Sunday, December 5, 2021


Well... I'm always a bit hesitant about posting any "teasers" for up-coming pieces; but I really like the way some of these "sketches" started to emerge in the studio last night... so I'm posting. Stay tuned...

Friday, December 3, 2021

Anthony Morgan (toenyunknown), "Say His Name: Robert McDaniels 04.13.1937"

I've written about my good friend and fellow collagist a number of times on this blog as we have done a number of collaborative projects, and have exhibited together over the years. This post is all about him though. He did this very compelling piece recently, inspired by the Black Live Matter movement. He recently showed this work at Dirty Frank's in Philadelphia, and not only did it win "Runner-Up" in the show, but he got a wonderful write-up as well. Congratulations @tonyunknown

Sunday, November 28, 2021

finally a breakthrough

The summer of 2021 was one of the worst summers I have had in my life, for a number of reasons, upon which I don't need to elaborate too much. I take golf too seriously, and was having a bad season. Trying to remedy my golf game was taking up too much of my free time. In addition, for a number of reasons, I was experiencing a very serious "imposter syndrome" perspective about my music playing. Add those things to the continued stress that we're all experiencing as the pandemic keeps grinding on, and to my continued grief for my sister Kathy and my "baby girl" Frida (my dog who died one month after my younger sister), and it adds-up to Steve being in a hell of a funk for months. But I feel like I am finally "coming out of it"; and so, have been playing music a little bit and trying to get back into the studio to create some collage works. Of course, this semester has been a challenging one, since I am teaching two writing-intensive courses as well. BUT, this Thanksgiving weekend has allowed me a little bit of time to spend in the studio. With all that being said, I think I made a breakthrough this weekend! This piece is entitled "Certified Mary" (5" x 7"). It's a bit different than my usual style, and that's okay. If you have followed me at all over the years, you know that I am intrigued by thinking about the real life characters that I "meet" through my use of yearbooks or photos. The primary element in this piece is from an oversized diploma from Paradise Township in Pennsylvania (no doubt got this from the Farmersville auction). The transfer molecule came out well, in terms of the underlying patina of the diploma (the original paper was WAY too bright to be used as a regular element). I'm not "wow-ed" by this piece as the creator... but I feel very good about being bake to creating!

Sunday, September 5, 2021

composition and eye movements

Here's a REALLY good example of how integral psychology and neuroscience are to art perception. Viewers do not just "randomly" look at artwork -- eye movements are "controlled" by compositional elements.

detail decisions

While I was culling some of my recent photographs, I came across these variations and thought it might be interesting to post them. After finishing the primary composition for this collage, I contemplated placing the word "IF" as an additional element. I don't usually use much text in my compositions, but this piece was my half of a collage project for which my friend and fellow collage artist Anthony Morgan and I used only images from a single issue of LIFE magazine. I thought the "IF" from "LIFE" might be a nice addition. Even with this small component (detail) of the larger composition, there were variations to be considered. I ultimately decided to make the upper case "I" into a lower case "i" by adding a small red "dash". BTW, I have submitted this piece for this year's National Collage Society juried exhibit (wish me luck!)

Sunday, August 29, 2021

container decoration

 A friend of mine bought a "tobacco container" called a dugout, and wanted me to decorate it. The first two images are the finished product. The others are some intermediates that I was considering. Funny how it works... I was seconds away from adhering the brain imagery, when I looked on the table and saw the flower element. When I placed it on the piece, I immediately changed my mind and went with the flower. Emergent properties! I have a forthcoming article in Kolaj magazine related to that concept.


Thursday, August 12, 2021

Collagist dilemma

I have a bit of a dilemma that I think some fellow collagists might appreciate. And perhaps "dilemma" is too strong of a word (I wish all my problems were this trivial, after all). I have a group of elements that I got years ago that are basically images of Vargas-type pin-up girls (I think "women" would be the better term). They are beautiful -- and larger than a typical magazine page (they are 9" x 12"). On the back of each page is a smaller, black-and-white version of the image along with information about the image. Here's the "dilemma". I have become interested in using the smaller (2.5 x 3.5"), black-and-white version of this particular element because it would fit perfectly into a background substrate I have found. The problem is that -- as an analog collagist -- if I use that image, I basically destroy the larger colored image. I am a "religious" analog collagist (self-imposed, arbitrary restriction, of course), so I won't photocopy the image for use (I know, it's somewhat silly, but I am dedicated to using only original elements). I'm explicitly not looking for any advise, but thought I would post as a point of interest, in terms of my creative process, perhaps ;-)