen. I just hate this mode. It's like art pimping. And besides, I would rather be making that talking about what I have already made.
It's such a battle to find the time to devote to marketing. I am thinking about setting up some kind of loose schedule for myself and trying to follow it. Maybe this will help me achieve those pesky marketing-type goals I hate to deal with. I don't have the time to ponder this too long, I would much rather be creating, as as evidenced by my recent posts showing i am back to work on the table again.

I started a facebook page for myself. Now that was a leap! I always think of these pages as pretentious and arrogant. However, I am hoping to populate the page with scans of art that I am disseminating, upcoming shows, etc. Maybe this way I can steer folks to these artworks I want to distribute.
It's such a crap shoot!

of course, the clearinghouse needs to sport a pic of the infamous dog balloon
Copyright remains a hot topic in art news and I always read articles pertaining to this subject. Meanwhile, speaking of copyright....we have the Jeff Koons debacle. Apparently he seems all balloon dogs and images of such belong to him. Read about it here or here or here....



Looking across the snow drifted fields I saw nitefall. 
A star studded vaulted sky slowly came into focus while sapphire stars fell to the ground.

This began as a quick super loose watercolor. I really didn't like how it turned out painting-wise, since I did it in a rush, without waiting for layers to dry. It sat overnight.
The next day, I spend time painting the tree branches. These are tedious little devils and to make them at all believable, I really have to be in the zone. It sat overnight.
The next day, much to my chagrin, I paste a huge gold foil star in the upper left corner. Horrors! I ruined all the goodness of this piece in one motion. The glue sticks to watercolor, unlike acrylics, and actually will remove paint and alter the colors so removing the star after I cursed at it for an hour left a huge scar in the prominent sky. It sat overnight, but it bothered me all night.
The next day, I find the perfect piece of swirling cardboard (it escaped the recent big destash even tho I have had it for years) which becomes my descending sky. Problem solved! It sits finished. And it no longer bothers me.

great site about Joseph Cornell

Roaming the web this morning, I found a super nice site about that artist we all know and love, Joseph Cornell. There's such a soft spot for him in my heart. I went to a surrealism show at the Met a few years ago and got to see some of his work up close and personal. It's fab stuff!
This site has some really cool videos that show Cornell's work in motion. I loved this, since at exhibits, you sure can't touch anything.

Cassiopeia 1 - Joseph Cornell


the halfway point

looking towards home
Originally uploaded by misphit
This was the halfway point, prior to all the collage stuff.

She pulled the wind from the sky and birthed a forest

The sky was pale and ominous and the sun tried to penetrate. She pulled the wind from the sky and began to birth a forest.

I told myself I could do whatever I wanted on this canvas, since I just did 2 really tedious pieces. The watercolor was done from memory of a scene behind where I work. I have in mind to build up off the paper and try to make the objects appear to come out at you. In this case it's quite literal, as the netting reaches up off the paper and closer to the viewer.


Highly recommended!

Steven Specht here...
I forward here a message that I received from Jonathan Talbot regarding his up-coming workshops. I attended two of these workshops and they were AWESOME! These will be held in his studio in Warwick, NY (in the Catskill region of New York State):

"Four workshop opportunities have just been posted on my website at www.talbot1.com/workshop. Two are collage-focused, one is about image transfer, and one allows each participant to select the medium of his or her choice.

At www.talbot1.com/workshop you will find additional information, links to comments of and works by past workshop participants, and links to both online and mail-in registration forms. You can also call me at 845-258-4620 for answers to your questions or to register by phone.

I hope one of these workshops will fit your schedule.


Jonathan Talbot"


The wings this all that is

It's difficult to see in this scan, but the buildings protrude from the paper. Such a strange color combination in this one. The pink is purposeful, due to the subject nature of the upcoming video work.

Building UP!!

Obsessively I finished up this piece.
For today it's finished, anyhow. I have some doubts about a section of it which I may change, but I figured I would share my thoughts. I need to rest on it and then make decisions.
She hitched a silver sled to the sky
This was a difficult piece for me since I can't find anything in my studio! I was forcing myself to keep it as much "mine" as possible so even my regular ephemera pathways are closed. After sticking that vintage ribbon in the tree, I wanted the girl to appear even closer to you. And the idea of building up off the paper took root.

