Saturday, March 16, 2013
I have a stockpile of collages I've made over the years. Thousands of them, dating back to 1997. Jesus. Most of them are in black three-ring binders. The process I went through to make them in every phase is pretty easy to explain. For the ones featured on this post: February 2009, I took lots of photos with a disposable camera of absolute nothingness as I drove around doing my job. Got the photos developed at a Wal-Greens in Hamilton, Ohio. Took the photos home and had a big box of Xeroxes and old books and other pieces of litter and would piece each collage together from whatever was there. I wanted the photos to be the magnet, and all the detritus the steel fragments. I glue-sticked and Scotch-taped each collage together, usually atop the glossy disposable-camera photo, so they are all uniform, 5" X 8". For this suite, I didn't use a black three-ring binder. I bought see-through envelopes and each one is stored in one of those.
No titles. Just images. I was writing a novel as I did these, so I think I was trying to escape the monogamy and monotony of novel-writing with these little short bursts of nothingness and beauty. I was trying to find an aesthetic I can live with. Still am. I'm 48 almost, and every time I try to find beauty in the world I crack up laughing: strangeness and meanness are always what I'm after really because I think beauty and joy are always accompanied by those nasty little henchmen, and if you want beauty and joy without meanness and strangeness I think you're probably not really looking for anything but the arrogance of thinking you know something. In these dumb little collages I find vast amounts of gorgeousness and also a sense of stupidity so deep and wide I can crawl inside it and pretend I'm on a cruise.
In the end I keep making these things because words don't mean enough, and aren't mean enough. Images that just link together because you want them to become symbols of anarchy and insouciance and desperation, all words I love, all meanings I love. I'm returning to these things I made (and still make) because I need to right now. I'm writing more, trying to figure out how to write more. These images allow me to creep out of my hole long enough to be absolute and absolutely dumb. And dumbfounded. I find all the people I want to write about in these images/interregnums. They are all usually lovesick and lonely, exhausted and trying too hard, washing dishes, pumping gas, buying beer... In the end I'm just trying to find who I am too.