Sunday, October 6, 2013

reflecting on the beginning

The last few months have been good ones for me in terms of my collage efforts. I just received my "Blurb" book a couple weeks ago; at the same time I had another successful show here in Utica (at The Dev). I also just had another piece accepted into the annual juried show of the NCS. In the summer I was honored to have had one of my collages accepted to appear on the cover of a prestigious neuroscience journal. Yeah, life is good! It's amazing to me though, how it all "comes about" though. In 2008, I had already spent a year "playing" with assemblage and some minor collaging; but I was far from accomplished. I was still spending lots of my time with my academic research and mentoring students as research assistants. Every spring my goal was to take students to The University of Scranton Undergraduate Research Conference for them to present the work they were doing under my tutelage. In 2009, I was encouraging a student to write an abstract and submit it to Scranton. She was dragging her feet. "The abstract has to be done BY FRIDAY" I remember saying. When she didn't get it to me, I asked the folks at Scranton (who I had known for years) if they would still accept a late abstract. They agreed; but my student didn't hand in the abstract again later. I was NOT HAPPY at all, and reluctantly, pulled the plug on taking her to Scranton. I was disappointed, to say the least. It was then that I revisited a webpage I had come across announcing a collage workshop with Jonathan Talbot. I had no idea who "this guy" was (thank god; because if I had, I might have been too intimidated to participate). I called Jonathan and he informed me that there was only one seat left for the workshop. I told him that I was interested. The workshop was wonderful! Learning Jonathan's technique allowed me to focus on the creative aspects of my collaging instead of being bogged down by the mechanics so much. It changed my life... literally. Soon thereafter, I created a collage for a juried regional exhibition at Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts and won the "Solo Exhibition" award. SInce then, I "haven't looked back". And to think that it all started because of a "delinquent" student (at the time I would have very much preferred to go to the Scranton conference). It's interesting (and a bit scary) how that single event (or non-event) changed my life so much. Of course, I was "primed" for all of it to "come together"; but nonetheless, I am thankful that chance and preparation came together in the way they did on that April weekend in 2009. I am thankful to the Dada artists whose works were inspiring me daily at that time; Joseph Cornell for the beautifully inspiring works that he created in his lifetime; Ray Johnson, genius collagist; Jonathan Talbot - artist, musician, teacher, mentor and friend; and the folks at Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts (as well as MANY others now for their support in my artistic efforts)!

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