ReVision: Zines and Collage (catalog cover 2013 by Katie Blake)
During my internship at Barnard College Library this semester I had the pleasure of working specifically with their zine collection. Jenna Freedman is the guardian angel of this collection and taught me some cataloging to work through (partially) older records as well as renewed my love affair with the world of the handmade book.
Because my background includes both artists books and zines, not to mention collage (I’m writing my thesis on contemporary American collage), Jenna asked if I might like to work on an exhibit of collage in zines
I can tell you it has been a lovely experience to peruse this collection, something I highly recommend to anybody who has the ability to come on in to this library. I wish I had more time to work through all the zines, as this is a treasure trove of collage works alone, not to mention the written importance housed here. Never the less I decided because this is for many zinesters a call to reconsider the zine as a visual object -to title the exhibit ReVision: Zines and Collage. While the examples I have included represent a very very small number, I hope they are as exciting to you as they have been for me when considering collage.
After I tried to build a gif for an internship, I thought it would be fun to create one from collage drafts I had been working on months ago. I had considered this idea last year..actually I was thinking this would be a fun thing to do for any collage artists. After talking with another artist about her collages, something struck me about what she said. She had a hard time with the medium because there were so many options possible; the very thing that I like best about working in collage.
I often take photographs of my collages as I work on drafts of them. I never really thought of using them for any other purpose than to remember what phases of them looked like in case I changed my mind. A gif I think is a fun way to use those ‘throw away’ images for something.
Just made this wee gif today for the Barnard Zine library Collection. It isn’t as small as I wanted but it’s only my second attempt so I might try editing down the pictures to see whether I can make it look more like dancing ..or stomping? One of the librarians here said it looks closer to a sort of tapping. So! give it a shot! Make a gif! Animate a little something in your life.
Untitled-VIII by Shakila, 2011
I do not normally talk up a single collage artist but today while searching for names of female collagers… sigh, she popped up…This previously unknown to me wonder, only known by her first name, Shakila, she is a collage artist from India. Here is a quote describing her approach from News Blaze’s article, “India: Shakila’s Genius on Paper,”: “While her earlier works have been more pastoral in nature, with vibrant images of baskets of vegetables, domestic animals and mud houses, Shakila’s recent creations portray a darker side of life. In ‘Untitled 12′ there are birds soaring towards an unknown destination full of hope, while ‘Untitled 2007′ gives the artist’s take on terror and violence – it shows a man shown selling eggs that are mistaken for bombs.
Some collages also reflect women living in distress and coping with conflict and violence. She says, “I may not read newspapers but I hear about women suffering, being harassed by people. I depict them as women and as mothers.”
Untitled by Shakila, 2010
I am only sorry she is not closer by so I can see these sometime mural sized collages in person. She’s quite a talent and I look forward to watching her work from afar. I can only hope she continues to be encouraged, purchased and supported in her country.
Some articles about her: “Shakila Scissorhands” by Tehelka.com ; “Shakila” by Contemporary Art of Bengal; “Her World, Her Art” by The Telegraph; “Shakila, Queen of Collage” by Baruna Bhattacharji
The Outsider Art Fair is this weekend if you happen to be in New York City-land. The enchanting, clogged city which opens its arms to marginalized many. I adore that.
Outsider Art, Art Brut, Raw Art…once in awhile called Folk Art but that isn’t really what they mean. Built like a typical art show fair is here in NYC; if you’ve never been.. you’ll walk inside a large open building where galleries get a sort of booth, which looks a lot more like a set of walls than the kind you’d see at the State fair. They fill their spaces with works by the likes of new comers, mind blowers and greats like Cornbread Anderson, Della Wells, Martin Ramirez, et al. Sponsored by the lovely advocates like American Folk Art Museum and the American Visionary Art Museum, this is your chance to see the work in person, close up. There are a myriad of reasons why this kind of art is up my alley, not the least of which is the physical reaction to work that I know has been done by that person, mistakes and all. They definitely touched it, worked on it, obsessed over it. There is a tactile quality in this work that is like unconsciously lining your body up to Barnett Newman paintings.
Highly suggest you go if not to the Fair, check out their Program of talks!
Many will be saying this is the 100th year of collage, but they’re leaving out the part where collage has been around significantly longer than Picasso’s debut (and let’s face it because he & Braque did it, the ‘institutions’ agreed it was a legit art). That aside it’s a good year for the re-emergence and development of collage as a recognized art form. Walter Benjamin’s poo-poo of what he considered imitative art (collage) doesn’t hush the dominance of collage within our world culture. Collage is as much a part of the fabric of film and music making as it is with writing, painting and sculpture. Collage is editing a sentence or piecing together research to write a paper or execute a study. Is it any wonder that collage is my passion?
So here’s the latest finds to test your will power, it’s kryptonite to my superwoman attempt at being focused only on school instead of collage. Kolaj Magazine (http://kolajmagazine.com/content/)
If you didn’t also know about it, in the United States we also have a National Collage Society (http://www.nationalcollage.com/) which is a non-profit org meant to forward this art method in the world. Oh but caution: they believe firmly in traditional handmade ie-glue usage so don’t bother if you’re doing digital work or aforementioned film, etc. For those of you who are interested specifically in the traditional hand-cut collage, there is an open call right now! (deadline is Oct 1, 2012) The show is called Collagerie (http://www.facebook.com/Collagerie). I’ve seen images from past exhibits and it looks like a fantastic showcase for this kind of work.
This is one of my artists books, completed my final year of art school in 1997. That year a friend and talented artist, Andrew Melk passed away.
I wrote and illustrated this book while sitting at the kitchen table over the course of a couple of weeks following the loss. I did not edit it or work at straightening anything, it’s just an off the cuff ode to artists inspired by Andy. Below is a hyperlink to that book which I have digitized.
Andy the Artist
I’ve recently taken a class about scholarly publishing in an open access model. Though most would not consider this a scholarly work, it is to me to some degree, so I have decided to share it in its entirety digitally. I only ask that if you copy this or share it that you credit me as it remains my original work. The software I used to turn this pdf into a book (with page turning) is free, called issuu. issuu.com
Cheers and much gratitude to the artists in this world.