Exquisite corpse

A few weeks ago, in the middle of a heat wave, I had the distinct luxury of taking an entire week to work on collage with other artists who were interested in doing the same. As tends to happen, the results were nothing like what I expected; I thought I'd breeze in, learn a few techniques, finish an existing project or two, maybe finish a new one and in the end feel refreshed, renewed and leave everything in a neat and tidy, collaged pile.

Instead, I was introduced to insanely talented contemporary collage artists (famous, infamous and otherwise) who are making it. Really making it.

I was surprised by the comradery, generosity and support shown to me by my fellow classmates and instructor. I continued with current ideas that I think might take years to fully develop and explore. I recognized that yes, this is fun, but it's also work.

I was wowed by our collective talent and power to express. We completed a round of exquisite corpse collages. I played this as a child, all the time and once, as an adult at a dinner party. Invented by the surrealists, one makes a portion of a figure with the rest of the paper folded (hidden from view, save for the portion one is currently working on), then trades with the next person; the group keeps going like this until all corpses are complete.

When we hung all the corpses on the wall, I was overwhelmed with their simple beauty and amazed by how they seemed to be composed by the same person. This exercise demonstrates to me, proof of collective consciousness and the importance of play in artistic expression.

I've reproduced them all here as a photo collage, but please don't use this image for anything else because it really isn't mine. (Anyway, it's such low resolution that you couldn't do much with it if you tried.) The actual size of each piece is about two by four feet, so try to imagine their beauty, grotesque power and loveliness. Perhaps then you can understand why I got teary when I saw them all hanging together.


"Most people are much more unusual and complicated and eccentric and playful and creative than they have time to express."
—Oliver Herring

digital c-print photographs, museum board, foam core, and polystyrene by Oliver Herring
translation: amazing, life-size sculptures pasted with collaged photographs of the figures.


What good have you done today?

I found this post and here's what Benjamin Franklin used to use to motivate himself to create each day. A simple schedule and a question posed in the morning: What good shall I do this day? And in the evening: What good have I done today?

It comforts me to know that even this wonderful genius tackled his tasks by placing one foot in front of the other.

source Maria Kalman NYtimes blog


work escape

Work is slow right now, which I'm doing my best to be thankful for. I'm trying to use my time wisely so, I decided to keep going with my fire escape paper cuttings. I'm toying with the idea of using the laser cutter at the workroom to cut multiples because each one done by hand takes about 30 minutes and strains my hands like a mofo. We'll see if it's worth the time/money. I think that if I resort to the laser cutter the cuttings will lose their preciousness, because isn't anything done by hand exponentially better? On the other hand, worlds will open up if I can automate the process. (Somewhat similar to printmaking.)

By now, people at work are used to me cooking up what they deem as strange projects. The questions tend to go like this:

Them: What are you doing?
Me: I'm cutting out fire escapes.
Them: Why?
Me: Just because. For me.
Them: Oh. It looks cool.

Though, the best comment by far was "everyone needs a fire escape." I agree!


death as change

Here, I’m exploring death as symbolic of change. Death tends to be viewed negatively in Western culture; however, death can mean the end of a cycle and mark the beginning of new chapters. The haunting, beautiful image of Vivien Leigh reminds me that defining oneself with purely outward successes such as beauty and status is an empty, constructed definition. Much more productive, though often the more difficult path, is to take time to reflect and focus on how we react to change.

NB: I continue to be surprised at the darkness that I express. Despite the haughtiness of this post, don't fret: I still have lots of lighter, superficiality in me. I won't stop wearing bright pink lipstick anytime soon.


Best garage sale sign

I was excited to find the best designed garage sale sign I've ever seen in real life today! I wish I'd had time to actually check the sale out because there's something thrilling about being able to legitimately nose through strangers' unwanted wares. Extra points to the rad residents of 486 Clinton for making the effort with this sign. I'll forever hold other garage sale signs up to their high standards.