First the background trees were embroidered with silver thread. The was an excellent effect. I will use it again...It's a bit tedious! Since I felt like I was painting texture in with thread, I kept having to go back over and over to perfect it. 
The girl and sled were next. I really struggled with her. I did about 6 heads on a separate piece of paper with watercolor and then chose the best of the crowd. I have an aversion to doing faces, so even getting one I could use felt like an achievement. I tried blowing her up on a couple of laser prints because I wanted a glossy texture on her, to contrast nicely with the matte watercolor paper in the background. But it looked weird and I ended up going with the original. Scary! I had to touch her up on the white cut edges so she actually stood out from the background more, and I held my breath like I did when I played the flute in school. Damn, it was not the time for an ink blob!
Struggling all the way, like a beginner-clutzy and yet somewhat liberated. I built her body with vintage lace scrap and greeting card foils. I have a love for garter belts and I have wanted to use these little groovy pieces of hardware again. It sure looked like sled hardware to me.
Next, the tree in the background grew some irridescent sequins hanging like large winter ice globes and shining just the right kind of color scheme I was looking for. Karmic collage.  Cool.
I attached a piece of corrugated cardboard to the back of her upper body/head.. This makes her appear to stand out from the paper. The scan is lame for showing this strange effect and the shadow that occurs as you look at this piece from an angle. Sweet.

The part I am not too sure about are the 4 wires that lead from the garter to the tree....I am not sure if you get the idea that she is harnessing energy upwards....It almost looks like she hitched some balloons. I can remove these wires. I thought about having her sled driven by a rusty fox. ...I am trying to force myself to stick to my original mental idea rather than changing my idea for the sake of the art. But that part disturbs me. I may have to ....????
This piece was challenging as hell since I am out of my comfort zone. And rusty to boot!

This piece also feels critical for me. When constrained with less to work with, I chose to build up off the paper. I am loving the idea. I am infatuated with it. The natural progression is for me to do some of my Mohawk valley pieces in this 3d fashion. It seems ideal for buildings to build UP out of the paper, like a popup.
Pressing on in my silver sled....


Jimmy Descant: Severe Re-Constructivist

Vato and Jimm, Denver
I have been looking around the web this morning at some collagists work that I  have not reviewed in awhile. Currently, I am enthralled with the fantastic Tony Fitzpatrick's blog. He has such a lively color palette! His work is so graphic. I love it. The stories he spins on his blog has got me thinking and exploring. I took a look at his link list and found some new artists that I have not heard of. Such as Jimmy Descant. What fab stuff!!!

This work of Jimmy Descant >>...who now lives and creates in Colorado but hes "ALWAYS a New Orleanian.">>is just outstanding. He uses such a crazy myriad of objects and I am so inspired by that. It's collage on steroids!!!
Such Superb work. Extremely detailed and eccentric. Rural. Raw. Beautiful. Inspiring.
Jah, Hepmysef, Hepmemuch (Sioux) 
The idea of an Indian headress made of irons just kicks me. I love this piece. I love it. Very Much. It's a good inspiration for my Mohawk Valley project which has some (mohawk) indian attitude to it.
I just adore his masculine handling of metals. So industrial.
I was loving his artwork and then I read his bio. Now I LOVE his work.
His philosophy speaks to me:
"My work contains nor depicts any form of guns, bullets, or bombs. They are for the peaceful exploration of time, space, ideas, and cultures."
 What a terrific mantra. Imagine the beautiful world that would result should we all follow it.

Deluxe Rocketship: the color usage in this piece is just plain enviable. And it lights up!!! swoon.


In progress....

watercolor: plain
first round of collage: added stencil and vintage ribbon, branches

This work is in S L O W progress. I did the watercolor last week. I am slowly doing a collage. In this piece, I am building up off of the paper and trying to take a more 3d sculptural approach. Take a look at the tree, where I put the ribbon down, and then added pieces of cut branches on top of it, attempting to add bulk to the tree's crown by building upwards.
The silver stencil is simulating wind.

more of an explanation! or confusion!

