Art Experiments: My non-art art

I’ve realized over the years that the collages I make might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they’ve always been a really good way of working through a lot of the chaos in my head. By kind of shutting my mind off, going on automatic and just letting my hands and my subconscious guide me, I’m able to focus that chaos and show it to myself more clearly so that it can start to make sense. It can be a peek into my darkest fears, or just a way to be creative without worrying about not knowing how to draw something or how to put something into words. The collages I’ve been making these days have been a mix of ones I understand once they have taken shape and ones I might not get for a long time (if ever), but enjoy looking at.

Most of the collages I’m going to share today might be kind of…dark, but they are probably the best ones I’ve created since I started making collages again after years of not feeling able to.

This goes without saying, but I’m still terrible at taking photos and it was really hard take these without massive amounts of glare obscuring the images. Maybe one day I’ll bite the bullet and invest in a scanner or something…anyway, onto my non-art art.

Book of Death

This is one of the few where I actually experimented with collaging onto a canvas. It was really hard to photograph and it looks kind of muddy in this picture because of the way the glare is playing off of the fixative I used to seal the collage. I made this after a day spent watching way too much news. I had to get the darkness out of my head and onto the canvas. Actually, that’s how most of these were created…

Beach Mystery

The only other collage I’ve made so far where I collaged directly onto a canvas. This collage is one of my favourites, with all the women popping up out of nowhere and random hands and arms. It was inspired by Agatha Christie and Edward Gorey. I don’t have any words for this one really, other than I love the way it makes me feel to look at it…

The bus

This one is…a head scratcher, but a fun head scratcher that I really enjoy looking at. I might actually frame this one and put it on my wall, ridiculous as it is.

The Absurdity of War

This collage is the only one I actually properly named after making it. First it was just the images, which are all photos from Life magazine during WWII. It felt like something was missing after I finished the image only version. I’ve been practicing different forms of writing partly to teach myself to stop being such a perfectionist and learn to give up control a bit, such as Dada poetry and the cut-up technique. This collage features a poem written using the cut-up technique that I put together later in the same day. Afterwards I realized it was meant to be part of the collage…

Shocking, unemotional rejection of the elements of time
Efficient, detached, some of the episodes suggest Babel,
There is a daring attempt to engage the exploding capsules.

Celine and Kafka, Medusa’s face, we find that the image is out own.
The effect is hypnotic…we are compelled to listen.
It is a style made small, deceptively plain,
So scorchingly personal that it is unique.
Vignette after vignette stays in the memory.

Reminiscent of the painting of Bosch
powerful and profoundly disturbing
Lucid as a gem, wholly in command
Gratuitous in its brutality.
Yet this is where its particular
power lies, coiled to strike like the serpent

Scene illuminates adjacent scene;
By the savage purity.

The Absurdity of War II

Wow, this one could really do with a proper photographer taking a crack at it, or a scanner, it looks blurry as hell. The only writing on it says “And that her only child was living.” A kind of a sister collage to the original Absurdity of War, this one also contains images from WWII era Life magazines (no worries by the way, no original magazines were harmed in the making of these collages!). I’ve realized that when it feels like the present is echoing the past in such a terrifying way, this is the kind of “art” I create as a way of coping.

I watched a documentary awhile ago on the Dadaist and Surrealist art movements called Europe After the Rain: Dada and Surrealism (which can be found on YouTube as of the time of writing) and a quote from it really spoke to me and was part of what made me jump headfirst into experimenting with art and writing again as a way to try and channel the way I’ve been feeling:

“Dada thrives on contradictions, its creative and destructive. Dada denounces the world and wishes to save it.”

I don’t know if I’ll share more of my “art experiments” (as I’ve been calling these collages and the more recent writing misadventures), because I don’t know if anyone would be interested and I’m no longer used to sharing this kind of stuff…it feels so oddly personal, like letting someone take a glimpse into my mind, my heart, or my soul. At the same time, it might just push me to keep creating, keep improving, and keep puzzling all of this weirdness out…

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