When I set up at the Santa Fe Railyard Artisans Market on Sundays, I put up displays to show the items I am selling – greeting cards that are printed with my collage designs, posters, giclée prints, and some original collages as well. The last thing I set up is my portable easel with the current piece that I am working on. My booth is near the entrance of the Market, and often the first thing that visitors see. They love to see me cutting and pasting on my latest project and they ask questions about my process. They marvel at the scrap-happy mess I make as bits and pieces go flying into the air and all over my rug. They wonder where I get my source material and I hold up handfuls of pages torn from mail-order catalogs.
One of the most frequent questions I am asked as I work on my collage, is almost always phrased with some hesitation. “Um,” my visitor asks, “Do you know, like, do you have some idea, some concept let’s say, of where you are going with this?” I laugh in response, because, I also get the hidden question: “do you really know what you are doing?” I point to some of my finished pieces, like the portrait of Lincoln, which had to be sketched out first, or “Take A Flying Leap” (depiction of the Galaxy Andromeda), and explain that yes, indeed, I did have some concept of “Where I was going”. But I understand the concern, when they see oddly shaped scraps stuck somewhat randomly on my board. This is especially true for the series I have been working on for the past year or so, the one I call Coral Reef.
“The Coral Reef” is a series of abstractions that capture the ebb and flow of life in the shallow seas. They are bursting with color and surging with movement, but as I begin each one with the dabs of paper here and there, the project looks obscure, puzzling even. But not for me: I see the totality, although no one else does. I proceed happily because I am excited about the completed vision, even though it takes months for that to occur. By then others can see the progress - after all, I am working on it in full view of the passing crowds – and they too can see wild blazing movement.
D E C O
Art, news and thoughts from Santa Fe, New Mexico.