Monday, February 11, 2013

The evolution of a collage ...

I've been getting requests to document the making of a collage. I find it almost impossible to stop, snap a photo, continue, then, stop, take another photo, continue ... It interrupts the flow of ideas - and once I get into the groove, I forget to stop and take photos. Sometimes, it can take days - if not weeks - before a piece is complete, and I just don't want to bother to record it.  

That said, I gave it a shot with "Meditation," one of the collages in the Pulp Art exhibition at The Carnegie. The top image, was the jumping off point. It's an engraving published in 1888 in Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly, which included images of beautiful women for no reason other than that they were pretty pictures.

I wanted her to be more than eye candy and the title of the piece, "Meditation," gave me the idea of filling her head with some substantial stuff. 

I started by creating a background using the blank side of pages that described some antique engravings in my stash. My thinking was that an uncluttered background would offset the clutter soon to be in her head. Next, off with her hair - and the trees behind her.

Then, I begin playing around with what's going on in her head and with the idea of using the postage zone ruler. A bird lands in the picture, briefly, very briefly. Dozens of pieces of paper, ephemera and even a ceramic watch face went on - and off - during this part of the process. I wasn't happy with it and decided to let it sit for a dew days.


Not satisfied with the way it was going, I started to look around for something that could be streaming from her head, as thoughts might. Voila. I find it via an image in a vintage book of nature prints by Ernst Haeckel. Once the undulating underwater creature's tentacles are cut, it's the perfect vehicle for weaving in text and images.     


The angels wings make one final appearance, before they are ditched. Too cliche. The weaving is done on one of the cutting boards. Not that at this point - center - the top is trimmed. The section that was cut off is added to the right side, creating a nice gap in her thoughts. 


The bird man from early on reappears - and, this time, he stays. He adds a surreal, dreamlike feel. I toy around with putting a new pen in her hand. After cutting out about a dozen and trying them, the idea is ditched. Too distracting.    

At the last minute, flowers are added.  


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