Monday, July 07, 2008

Progress / Regress

Hello again, hope everyone had a nice Fourth of July. I shot the neighborhood up real good, haha.

Thought I'd toss up a few collages here that are "in progress" -- and if anyone cares to comment, please do so. The two images above are two options I'm looking at for one piece. Started with the Spider and thought it looked cool with the jaw (Tom Cruise, BTW)... then I stumbled across the weird mask which happened to fit nicely right on top... so I can't decide which I like more. Actually I'm sort of sick of both of them I guess. The spider is more contrived, but the mask is more obvious. Hmmn.

I thought this turned out okay. Wish I could have included all the legs and feet of the people, but they were covered with magazine text. Still, I like the colors and I suppose I'd call this one "done".

Dunno about this one. Always trying make stuff that looks "spontaneous" but it still always ends up looking calculated. And the whole rainbow/prism thing is way played out... I love it, and it adds a nice touch of color to images, but it's an easy crutch and every artist and their brother is using it -- one look at Fecal Face and the like and I swear I'll never use fucking rainbows again... and yet...

This I call "Bouncing Rainbow". Very clever, I know. This is more or less done, though I'm always tempted to keep fucking with the picture... thought about painting a big crack in the earth where the rainbow hits the ground, but I worried I would just screw it up. I guess I tend to rationalize on the side of economy, if only so I don't make mistakes.

This I'd call done, too... though again, I could easily add more to it -- perhaps a rainbow? Ha! No, seriously, it crossed my mind.

This is silly, but I kinda liked it.

Two more for now, and that's it. Thanks for looking, fellas.


Luke Pski said...

The two on top don't do anything for me, but beginning with the 'played out' ( I hear you about fecalface. I still look at that site all the time though..) one on down, until the last, which lacks that jarring, arresting feel that comes with seeing things that are not supposed to go together but somehow do, I really like all of them.
The first 'rainbow' one, the moon/triangle and the two
portrait type ones are my faves. I think the first rainbow one beats them out though..
I think that element of spontaneity is important for this kind of collage, but luckily, you don't have to work too hard it ( yeah, I know) because it seems to me that when you get that alchemy from two or more unlike images together, the effect on the viewer is an unexpected one, regardless of how long you work on getting the composition how you like it.
I could really see a lot of these as book covers. I could see a book of these, even.Maybe do a pdf book if you don't want to get them printed.
Do you do any digital collage? - I've used a Wacom to mess around with collage, and it's like magic.
Are you a fan of the Guided By Voices guy? That book from fanta might be interesting.
Haven't seen the book, but the "band" Black Dice put together a collage book that PictureBox put out.
I have a couple of their "songs" ,which I think are okay if you can mentally seperate it from visions of Williamsburg 20 nothings in neon and instead as some kind of soundtrack, but I'm a little weary of that kind of PaperRad type collage.It just seems too easy. Do you have any opinion on the matter?
But yeah, thanks for the post. It's exactly why I wanted you to get involved here.
Oh, I'm also back online, so I'm gonna get to work revitalizing my own blog(s), finishing up my EBD banner and figuring out the code to get yours, Fufus' Seans' and my banners up.

MD Encolpius said...

By far the two I like he most are the pyramid and the moonscape and the guy with the horns. Great stuff. Reminds me somewhat of Baron Munchausen (movie), they have that cool dark surreal quality. And a great sense of space.

Turok Reader said...

these are quite good. They look very satisfying to put together. I think the first two rather than be compared should be two parts of the same thing you dig? The moon one is good too.

Aeron said...

Lots of intriguing imagery, I enjoy the nude bodies / meat one the most. I think with a lot of these the best ones can come from pure accident, so the more of these you do the better you'll be able to extract the bad ones and keep the good ones. You should consider manipulating the rainbow colors in photoshop to alter the colors into a monochromatic or 3 color scheme that might be more unique. You might also drop the opacity so they sort of ghost through everything in a more realistic manner?

zeke said...

I like the 'silly' one and the horned one best, maybe you could take the idea of the silly one further in a cubist style and really mash up faces?

Jeffrey Meyer said...

Hey guys, thanks a lot for the comments.


Luke: I haven't done any digital collage, but I have scanned some collages and then just manipulated them to death in Photoshop, etc. An example here:

At that point I no longer consider it a collage and simply call it a digital image. I'm so ignorant of computers I really wouldn't know how to make a digital collage... although I do use Photoshop to combine finished pics that are too big for my scanner. Heck, I just used a tablet for the first time at a friend's house the other night -- not at all what I expected, like learning how to write and draw all over again. I think I'm strictly an "analogue" guy for the long haul.

