Thursday, May 31, 2012


So here's the $64K question for today... "What makes a collage a 'collage'"? Or perhaps for this particular post, the question could be refined as, "Can a very minimal change constitute a 'collage'"? I suppose neither question really "needs" to be answered; but I find them both interesting. Here is a pair of images which prompted me to create this post in the first place. As soon as I saw this vintage image of the guy lifting the dumb-bell, I knew I would be using it for collage material. I've been intrigued lately by the variety and richness of "vintage grays". I was exploring potential placements of some of the other specimens I had lying around and found that this gorilla head looked pretty cool. With the gorilla head placed, I considered the possibilities of inclusion of other elements. But I kept coming back to the simple combination of gray dumb-bell guy with the muted brown (raw umber?) of the skull. I think it has a great aesthetic "as is". And thus the original questions. Does what I am showing here constitute a "collage"? If not, what would you call it? After exploring minimalism painting (a la Brice Marden) and appropriation art (a la Richard Prince), and after some of my own experiences with previous pieces, I'm not too "worried" about the answer. But I do find the questions to be thought-provoking and worth discussion. Any input would be welcome. Enjoy!

Friday, May 25, 2012

inspiration and The Marlboro Man

I have posted something like this before, but the information is certainly worthy of repetition. One of the most common questions people ask of me is "From where do you get your ideas?" (of course, most people place the "from" at the end of the sentence). It's a great question (sometimes I wonder myself). One of the mistaken notions is that ideas somehow come "from within"... that is, somehow from my brain. No doubt my brain plays a role... BUT, creativity needs a "context". This will be a dominant theme in my creativity seminar in the fall. Last night, I spent some time on the back porch looking through some 1950s Life magazines I procured at this week's Farmersville auction. What beautiful specimens of artwork and photography... and text! The magazines provide great sources of images and wonderful inspiration for  ideas. No need to "look inward" for creative inspiration when you can be so stimulated from these external sources. In fact, relying on internal stimulation is probably the least efficient way of generating new ideas. Here are a couple of face images that seem to be stirring up some ideas in my brain. BTW, I recently heard in an online lecture that the early Marlboro advertising campaign included not only a cowboy, but also a couple of other "manly-man" images for the "Marlboro Man". Here's a great example of a non-cowboy Marlboro Man (later the company went exclusively to the cowboy branding... pun intended). Enjoy!

Friday, May 18, 2012

NCS Annual Juried Exhibit - "the numbers"

I typically post photos and fairly brief and "benign" narratives on this blog; whereas my fellow collagista Julie Takacs really "lays it out there" with some of her insightful and disclosive narratives (which I love, by the way). I've decided to post something a little more personal than usual today. Tomorrow I will be delivering my artwork to the Berman Art Museum on the campus of Ursinus College for this year's Annual Juried Exhibition of the National Collage Society. I'm excited about this year's exhibit for a couple of reasons. First of all, I am glad that the NCS has returned to a "live" exhibit this year (for the last two years, the exhibit has been on-line only)-- and I plan to attend the opening reception on July 12th. I'm also excited about this year's exhibit because I'm feeling especially "legit" this year. Let me explain. I have been very fortunate to have experienced the various successes that I have as a collage artist -- and have been grateful for them. My family and friends and colleagues have been very supportive of my creative endeavors. But I think we all have a tendency to "discount" in some ways the successes that we have -- attributing them to "luck" or to family and friends who just want us to feel good. I was really excited when I got my acceptance letter this year, because although this is my fourth time in the NCS Juried Exhibit, I guess after seeing the statistics regarding the NCS exhibit this year, I could no longer attribute my successes to simple luck or "support" from family and friends. This year there were 528 submissions for the exhibit. Of those, only 80 were accepted (about a 15% acceptance rate). My two pieces (limit two per person) were two of the 80 accepted. And the three jurors were very impressive this year as well. I guess I have reason to celebrate (and to keep creating)! The two pieces that were accepted can be seen to the right (the top two of the panel on my blog). BTW, I still very much appreciate your support too. Thank you! Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

more PSY507

Had a great group of students in my Psychology & Visual Arts course this semester. We had our end-of-semester exhibit on May 8th. Here are a couple of collage pieces that I particularly enjoyed. The flag and the strip pieces were done by "Amigo" Bob Gassman. The one with the red fingernail was done by Sarah Garamone. The one with the mauve mat was done by Katrina Burnet. The other photo is our class "portrait". I appreciated the effort put forth by all the students! Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I found this image as I was going through some old files and decided that I would post it. I did this piece probably around 2004 (before I learned the "glueless" technique for collage I now use). The piece was part of a solo exhibit I had at Trattoria Fratelli in Lebanon, PA. It's the first collage I ever sold (for $80). I had heard that a couple from California came in an loved it. They bought it and took it with them that evening. Cool! Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ghose garden and nature works

Here are two more works from a participant (her name is Sudipta Ghose) in Jonathan's workshop at Utica College. The square one is entitled "Happy Garden" and was inspired by her son's news that her garden back in India is growing well as she works here at the college. The rectangular piece is entitled "Nature's Fury". I think both of these pieces are beautiful and am glad that Sudipta was able to join us at the workshop! Enjoy!