I Made Something I Like

Thinking about my mail-art resolutions this year, I’m trying to think through my creations more. One of the ways I’m doing this is by writing about what I feel makes this image work and how I can improve on it.
When I started doing mail-art it was the first time I made anything resembling “art.” I’m always hesitant to call my creations art, because that term always feels reserved for things other people make. Most of my life has been spent studying the work of others, whether it’s Hugo Ball, Ray Johnson, or Ray Davies. I prefer to say I “make things” in order to keep from branding my bits of paper a certain way. Maybe it’s a way to feel safer?
Those early creations were not good at all, basically an image of something and then a word underneath. Maybe I’d have some paint thrown in, or maybe it was white out? It was honestly my first attempt and those attempts were terrible. I wasn’t a kid that drew past middle school. I’ve never had art classes and I’m not sure why triangles are so important. My colors don’t match like they’re supposed to and I don’t really care. No one’s looking anyway. If punk rock has taught us anything, it’s that passion and drive is more important than whatever the end product might be. To make something new should always be praised whether or not it’s complete garbage. I spent years making garbage.
The above image is one I love a whole lot. I honestly think it’s good. Ninety-nine percent of the time I look at what I create and feel fine, but little else. Indifferent maybe? Only once in a while, do I feel great satisfaction in what I’ve created. When I look at the image I feel proud. I feel like I’ve started to get somewhere even though I’m still making “trashy collages.” The placement is pretty good, the color is nice and balanced, and there’s a mix of different materials. Just in this one page found in a much longer collage book, I have used paint, magic marker, washi tape, clear tape put to an image and then ripped, handwriting, found paper, paper collected from books and magazines, foil, stickers, bits sent to me from Europe, duct tape, and stamps. It’s quite busy.
My biggest problem with this piece is the lack of movement. Too often my things are too centered, too static in the composition. At least the man’s face in the top left corner isn’t perfectly centered and the items flow, but not well enough. Items are parallel or perpendicular to the edges which don’t make for a dynamic display. This is something I have to work on. I need more movement, and less obvious positioning. I tried to distract from this by using my handwriting at the bottom and to the left to break up the monotony. Doing this in other parts may have made it a more interesting work.


Amy said…
Jon...very nice...there is a nice flow of movement from the face to the bottom...my eye follows that path...I love how your work has grown!
zzzzzzzz said…
Thank you so much!