Organizing a Mess
A series of collages created with the leftover pages and cuttings from earlier finished work. These collages serve as illustrations for a graphic autobiography published by The Heavy Duty Press.
38 x 26 cm, hand made with X-acto knife and commercially printed paper and assembled with bees’ waxed book binding thread (adhesive free), 2014
Over the past four years or so, I’ve been using a traveling suitcase of materials to work on collages on the road…on vacations, trips to grandma’s, etc.
This project is the result of a sort of epiphany.
The impetus for embarking on this creative journey—puzzling together what was at hand, rather than first paging through books and magazines seeking images to represent a certain mood, color, or theme—has everything to do with a mission I adopted at the end of 2012. Back then, two laps ago, we were wrapped up in the Mayans’ prediction of the end of the world—a prediction based on astronomical measurements.
And then, of course, there were astrological interpretations. This evolved into a general metaphor for “the end of the world as we know it,” and self-awareness questions like, “What is the new world, and what do I, or can I, do to help bring it about?”
One reoccurring thought at that time, as a single member of the human race, and as an artist, was that I have enough stuff. Maybe too much stuff.
I recently read an essay by Liz Cohn titled “Junked Art” (Kolaj Magazine, Issue 11)—something about how hoarders are often artists, and it’s not that they want to accumulate stuff, or have some sort of irrational unwillingness to throw things away; it is that they see value in all the pieces of our past, and somehow these pieces are all part of the grand dream he or she is inspired to create.
In my case, I have decided I have amassed enough stuff, and from this point forward my mission as an artist—if only for the personal challenge—is to organize what I have accumulated in 45 years by turning it all into “art,” and ultimately finish the game of life with nothing. It’s a big goal, but someone’s gotta have it.
Which reminds me:
My dad once asked me, when he noticed I had stuck a postage stamp upside-down on an envelope, why I had to be so “anti-establishment.” I remember I didn’t have an answer for him. I think I do now.
Some of us are here to get the pendulum
swinging back the other direction.
That’s just the way it is.