Title: New York Then and Now; Size: 4″ x 6″; Book and magazine cuttings
Source material for collage is abundant in both digital and analog format. I work exclusively with old fashioned paper, scissors and glue because I enjoy the tactile qualities of everything about paper-folding, cutting, glueing. Most of my images in the past were culled from old books and I have the blessing and the curse of living near The Strand bookstore in NYC which has been around for many years and sells both new and used and rare volumes. Of course I gravitate to their outside racks of one, two, and five dollar books. They are in absolutely no order and that makes the hunt more exciting.
Lately, however, I have been also using some magazine images since there are current images regarding issues of the day such as climate change, immigration, etc. This past year has made me venture into some political commentary with my work which I had not previously done.
But I digress. Inexpensive books not only provide images but will sometimes ignite a spark of inspiration for a single work or even an entire series. For example, I found a Dover copyright free publication with images of the facades of cast iron buildings of old New York. By tearing, cutting and coloring the images I have been able to make many collages both on paper and on canvas. Currently I am cutting out the windows to allow other collage elements to show through. This simple idea gave way to a whole new set of collages.
Most of the windows, pillars and old New York street scene in this small collage were taken from this Dover publication. Mixed with a few contemporary magazine pieces for interest and a focal point of a face makes it a resolved piece of work. Notice also how depth perception is manipulated by the small scale buildings, people and carriages in the center. Anything is possible with collage.