Randal Ford

A collection of curious street people signs by Randal Ford. Such a great idea!
via sharesomecandy.com


Andrew Bush

Part curation, part photography, part collage, all inspiring and wonderful. See more of Andrew Bush's work here. I found Andrew via Aprile Elcich's lovely blog.

Aprile Elcich

I was thinking that I seem to be posting only male artists and would like to highlight female artists as well, but the idea of specifically seeking out great artists who are women seems wrong. I'd way rather be attracted to work that I love just because I love it than focus on gender.

Then, magically, Em alerted me about Karyn's interview with Aprile Elcich who works in collage and produces these wonderfully poetic pieces! Aprile is going to be at the workroom's Kids Trunk Show this weekend. I'm planning on swinging by, so I'll have to do my best not to drool too much on these lovely collages.

source youarewhatyoulove


New form

What I love about collage is its ability to transform found objects in new and completely surprising ways. Last week, we found paper on the street to play around with. Here's what I did.


The worst trip ever

No matter how lovely the hotel room, or how nice the new place is that I'm visiting, traveling is inevitably stressful. Almost every trip I've been on has its ups and downs. Ultimately, I remember the good parts years later and somehow, even the horrible parts become hilarious. Here, I recall every time I wanted to push my travel companion(s) under a bus for having to pee at inopportune times or tear up the map out of frustration of getting lost, again. (Somehow, I can read maps with ease but still manage to get lost even in my hometown. Let's just say I'm directionally challenged.)

Leandro Erlich

Surreal installation by an Argentinian artist. Stunning: all I want to know is what those bricks are made of.

source leandroerlich.com


Lucky, lucky me

Last week, I let myself take five whole days away from work so that I could play! Ah, it was so refreshing. I ended up making things that I didn't know I had in me and began all sorts of new ways of thinking about fire escapes.

A frottage of an escape I found recently, I got messy and added some chunky acrylic medium mixed with black acrylic.

Stencils of negative space from an escape drawing on delicate rice paper.

Cut paper escapes lying on top of the prints I did a while back.

I closed last week a bit weary from working on this stuff everyday, but more importantly, I'm inspired and rejuvenated.

Chris Dorosz

Sculptures composed of acrylic paint drops. I love peeling dried acrylic off of palettes. Do you think Chris feels the same?

source chrisdorosz.com

Keep calm

Certainly we've all already seen this well-considered WWII slogan poster in numerous places and in various forms. I think it's intriguing that a phrase originally intended to illicit a feeling of order amongst the chaos and uncertainty of living in Britain during WWII has been appropriated in the 2000s in many different contexts. This further proves to me that appropriation is part of the creative process. I'm a bit of a stickler for giving credit where it's due, but thinking macro, dissemination is truly king.

source wikipedia

Snapped in front of Trimurti on Queen West.

source current Toronto Life cover

source black belt jones' flickr

heart sleeves

Know Hope's strangely beautiful, lanky figures tell me of forlorn aliens searching for connection and meaning. I'd like to meet one on the street one day. See more here.


I've been somewhat obsessed with the idea of love (in all forms) lately. To avoid triggering your gag reflex, I'll save the corny rhetorical questions for my own musings. But, here's something I found which, well, I love.

source thingsweforget.blogspot.com


Mark Bradford

Please AGO, will you buy this for me? I'll take care of it, promise.

Mark Bradford / "Disappear Like a Dope Fiend"/ 2006
Mixed media collage on canvas / 47 3/8 x 61 1/8 inches

la roux oiseau

All pillows, all the time.


Vintage love

The vintage goddess was smiling on me this weekend. I don't think I can completely convey the high level of adorableness this jacket/dress combo emits. I can't wait to find a place to wear it once I source beautiful buttons for the bodice and shorten the hem just a tad. Before then, I'm excited to wear the jacket open, hanging off my shoulders with a simple white tank and jeans.