Debbie Downer & The Optimists

Embracing the Post-consumer Age

I remain sanguine, in spite of all the reasons we have to feel bad about what we have done to the precious ecosystems on our planet. Once a person becomes aware of the problems we have created, it is easy to be sad. Of all the global tragedies, it is the creation and accumulation of garbage that weighs heaviest on my heart. Through collage, I am able to channel that negative energy into something positive. The quiet act of sifting through dismissed paper pages from our printed past and rearranging them as art for the future calms my mind and warms my spirit.

In December 2012, I adopted a new goal for my life as an artist: I intend to clean up my own mess; I want to finish life with nothing. I am inspired by anti-consumerism. At middle-life, I am no longer on a quest to obtain more collage material (or anything for that matter), but rather have resolved to make use and get rid of what I have accumulated up until now.

Drawing from a limited library of commercially printed paper pre-dating the Information Age, I work patiently to create aesthetically balanced compositions. The work is driven by physical and contemplative free association of visual elements, which taps into the subconscious, and resolves as hand-made surrealistic photomontages. I generally work on several related collages at once, and ultimately arrange them in a sequence telling a story open for interpretation.

The collages you see on this site are scans of hand-made physical objects. The opportunity to freely share arrangements of printed physical matter from centuries past in this new virtual world is fascinating. Through collage, we can distill the physical visual language from the Industrial Age for the illuminated screens of the Information Age—for today’s audience, and for future generations, equally and apparently eternally, all around the world. This free, 24/7/365 global sharing of art and information is unprecedented in human history; we are evolving in a new and exciting way.

I have found when I listen to the holy and creative spirit, I can be optimistic about the future. No doubt we are in a mess, but we can get through this, as we begin to value and respect creativity, self-control, and sharing, and put the quest for material gain behind us. It is already beginning to happen.


Wikipedia defines Post-consumerism differently than Tiffany Gohlar in the description of her book, Post-Consumerism. Ms. Gohlar’s use of the term is in reference to the materials she employs in her artwork (by-products of our consumerist culture). Here, the term is used in reference to an era we are fast approaching, wherein we may begin to slow down consumerism in order to live sustainably and peacefully on this planet, our Mother, in the future.