Monday, April 28, 2014

Can't Find My Way Home

This mixed-media collage was created as a gift for my son's birthday. It was done on a box framework... the front and all four sides are collaged.  The two focal elements are the vintage photograph of the "scout" which I bought at an antique store, then copied and cut out…. and the vintage key. Other elements include vintage newspaper, typed and handwritten text, postage stamps, direct image transfers and paper ephemera. The entire piece was coated with a thin layer of beeswax.  7" x 7" x 1.75"

     I started working on this piece about three years ago, starting out with just the photographic image and the key. From there, I knew I wanted to use vintage papers as a background, then found the hand-drawn map image in a National Geographic magazine and felt it just belonged to this story somehow. Then I got stuck, set it aside and really couldn't get moving on it until recently.
This time, as I worked, the story began to tell itself and it took on an ecology narrative… about how we modern humans have "mucked" things up in our thirst for money and power. Sub-texts include the theme of being lost in the wilderness, of our polarized society and the things we are not paying attention to as the healthy balance in our precious world slips through our fingers.
The more I look at the finished piece, the more it tells me.
The "Peaceful Valley" brings to mind that mythical place… that perfect Eden, our home… that is lost and gone forever. Meanwhile, we keep striving and dueling it out to achieve and acquire ever more, but at what cost?

As I was finishing the collage, the last task was to punch holes and wire on the key. I had the radio on, listening to old rock and roll, and wondering what the title of this piece was going to be. I was literally holding that old key in my hand as Blind Faith's song, Can't Find My Way Home came on…  "Come down off your throne and leave your body alone. Somebody must change. You are the reason I've been waiting so long. Somebody holds the key",  and BOOM…  I had my title. That song has been a favorite of mine for many, many years and it could not have been more profoundly right for this work.

"Well, I'm near the end and I just ain't got the time. And I'm wasted and I… can't find my way home."

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Collage Cards

Ordinary greeting cards from the supermarket are one of my pet peeves. I wander down that aisle now and then, hoping that somehow things will have changed… but, no. Same old beer and fart jokes… and groaners about the perils of getting old. I might look at a few, but soon I heave a heavy sigh and go home to rummage through my drawers of vintage papers and other ephemera and put something together myself.

The last half of March is birthday-heavy in my family. Here are a few I did recently for a triple-whammy party, the highlight of which was celebrating my dad's 85th!
"The Lovely Island"

"Frog Feet"
… for my Dad, who was a swim teacher/coach for years.
Mini collage inside Dad's card.