I've lately been working on a batch of 4 x 4 inch collages when I can find the time. My final year of grad school is back in session, so I'm about to not have a whole lot of time for much art-making. However, collage has afforded me the ability to make small, quick works of art to keep me satisfied. Plus, I seem to have discovered (for myself) an art-making avenue that provides instant gratification, like screen printing or taking Polaroid photos.
These 4 x 4 inch pieces I've been making lately reminded me of Kodachrome slides, perhaps because of the ink colors from my predominantly 1950s source material. I may look into making a run of Kodachrome-inspired pieces soon, if things go according to plan. And of course, a book documenting the project may follow, too. (Once I have free time again.)
I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but really enjoy working at this scale. Because I don't have a lot of time or desire to paint right now, collage is serving as a life saver, both creatively and mentally. Collage is something I can do intuitively and the process doesn't leave me burned out. Making pop art left me severely burned out to the point where I decided I didn't want to make it anymore, despite the kind words from fellow artists and collectors. I think the final nail in the coffin for me regarding pop art was visiting Art Basel in Miami last December. There was so much bad pop art being passed off as 'authentic' when in reality most of it was Warhol rip-off drivel. If that is what is considered the avant garde of pop art these days I want no part of it. In fact, I declared to my wife after that weekend that I officially retire from making pop art. I no longer want to paint Marilyn Monroe, Coke Bottles, or any other regurgitated bullshit. Granted, I have a few pop art artist friends who do great work and are very successful, and I'm not knocking them. I learned that dabbling in the genre is just not for me anymore. Hence, my focus on making collage over the last year.
You know what's great about working in a tiny size? The storage space. I currently have a TON of back stock paintings in the studio that will officially be 'retired' soon. Other than my vinyl collection, I just want to downsize all of it; studio crap, personal crap, you name it. I love that I can stick a 4 x 4 inch piece of paper in a small drawer and not have to worry about a small stack of collages taking up all of my useable studio space.
I'm ready to pull a David Bowie: re-invent myself and my work for new creative horizons. I feel as though I took pop art as far as I could go with it. I honestly don't know if I'll have full time gallery representation again in the future, if I'll own and/or run my own gallery, or if I'll ever really consider myself a full time fine artist again. I don't really miss that life, to be honest. I've enjoyed keeping slower pace and the ability to be selective with my work and with my time. Things and attitudes may change after graduation. Who knows? In the meantime, I'm still cleaning the studio, I'm making room for new work, and I'm de-cluttering the years of crap I've amassed. If anything, this will just make more room for records.