Last weekend I finished this little (5" X 7") collage, entitled "Heart Strings," featuring vintage ephemera and a heart image transferred atop a map of Northeast Iowa. The background is a page from a National Geographic that's been treated with Citrasolv to create the watery effect. In addition, I used spray paint and a stencil to make the rays behind the heart.
After a few days away from my "studio," it was wonderful to get back at it today. Here's the result, a 12 X 8" collage on cradled hardboard. I've titled it "Nerve Center."
This collage includes quite a few turn-of-the-century bits of ephemera, such as a couple of railroad company letters (the lower background) from 1909, the edge of a railroad freight tariff sheet (yellow, upper right corner) from 1910, an illustration of nerves from an old anatomy book, pieces from an Orange Premium Stamps booklet cover (date unknown), and part of a Washington state map from a 1904 atlas. The upper background portion was done using a favorite technique of mine. It's a photo from an older National Geographic magazine that's been treated with Citra-solv, a citrus-based cleaner that makes the ink in the photo run and bleed, giving it a watery look.
Below is a close-up shot...
People occasionally ask me where my inspiration comes from. Generally my answer is something along the lines of "beats me" or "I often ask myself the same question." This latest piece, though, was easy to put together. A few weeks ago I purchased a print of an Ernst Haeckel illustration at my local junk/vintage shop; the shop owner, I believe, bought an entire book and was selling them off by the page. Anyway I bought two pages: one with octopi and squid on one side and sea shells on the other, and the second page with bats on one side (Halloween's coming up) and frogs on the other. One octopus immediately caught my attention--probably because of the eye-spacing--and I vowed, then and there, to use it in some sort of octopus/human hybridization. (I know, I know...I'm not hooked up right.)
I then searched my ever-growing stack of vintage photos and found the gentleman used in this piece. Sure he had an epic beard and a dapper suit, but what really drew me to him was the simple fact that his eye-spacing exactly matched the octopus' eyes. Score! I had the focal point for my piece.
After combining the critter with the man, I thought of the mythic kraken, the beast that terrorized sailors and pulled ships beneath the ocean's waves. What, I thought, would the kraken do when the monster gig got stale, or when he wanted to retire? Well, perhaps he'd settle down in some quaint little port on a Caribbean island and start a small business. Maybe a deep sea salvage company...haha. Regardless, I'm sure he'd be a well-respected (fear does engender respect, doesn't it?) "man" of the community. That said, I give you "Karl von Kraken, Esq."
Other than the photo and illustration, the finished piece (which measures about 8 X 6 X 2.5") also includes pieces of a map, a National Geographic page manipulated with CitraSolv, found objects, glass from a vintage picture frame, and a hand-made box.
Color me jealous because I could never grow a beard as awesome as old Karl's facial shrubbery.
In the side view shot (below) you can see that the exterior's been covered in pieces of map, which I aged. Also, you can kind of see a piece of rusted chain running the length of the interior; actually, there are two pieces of chain, one on each side of Karl.
The piece's header (see below) was created with a found piece of rusty metal, a couple of rusty square nails, and a smashed beer bottle cap that I painted.
I've been on Spring Break the last few days (yeah, yeah, I know, teachers have it soooooo easy), and I managed to carve out a little time to complete some art projects. That said, I'm back to work tomorrow, so this may be my last post for awhile. Below are some pics from "Intertwined," yet another nicho in my seemingly endless series. (Actually, after this one, I only have ONE yet to complete--then the nichos are finished...for now.) By the way, the approximate dimensions of this piece are 6" X 8".
This little assemblage--again, I used an Altoid tin as the "nicho"--was created using found objects, two vintage photos, and a picture from National Geographic (the greenish background in the photo below) that was treated with Citrasolv to give it that wavy appearance.
I thought about naming this piece "Mama's Eyes" for obvious reasons--and I may still do so.
The shot below shows the old cheese grater I used to frame the piece, as well as the texture I achieved around the edges and top of the base.
The (sometimes mad) ramblings of a mixed media artist.