I have considered printing a little book of my best collage work, and I actually think they're better seen in groups like that (and I am a comics guy, too, after all, so I'm always fascinated by sequences, blah blah blah)... just a matter of money and inclination, though, I guess. My goal right now is getting this stuff in galleries - and hopefully sold. Do you think a little book would help or is that too naive a form of self-promotion? I'm moving to Portland in a month or so and am really gonna try to push myself in people's faces and get my work shown. Not that it deserves it necessarily, but I see so much mediocre, samey shit out there that *sells* so I assume there *must* be someone interested in buying some of these pieces. I mean, I'm not asking outrageous prices on my website, am I? I just need to start making some scratch from this stuff or call it a day - I've been doing this for way too long now with nothing to show for it.

Speaking of money - I have seen Robert Pollard's stuff. I like it, but feel it's not all that remarkable. Certainly not worth the 3-5 GRAND (!!!) I've seen it selling for. I mean, that's ridiculous, and I can only assume it's because of his status as a rock star.

I've also seen the Black Dice guy's stuff, and like it quite a bit more... didn't know Picture Box put out a book of that, I'll have to check it out.

But yeah, I have problems with the whole "easy" aspect of a lot of collage - on the one hand, it's easy to "shock" the viewer by juxtoposition, on the other hand, that's sort of the nature of collage. I suppose I try to make most of my work look like it "belongs" together aesthetically, even if you know, logically, the different sources - if that makes sense. I am just about thoroughly tired of using pop culture in collage, though (even though I'm entirely guilty of it myself: Mickey Mouse, etc.) - and even someone as skilled as Winston Smith I just find totally rote and boring.

Obviously I don't feel I have anywhere near my own voice yet - and I wonder if collage could ever lend itself to that notion, though? I grew up with the abstract-expressionists and minimalists (I know, just about the most hated art movements of all time) so I always find myself looking for very simple but powerful ways of communicating: one or two basic shapes, one or two colors up against each other, etc. like these:

I dunno, maybe I'm going about this the wrong way. I've got some big, more complex pieces planned that involve no imagery other than lines and shapes and colors - sort of like hard-edged color-field painting, but with collage. We'll see.

Think I'll try to gather together a list of my favorite collage artists and make a post about it - does that sound cool to anyone?


Aeron: Absolutely right about "accidents" and letting the work sort itself out. Unfortunately that means I have about two dozen legal-sized boxes of source material that I am perpetually rooting through trying to find interesting connections, etc. - which just means a lot of trial and error and a lot of time sitting at my desk shuffling papers. I'd say for every piece I put online at my site, I throw away about ten others.

What did you mean by this:

"You might also drop the opacity so they sort of ghost through everything in a more realistic manner?"

Aeron said...

Ah, sorry Jeffrey, that's photoshop mumbo jumbo talk, hahah. In photoshop there's an option to shift the opacity of an image or selected area of an image to make it become more translucent, or ghost like, so you can see the layer underneath. With a rainbow that effect could be useful to imply a more realistic effect in the surrounding areas.

6 years ago I never would have guessed I'd begin devoting as much time to collages as I do now. And while the mixing and matching of real world cut out imagery can go fast, the digital stuff can be very VERY time consuming. The digital collage portrait I did of Max Ernst for Craig Yoe's Arf Forum took me at least 300 hours!

Luke Pski said...

YOu should totally be able to get this stuff into galleries.I think you could charge more for them. I'd charge at least 2-300 for slightly larger ones, 100 for the small ones.
I hear you about shoving it in peoples' faces.I'm almost there myself. It's not that I think my stuff is great, but compared to a lot of the crap on display out there, yeah..

I think a booklet can't hurt. I'd love to have a collection of your best, but I could see a book that has some kind of conceptual aspect, wether it be some kind of narrative, using text, etc.. Even if it's some kind of thematic thread, where you pull quotes from various sources that illustrate the theme.

Portland, from what I know of it, has tons of small galleries and people putting on group shows all the time. I know that FLOATING WORLD comics/art group puts on stuff. That might be something to look into.

-I'd love to see the 'favorite collagist' post.

-Do you have any interest in combining drawing with collage? I love Arturo Hererra's work. He doesn't use photos, but he does all kinds of drawings and cuts them up. It just seems like a shame to not use your great drawing skillz.

Luke Pski said...

-As far as the "shock" type collage, I think you're right; It might just be the nature of collage.If there isn't that jarring juxtaposition, I don't see why you wouldn't just paint or draw it.
But I don't think there's anything wrong with just going for certain sensations, even if you have no idea what it might be before it's put together.
These are issues I toss around all the time - I might come out on the other side tomorrow.

Jeffrey Meyer said...

Luke, I wasn't familiar wirth Herrera's stuff; what I've just googled looks interesting, though.

Yeah, mixing drawing and collage can really be interesting. It certainly complicates things, though - for me at least. It's tough to pull off. I think Wangechi Mutu does it extraordinarily well.