Tuesday, June 8, 2010

3SIXTY5 for Sunday, June 6, 2010

This piece is called Starry Night, Notre Dame. It is based on a vintage photo of the Paris cathedral's flying buttresses, but I have been unable to find the attribution. I'm thinking it's by Eugene Atget, but a google images search produced no results. If anyone knows who the photographer is, please leave the information in a comment. I thought the photo adapted wonderfully from a bright day to a starry night.

While working on this little piece, I was listening to a disc of remixes of Enigma's music. I enjoy Enigma a lot, but I was less than impressed with most of what I heard on this CD (which came from the library, not bought, fortunately!) It got me to thinking about my collage work, which uses visual remixing, as in this piece. Like a musical remix, sometimes they come off, sometimes they don't. The successful ones are, I hope, suitable tributes to the original artworks--but never in the same class! Someone asked me recently why I am doing collages when I am capable of doing beautiful original paintings. Well, it has to do with time, really. It takes me for-ev-er to produce a small realist painting. But the query put a finger on a sort of creative dilemma I've always had about collages. Even if you can't draw or paint, you can put together a collage. Without some design skills, it may not be a good collage, but you can still sample images of a skill level far above your own, thus giving your work borrowed glamour. I love doing collages, but sometimes I feel like it's "cheating."  But mostly I figure, why not? Artists have been making collages for as long as there've been materials to assemble. If an image from a Renaissance painting becomes the spark that ignites a new artwork, and the new work has "artistic value" (another sticky, subjective train of thought!), then that seems fine with me. I think the key is to truly make the borrowed material your own, not only via visual manipulation, but also by infusing it with your own spirit and mind. So there's my little manifesto about the art of collage. Thanks for reading, I'd love to hear what you think!

1 comment:

  1. This is a wonderful collage with a lovely, interesting mix of elements. I think a lot about what you wrote about in your post. I do collage. I take elements (many of my own) but also with copy free images from the past, and create new and (hopefully meaningful and beautiful) pieces. I too sometimes feel like I am cheating but collage is an important art form for me and the joy of assemblage stirs my spirit. So enjoyed your inspiring post and art!


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