two collage books

Steven Specht here...

Over the past month, I received two new collage books that are so good, I just had to share information about them on this blog. One of the books is a technical book about various image transfer techniques by my friend and fellow collage artist Jonathan Talbot and Jessica Lawrence. The book can be purchased through Jonathan's website at www.talbot1.com. This book should be useful for any level of collage artist. The second book is written by collage artist Randel Plowman, who curated the Collage Masters book (what a gem!). Randel's new book is a wonderful in that it covers some design basics in the first half of the book and then presents 50 short exercises to stimulate creative thinking as it relates to collage making. It's a GREAT book and I highly recommend it for beginnings and experts alike. I am hoping to use it in the future with my students. The book is published by Lark Crafts. Randel's blog site is listed in the blogs I follow. Enjoy!


2012 NCS Exhibit

Steven Specht here...
The 2012 National Collage Society Annual Juried Exhibition can now be enjoyed on-line at: http://www.nationalcollage.com/2012.html  Enjoy!


lapel pins

Steven Specht here...

I worked a lot this week on school-related stuff and research, so today I wanted to get some work done in my studio space. Per usual, I have multiple project going on and some cleaning and organizing to do. I had no idea I was going to be doing lapel pins today; but it worked out that I pieced these together with the materials that I was getting organized. That's cool! These pieces are approximately 2" x 3" and 1.5" x 2". I made one for my friend Tom Nettle and the other for another friend of mine who, unbeknownst to me,  has the snake as his Asian symbol. Enjoy!

"Livre rouge"

Steve Specht here again...
Here's something a little different. I will be floating this piece with a surrounding mat inside a 16" x 20" frame so that it will have room to "breathe" more. It's made from a vintage French book cover I got in a flea market in Versailles, an antique spur, cut paper and a rhinestone. I will be entering it at this year's Regional Exhibit at the Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts. Enjoy!



Steven Specht here...

Here's another example of how I go about my work (trade secret?). I saw this picture of a nice room that I think I got out of a home decor magazine. I really liked the strong light source from outside and knew that it would lend itself well to one of the things I like to do best.... space-scape backgrounds (I hope it's not getting too predictable). I should have taken a photo before I cut the door and window out for full comparison; but here are three candidate space-scapes I was playing with for the background. To me, one of them is "clearly" works best. Which do you think it is? Enjoy!


National Collage Society postcard show 2012

Steven Specht here...
Every year the National Collage Society sponsors its "Wish You Were Here" postcard show. The show is open to all members (which is always nice) and is not juried. Every submission must be 4" x 6" (the size of a post card) and no deeper than 1/4". This year's award-winning pieces can be viewed at: http://www.nationalcollage.com/exhibitions/12pc.html#   Enjoy!

the question of minimalism

Steven Specht here...

So here's the $64K question for today... "What makes a collage a 'collage'"? Or perhaps for this particular post, the question could be refined as, "Can a very minimal change constitute a 'collage'"? I suppose neither question really "needs" to be answered; but I find them both interesting. Here is a pair of images which prompted me to create this post in the first place. As soon as I saw this vintage image of the guy lifting the dumb-bell, I knew I would be using it for collage material. I've been intrigued lately by the variety and richness of "vintage grays". I was exploring potential placements of some of the other specimens I had lying around and found that this gorilla head looked pretty cool. With the gorilla head placed, I considered the possibilities of inclusion of other elements. But I kept coming back to the simple combination of gray dumb-bell guy with the muted brown (raw umber?) of the skull. I think it has a great aesthetic "as is". And thus the original questions. Does what I am showing here constitute a "collage"? If not, what would you call it? After exploring minimalism painting (a la Brice Marden) and appropriation art (a la Richard Prince), and after some of my own experiences with previous pieces, I'm not too "worried" about the answer. But I do find the questions to be thought-provoking and worth discussion. Any input would be welcome. Enjoy!

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