Wow. I am posting some crazy stuff lately to this blog! And I apologize. 
I need to elaborate on what I am attempting to achieve with a clearing out of works, since yesterdays post was kinda crazy and all over the place.
 I am actually baring my soul and taking you through the thought process. Geez remember, for now, it's all about the process!! I know I could have waited until I hammered all this stuff out in my head, but I think I am trying to explain the thoughts to you and let it unravel publicly. Most blogs, you know, they show their work, maybe tell a little personal ditty about it....and then they move on. It's all been done!! It's starting to feel shallow. I am attempting to raise my own bar, by writing naked posts.

I want to share how an artist feels as they compile a huge quantity of work that they just don't have the time or inclination to market. I am giving you my honest brain stream. Straight up....unedited. Scary.

Steven wrote a comment yesterday on how this all seems quite sad. We artists tend to value our own artistic skill by how many pieces we sell and how much money we make. Or how many solo shows we had. Or what bienelle we participated in. I can understand why he would feel sadness about me taking such little profit.  (I didn't ask him, but he has collected some of my work. Perhaps the sadness is over a loss of value of that work he purchased--it's something I mentioned yesterday in all that crazy banter--but knowing Steven, I doubt that this is his reason) But I personally am not sad about it, in fact I really am excited. I am very excited about sharing. WHY? Because I am a rebel. I hate our commercial culture. I hate the fact that artists seem stuck in the gallery system, and without it we flounder around like lost puppies. I want to break new trail. I have so much to give, it just seems appropriate.
I WANT to give art away! It seems liberating.
But it poses some serious problems, and these are the things I discussed yesterday.

I really want to remove money from the equation.
I want the price to be so low, that money is not the reason why you cannot have this work.
I don't think people should have to be rich to own fine works of art!
I want to give my art to people that will appreciate it and grow/learn/get inspired from it.
These objects do NO ONE any good sitting in a folder in my room for years on end. I want this art to go out into the world and inspire! Money? Is not the object. Sharing? Is. The way to go.
It does seem silly to think that we could just give our art to others and share. Certainly, this is not the way to make a living off of art! (Which, btw, I am not. I work 2 jobs already to support myself)  I am not doing this for money. If it was all about the money, I would have chosen to do something else with my personal time 12 years ago! I do it for Love. I do art because i can't help myself.

I changed my idea on the commentary.
After discussing this at length with an artist friend, I see so many pitfalls on the commentary idea. I don't want an ego-stroking party. I was hoping for helpful commentary, but if I go this route, you as a user and possible customer now have to turn into an expert, in order to supply a useful comment. That seems bogus. We aren't all experts. We all have feelings, that's different than everyone having art commentary!
I was thinking about putting a $25 price tag on the work....and if you want to buy it, you would need to make a comment as to WHY you want this work. Maybe this would weed out the whole expert/ego thing, and leave the ball strictly in the customers' court. Only their feelings would matter, and that's kind of interesting to me. I could send you my work, knowing that you purposefully picked it out
...because it matched your kitchen color scheme
...because the girl in the artwork looks like your sister
...because you understand my message
...because you simply like it
...because ???

I thought about setting up a scenario whereby through your comment,  the most deserved, or the most enthusiastic person would get to own the work. You would have to earn it.
This does seem contest-like. It's almost as tho you would have to convince me you were the one who deserved it the most. I don't like this aspect really, and I am still puzzling over this competitiveness...
This idea is the one I am still ruminating on. 

Other things bothering me?
What if....no one wants the work? (that will be public, and I will look like a failure, or like my work isn't worth anything)
What if...3 people want the work, and I pick someone on the merit of their comment, and the other 2 folks get pissed off?
What if...this idea seriously flops. I will be sad, and stuck figuring out still how to distribute this art.

I want the distribution of this art to be a performance art project in itself. 
Aaah. That's the root of my problem! I want the distribution of the art to also be creative. No wonder I am having such a tough time!!!

Please bear with me.


Turning the Clearinghouse into a Real Clearinghouse

This blog's original goals were:
link sharing
The first reason I started this blog was because I kept finding fascinating webpages about collage and I wanted to keep track of them. I know that we all like surfing, and sharing the things I found seemed like the considerate thing to do. And so Collage Clearinghouse was born. 5 years/682 posts ago.

I am an inquisitive person, and I love conversation. I love learning. I was hoping to start some online dialogue about the Fine Art of Collage, about these artists and pieces that I profiled. I was interested in conversing with others. So we could grow. We all could grow into something even better. Something the world has never seen. Yet.

art sharing
I do a lot of work. I admit that I was also interested in promoting myself. I figured by starting a community of intellectual, like-minded collage artists, I could learn from others and also share my work. It seemed like a great formula!

