During my year as artist in residence in Scotland, I was talked into applying for graduate school at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. Because of the timing of my stay in Scotland, I would have to wait another year back in the states before applying to schools, and I wasn’t sure what I would do for that year.
To make a long story short, I was accepted into the MFA program in glass at Tyler, but that meant I had to leave Scotland a month early so I could go home, pack and move to Philadelphia, a city I’d never been to before.
To say my first few months back were a bit of culture shock for me is an understatement. I was reeling. I didn’t know what I wanted to make art about, and I was still trying to get grounded in a routine at my new school. The work load was horrific (15 credits a semester, plus studio work–my glassblowing time slot was 2am – 4am–as well as student teaching/work study). I barely had time to think. And because working in glass is so time consuming, there was hardly time to finish any work for critiques.
It was obvious I was floundering, and one of my professors insisted that I keep a sketchbook, even though I’d stopped doing that years earlier, and didn’t really have time to do it anyway. These are the covers of the sketchbook, and the next few posts will have some drawings from it.
Here’s a fun little collage I did on a piece of luan plywood for Valentine’s Day. After I made the original collage, I had color photocopies of it made, which I then individualized further with rubber stamps and other additions. Each one is unique in a subtle way. Available in the giftshop here.
When I went to college in 1992, I virtually stopped making collage altogether, unless it was related to an assignment. I made this collage for a 2D class, but I don’t remember the assignment. It depicts a water dream I had that seems to be influenced by Hamlet (I played Horatio in my last theatrical appearance in Dallas before leaving for college, in 1992). So I titled it Elsinore.
My holiday collage of 1991/92 featured the usual cast of surreal actors, props and settings. Borrowing my favorite phrase from Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (Jambi the Genie’s “Mecca Lecca Hi…”) and also making a visual reference/pun on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Shakespeare himself appears to be daydreaming a star inhabited by chameleons wearing santa hats, which has perplexed a group of Indian women (who are accompanied by a tin man wishing he had more heart).
A woman wears a fish hat, a grandfather clock earring, a brain brooch, and an earthworm necklace, while dreaming of a frog playing the piano. Meanwhile, a man and his pet alligator look on while a spider drops in on her. This was the reverse side of my holiday collage in December, 1991. Available in the giftshop here.
In 1989 I came out of the closet as an atheist, and so I did not make a collage to celebrate Christmas, but I did make a New Year’s collage showing a surreal party on the moon, with chameleons, a chick and a frog. (The frog was for my friend Larry, who has collected them for years.) For the 20th anniversary of this design, I revamped it and reissued it. I guess I should make another version available without the year on it. Available in the giftshop here.
In 1988 I was involved in the production of Funeral Games, by Joe Orton at the Pocket Sandwich Theater in Dallas (directed by Larry Stillings). I made this collage for the cast and crew members, colorizing each one differently. Some of the elements (such as the nun who has lost track of the baby on her head) were reused from an earlier Christmas collage (which I can’t seem to find in my collection, but if I do I will of course post it here.) All of the elements in this collage have some meaning or relationship to the play.
In 1987, I was a year out of high school and working at the R&D lab of a major oil company in Texas, in the mailroom/office services. Since I was into collage, and had free access to a very fancy copier I made my first collage christmas card that year. I hand colored each one differently, and even made my own envelopes. Flash forward 25 years, and I’m still doing it, albeit with slightly more modern technology (Photoshop, scanners and Zazzle) than scissors and rubber cement. This is the only copy I have extant. The copies I mailed were on pastel colored paper, but I wanted this scan to look more like the original drawing, so I left it on white.