“We're all misfits here,” he says, almost proudly. “That's why I started this squat, after all.
For people like us, who don't fit in anywhere else. Halfies and homos and hopeless romantics,
the outcast and outrageous and terminally weird. That's where art comes from, Jimmy, my friend.
From our weirdnesses and our differences, from our manic fixations, our obsessions, our passions.
From all those wild and wacky things that make each of us unique.”
--Terri Windling, Welcome to Bordertown
"There are no extra pieces in the universe.
Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill,
and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle."
-- Deepak Chopra
“We're so quick to cut away pieces of ourselves
to suit a particular relationship, a job, a circle of friends,
incessantly editing who we are until we fit in.”
-- Charles de Lint, Happily Ever After
I haven't made a magazine collage in a while. So ... if you hate them, bear with me. And if you love them, today is your day!
I have been chipping away at this collage for a few weeks. It just kind of lives quietly on a little table by the window, and every now and then I noodle with it, usually while I'm sorting out an idea for something else. A collage-in-progress functions like creative free-time for me, creative recess. It's malleable and changeable and forgiving and ultimately becomes a picture I didn't maybe imagine.
A side-benefit of collage is that it also kind of frees your mind while your hands and eyes are busy searching for just the right piece (kind of like rummaging through a mountain of LEGOs for just the right block or working on a jigsaw puzzle). For me, it's kind of a palate cleanser between other projects. Like doodling.
Anyway, after a few weeks of fiddling, this collage kind of decided it was done, and I'm trying to be a good collage-whisperer who knows when enough is enough and just let it be what it is.
Remember, I am not collage artist by any stretch nor do I profess to be. This is more of a peek into a part of my process than it is any kind of attempt at an actual finished product. I find ideas and inspiration for future faces through this medium, and I feel like some of my unspoken, underground artist's ideas get to drop by and say "hi" and have a voice.
I do think I like a couple of things about this collage, though.
I began this piece with the cascade of falling smiles that flow from the top left corner and filter through the birdcage and out the bottom. They come in all toothy grins and laughing and chatty, and then they go through the cage. It's kind of hard to see it, but there's a bird cage teeming with fading smiles, holding them captive until they're tamed, or quieted, or shut down -- until they're made into less of a smile and more of a sneer. There are still teeth visible, but all the happy is drained out in the cage. And when the cage gets too full and some of the caged un-smiles finally do escape, they are not smiles at all anymore. Just lips. Closed lips saying nothing. (*Your interpretation here!)
I am also pretty crazy about layering on faces -- putting someone else's mouth and another someone else's eyes over a another someone else's face, with someone else's hair or body. So that the eventual collage is a collection of mini-collaged individuals -- hims, hers, boys, girls, pick your mashup -- cut apart and re-made from any number of who's whos into brand new characters who all owe their existence and appearance to any number of others. They're made up of parts of each other.
Also, I seem to use a lot of arms and hands in my collages. I am not sure what that says about me, but they are actively doing stuff all over the place, so that hands and faces tend to dominate a landscape run through by a ribbon of words.
There are lots of words in this piece, but my particular favorite words are shooting from the gun in the lower left corner, just above the chameleon. They say: "The artists will save us. Or at least blow our minds trying."
Yep. We will.