I considered these original goals as I recently pondered how to disperse 100's of personal collage works.

How can I get this artwork into the hands of others? 
Without making money the objective. Because truly, money ain't everything. Honest.

My first idea was to just give art away. You like it? You can have it. Why not?
This idea has some pitfalls. If I give my art away, this will affect the value of ALL of my work, not just these pieces. I am still an active collagist...and I am still selling work, both online and offline. I don't want to wreak havoc with my own market. Imagine how my friend Janet will feel when she finds out I am giving away pieces almost equal in size and quality to the piece she paid $175 for? It could cause hard feelings. It could also de-value everything I do. Why pay for my work now, when you can wait 10 years till I am sick of storing it and giving it away! My antique dealer fiancé tells me that you set the bar, and then you have to live with it. I don't want people to think my artwork, creativity and time is worth a big zero. Giving it away seems to have inherent issues.
And then there's the shipping! Certainly I can't pay for shipping to give away art. Now that's a serious losing formula.

How about I give away the art? But You pay the shipping?
Well, this does help me a bit! I won't lose cash by being generous.
But it still leaves me with value problems like I mentioned above. My personal market could be seriously affected.

How about Raffles? Contests? 
Nope. I am not into using my time to hold contests or raffles. It's too gimmicky. I usually lose on lottery tickets and raffles.

What if I reduce prices so much that just about anyone could afford my art? 
(Like a half price deal or something?) And you pay the shipping?
Now I feel I am getting somewhere. I would at least be getting some meager compensation for the work, and not losing money to ship it to you. I like this idea. It's like the fashion designers that are signing up with Target and providing the common man with couture design. I would be selling quality art to the common man, affordably.

How about making this process a bit more interesting? Just putting things up for sale is freaking boring. I would like to get more than just money. I am interested in feedback, remember? Dialogue. Sharing.
And not the "it's beautiful, i love it!" kind of dialogue.
Real dialogue. Real Criticism. Honesty. Feelings.
It's more like "Why did you do this piece in duotone colors? I think a complimentary scheme would lend more feeling." or "I just don't get this piece. wtf were you thinking?" or "I loved this from the first time I saw it. But I don't get it."
How can I reap some other benefits from dispersing this artwork...besides just plain old boring cash?

How about I put a super cheap price on the art? AND I put it up for sale to one and all thru this very blog? And you comment about it. Write me a paragraph or two of your personal truth. Tell me WHY you want this piece. Tell me the feelings it invokes. Does it remind you of something, someone? Tell me something I don't already know. Earn it. Earn it by participating in dialogue.
In this case, I would get some money for the art, and therefore I am not just giving it away. It might be more like we are trading art for commentary about the art. I wouldn't lose money for shipping. We all would get the conversation, the criticism, the dialogue. It's like a bonus. We all would benefit, especially if even those that didn't want to purchase the piece participated in the dialogue.

Would this work?
I just don't know. I could spend hours posting pieces and get zero response. Or I might be pleasantly surprised. It's a crap shoot.

Am I dreaming?
Probably. But I really have this goal to disperse 100+ works of art. Cheaply. And Soon.

Am I going to do something like this?
Yes. I really am.

It sure would turn Collage Clearinghouse into a literal Clearinghouse!
Things may change just a bit on this blog. I just have to figure out a way to implement this plan.

Ya got any ideas?
We can start this conversation Right Now.

Now What?

Now what?

As you know, I just went thru a huge cleanout of my ephemera and studio. It was a clean sweep! At first I was gingerly picking up each piece of paper and making that decision...keep or throw away. This was insanely tiresome and if I performed this action for every single piece of paper in my vast collection, I would still be sorting the first box. Well, I had about 10 boxes, and 4 bookshelves...so this process might have ended when I was like maybe 90?
This desk has been moved out. but some of the stuff on it remains...
After the first 2 boxes, I got quicker about it. It began to feel like flipping thru magazines. I tore out/kept a few pages, and the rest of the box got dumped. By the time I got to the 6th box, it got ruthless. A quick glance thru the stuff and in the trash it went. I am certain little precious pieces of paper that I have hoarded for maybe a dozen years went in the trash. If we had the time or notion to look thru what I threw away, we would probably have decided to save 1/3 of it and cried over losing the rest of it! What's done is done! I had to get thru it and by the end I was tired of caring about what to keep. Moving on...

