I know I've talked about grad school a lot over the last few years, but it really has been an amazing experience. I've learned a lot about myself, what I'm capable of, how I perceive and understand design, and how I really look at the world. It's been a priceless opportunity to grow as a person and as a visual communicator, and I feel as though I'm ready for a new beginning. I'm a better writer, as well. Just think, at one time I had friends try to discourage me from going to grad school. Glad that backfired.
This chapter of my life is coming to a close and I'm looking forward to the start of the next one, as they say. I've thought a lot about art, design, expression, and all of the things that follow. I've talked about my pop art experiences in the past, and I've looked to the 1960s pop artists quite a bit for inspiration. I've spent the last 2.5 years experimenting with collage, as the medium is the only one I've had time for while in grad school. As I've grown as a collage artist, I've learned to really love it, more so that mimicking the pop artists I've admired for so long. I guess what I'm trying to say, and may have said it before, is I'm officially resigning the title of pop artist for myself. Though there are several aspects of my collage that echo some pop sensibilities, I feel I've moved away from the Warholian-type work I've spent so many years cultivating. I never really felt like I could make silk screened canvases my own. Warhol set the bar pretty damn high, and it's difficult not to constantly be compared to him and his work. It's not to say that some of my collage work reflects other modern art influences, but it's the first medium I really feel like I've been able to make my own.
A judge in a recent court ruling regarding copyright infringement mentioned how collage is 'truly the most original derivative of appropriation', and I think there is some truth to that. It's interesting how bits and pieces of previously published images can take on a whole new form and meaning with a few cuts, tears, and placement within a different arrangement. I'm sure the court of public opinion may or may not agree with that statement, but regardless, experimenting with collage has made me a better designer and encouraged me to look at design in new ways.
When the time comes, I'm looking forward to translating several of my collage designs into screen prints on paper and canvas. I'm slowly gaining the urge to do work on canvas again, but graduation is my sole focus and priority at the moment. Despite being exhausted and burned out on school, I still eek out some creative juices to knock out a few collages during the week. Some of this stuff may find their way into new art books or self-published zines in the near future, or may be stashed in a flat file for the next few decades. Perhaps they'll one day be donated to a university or thrown out in the garbage. I should post some of that new work here, too.
Whether I use my MFA to teach college-level design or go to work for someone else, I'm truly excited about the possibilities that lay ahead. I'm glad and relieved to accept the notion artists need to change and adapt to stay relevant and fresh. In a way, I feel like I'm my own David Bowie and am ready to reinvent myself again. It took longer to get to this point in my life, but I'm here now, and that is the important thing.
Alright, enough rambling, back to my stack of vinyl records that still need spinning. Talk with everyone soon. -J
Ps...the above is one of the latest collage postcards ("Pure Americana") being dispatched into the world. To date, I'm over 100 collage postcards mailed out to people and places. I'll continue this campaign until I bite the dust or get bored, whichever comes first. If you are reading this, and wish to be added to the postcard mailing queue, just drop me a line. I'll be happy to send one your way. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.