I collage because I can’t draw and painting takes too long. Plus I think collaging runs in my blood. My mom’s mom, Alice Eichelberger, was a fine artist and art school teacher in DC in the 50’s and 60’s. I remember going to visit and seeing lots of cut up paper in frames. I admired her very simple, bold style. I will have to get some pics to share with you of her mad decorating skills and her art. She was a DAME and an artist in everything she did. I remember her being very opinionated. She loved butter fanatically. I clearly remember her telling me to put more butter on my bread, which I happily obliged. I feel her blood running in my veins.
my beautiful grandma Alice
So anyway, collage. I don’t really remember doing any of it myself till college maybe, but I don’t really remember it if I did. I do however remember being introduced to some of the greatest artists of all time and my favorites were always the collage artists. Like this guy – Tom Wesselmann. I love his work so much, like superlative squared much. Tom liked to use a lot of name brands and food in his work, but I feel like it’s a million times more compelling than Warhol’s soup cans, you know? Anyway, I adore this stuff:
I mean there is appropriated Mondrian and a faucet in there! how cool is this guy! //image credit : wikipedia
Cigarettes, ham n cheese sub and a glass of milk. how much more American can you get. //image credit : Whitney Museum
Love the pear and roses.. and cigarettes.. ( again!) // image credit: NY Times
Another huge early influence on my budding artist psyche was the monumentally talented Robert Rauschenburg. I remember all of us fibers dept girls (SCAD circa 2000) were crazyyyy for him. He was a master of collage , and not just 2 dimensional. His work got really real, really fast. He was the master and originator of RANDOM. God I love him so much. Check it:
So my exposure to these guys was very impactful but I don’t think I really started collaging until I got out of college and was living in a tiny room in Brooklyn. One of the collage experiences that really stands out in my mind from those days is my New York Times Sunday Edition bag series. I would take the sunday paper, cut up the choicest headlines and images, collage them together and then sew the collages into a bag! I was obsessed with making bags, so everything I did involved bags, even when the bags were never meant to be worn. I did this every sunday for months. I still have these in a closet somewhere. They ARE INSANE. I was insane back then so it makes sense. I wish I had some pics handy for you but I don’t.. maybe in a follow up post..
Making all kinds of bags out of laminated paper is what lead me to create the wallets which eventually became a business I still run to this day. The mind reels… 😉