In The End
16" x 20" Collage on Matboard
Reclaimed packaging and magazine pages
The above piece was completed yesterday. July has been a tough month for me. It took me a while to start something. Not because anything bad happened but because my anxiety and depression have gotten the better of me. Consumed by inertia, I really haven't been doing too much in the way of artwork, or anything else for that matter. But! This new collage has revived me somewhat. Sort of like one of those sponge animals that get soaked in water so they can expand. Does anyone remember those?
I had the idea for a while to try and use some of the leftover packaging materials from the food items that we buy. Every time I toss some cardboard packaging in the recycling bin I kind of wonder about it. Could it be used somehow by me in my art making? (I wonder too about the enormity of the waste that we make as a society, don't get me wrong. I am just saying that I also thought about making something out of this waste.)
I scavenged some packaging and started to experiment a bit with it. There is some criteria for what I can use. The material needs to be varnished (this allows me to wipe the glue off of the finished shape with a damp cloth. The varnish resists the water). I also need to be able to cut the material easily, making cleanish lines. So, the packaging can't be too thick or more than my hands can handle. Lastly, the issue of matching the material to the substrate is important. If the cardboard is too heavy will it not adhere to the matboard? Will the shapes and the board and the glue all flex together once the board is ready for handling and framing? (Remember that these shapes are adhered to matboard which is about 1/8" thickness. I don't want them popping off if I handle the board and bend it a bit.) So far, so good. Everything seems to have passed my initial tests.
Working with letters and writing and graphics was interesting. It was a challenge to try and get words and writing going in a direction that I thought would work. Those things do create a direction much like a line does. Values were a challenge to work with as well. I used the mono function on my camera a lot. I drew on the other guidelines that I normally use with my work: hue relationship, chroma, and value. I also added a few new "rules" to my repertoire. These shapes create a kind of "density" when they get grouped together. Think about a pile of laundry versus a pair of socks. Same thing. So in addition to the other things I look at I also started to examine this newish idea. For me, it really has to do with proportion and use of space. Everyone has their own tolerance for this. (I have seen artists who shove a bunch of elements into one corner of the canvas and try to get the remaining background color to sort of counter balance that mass. I always wonder about this.) I came to the conclusion while working that it's important to develop your own "rules." These should be guidelines that make sense to you and that you think up on your own through working and experience. Whether or not anyone else agrees or gets it, is kind of irrelevant. As long as you can draw on the logic and talk about it out loud, then I think you are on the right track. Anyway.
Let me know what you think about any of this. Thanks again for reading and looking. My work is available on my site now. I have a new "shopping cart" function and secure checkout using PayPal. It can all be found right here. I also added a page about how to buy. If all else fails, send me an email!