After the huge purge, I found myself left with only 2 boxes of stuff to use for future work. In addition to the meager portions I left myself, there's this finished PILE O' WORK that I have done over the last 12 years. And man, it's a HUGE pile! I have been prolific! I have done a lot of growing and experimenting over these years and it's all there in piles of art, in folders, in portfolios, in books and sketchbooks, it's freakin' everywhere! And I am choking on it.

I tend to be a serious freak about saving my art stuff too which doesn't help the situation. I have sketches I did in my 20's. I have watercolors I did in my 30s. I have collages up the wazoo from my 40's. I used to think I was a really talented person, gifted even, but undiscovered. I imagined the days after my death, collectors wanting all my stuff, the good the bad the ugly. I thought about my kids looking thru these folders and  filing cabinets and having to decide the value, Or what to do with it all...Crazy? Probably. I am my own art hoarder! It probably isn't healthy and I am a dreamer, tee hee...but my new concern is that my art should be shared, viewed, loved. These pieces are living in the land of misphit toys/art, like in the Rudolph story. It's not fair to them. It's not fair to the world!

I don't have the room for all this art. It may be difficult for you to understand. Imagine 40+ framed works of art in various sizes and shapes, some larger than 30 x 20 inches..... Some are from my first solo show. Some are from the second solo show....or from the craft type fairs I tried earlier in my career. There's a bunch of them. I never felt it made sense to UN-frame them. And so, they are in piles...HUGE piles, protected with old sheets and bubble wrap. It's really quite an ugly pile at this point, since the beautiful imagery is completely covered up with packaging materials and hidden from public view. These things take up a large area, and seriously, it's a dead area. I don't go looking thru this stuff, I don't have another show till this spring...and besides, when I do, I want to show newer work, not stuff I did 10 years ago. What a waste of art! To have these things sitting there collecting woodstove dust.

Then there's the pile of work that never got framed!!! Holy shit! Talk about art....there's an AMAZING amount of work that I hold onto that really I need to deal with. It's out of control. And kinda sad really. Sad that they are sitting unloved. Some pieces are not my favorites, or my best work, and may better be described as experiments. Others are treasures that I seriously loved making and even now when I look at them I swoon, however they just escaped framing. Some are just plain old BIG and never made it to be framed. There's a bit of everything. And it's all bothering me....and taking up space. AND not serving any purpose....like changing someone's opinion, or inspiring someone, or simply pleasing someone by hanging on their wall.

a former mess.....I have these "before" pix. I need an "after" pic!
A lot of it is money. $$$. People are broke! We live in America! It's hard to justify spending money on pretty art to hang on a wall when you have a car payment due, a mortgage, out of control credit cards etc...... I personally don't believe MONEY should ever be a reason that we do without beauty, creativity and inspiration. Honest. Money shouldn't matter. But of course, it seems to drive the bus.

What to do. What to do???
I would love to get these little art pieces, my little children, my creative spawn, out into the world and in the hands of those who may appreciate it, or be inspired by it. It's a problem! I have been thinking of creative ways to do this and I have an idea..... and that's for the next post!


Japanese influence

Steven Specht here...
My good friends Anthony Morgan and Lindsay Bretz came up from Pennsylvania to visit for New Year's. One of their goals was to create a couple of collages from some of the materials they collected while on vacation in Japan last year. In fact, Anthony proposed to Lindsay while they were there!!! They will be using collages to create invitations for their wedding in May (cool idea!). Here are the products of Tony and Lindsay's efforts yesterday. I think they did a GREAT job! Enjoy!

Locust hedgerow-Canajoharie, NY

I hate all this text lately on this blog!
We are artists and this text just makes me want to scream. I don't have any collage work yet finished, altho I am in the process of working on a new piece, as I have mentioned previously. Certainly, this mode of operation has slowed down production!!! At least for now, until I figure out where I am headed next.
Meanwhile, until I get something concrete to share visually, feast your eyes on my latest watercolor....which will be the basis of some new collage work, as time permits.
This is the view to the west, from my studio window.

___A place to find all kinds of information about collage.