Archive for March, 2020

The Window of Flocked Alliteration

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

 

The Window of Flocked Alliteration
collage miniature by J A Dixon
8 x 10 inches
 
part of a series created for the
Baker’s 1/2-Dozen Collage Exchange
— retained by the artist

The Baker’s 1/2-Dozen Collage Exchange

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

“Works will be sorted and exchanged as equally as possible according to quality. The intention of all of the Museum’s exchanges is to establish a dialog and exchange of ideas about how to work in the mediums of collage and montage among colleagues. By exchanging actual examples we get to see first hand how each other works. This is intended to lead to higher standards and more inspired and satisfying work.”
— Cecil Touchon
 

Not having participated in an international collage exchange since 2016, I set my sights on the spring installment of a tradition established at the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction.

The basic reference point for the exchange is the customary 12 donuts plus free sample. “Except, to make it easier, we have changed it to a Baker’s 1/2 Dozen Exchange,” according to Cecil Touchon, the Museum’s director. Six to trade with contributing artists and one to be retained as part of the Museum’s permanent collection for future study and exhibit.

I created a series of eleven miniatures within a common black-background theme and kept three for myself. From the remaining eight, I identified one as a specific donation to IMCAC (featured below), with the understanding that Touchon would select another for retention and supply the others to designated participants. I couldn’t help but insert a visual homage to the typographic artist himself. Now all I have to do is wait patiently before I get back six original artworks by collage contemporaries.

The original notion of a collage museum compiled by generations of artists themselves (rather than patrons, collectors, or philanthropists) is a powerful idea to me. I can never tip my hat to Cecil often enough. Archiving the large and growing repository is both a labor of love and a significant gesture of commitment to the medium. Working collage artists should be honored to support the cause and make their best effort to be included in the Museum’s flagship collection intended for traveling exhibitions. A good way to do it is to dedicate some creative time to their periodic exchange. And each of us receives valuable artwork in return.
 

The Fog of Glazed Eggwash
collage miniature by J A Dixon
8 x 10 inches
 
part of a series created for the
Baker’s 1/2-Dozen Collage Exchange
— donated to the IMCAC permanent collection

Bringing the ‘Haus’ repository up to date . . .

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020

“Once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed.”
— Charles Schultz
 

I think back to when John’s Haus of Cards produced 200-to-300 handmade cards a year — for birthdays and celebrations, for sickness and sorrow. Compare that to my current output, and I’m certainly not “picking up speed.” But I have no thoughts of giving it up. It’s still one of my favorite things to do. Check out my full archive of greetings.
 

collage greeting card by John’s Haus of Cards!

Sweet Petite
collage greeting card by J A Dixon
series Omega, collection of D L Dixon

collage greeting card by John’s Haus of Cards!     collage greeting card by John’s Haus of Cards!

Daughter + Mother
collage greeting cards by J A Dixon
series Alpha/Omega hybrid, private collection

collage greeting card by John’s Haus of Cards!

Mighty Joan
collage greeting card by J A Dixon
series Alpha, collection of J D A Wood

collage greeting card by John’s Haus of Cards!

Sym-patti-co
collage greeting card by J A Dixon
series Omega, collection of P Powell

collage greeting card by John’s Haus of Cards!

Bouquet of Hearts
collage greeting card by J A Dixon
series Omega, private collection

collage greeting card by John’s Haus of Cards!

A Natalie Day
collage greeting card by J A Dixon
series Alpha/Omega hybrid, collection of N Sluga

collage greeting card by John’s Haus of Cards!

Foot’s Choice
collage greeting card by J A Dixon
series Omega, collection of W W Barefoot

collage greeting card by John’s Haus of Cards!

For Alyx
collage greeting card by J A Dixon
series Alpha, collection of A Kenner

Mindful of the most vulnerable

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

There is no profit in worry for something beyond one’s control. It is a time to think clearly, to focus on what one can actually affect, to be extremely inquisitive, to be self-sufficient, and to take care for the vulnerable. Here is a collage miniature that I attached to a hand-crafted card for a friend, good patron, and person of faith who is currently at high risk.

In Praise of Prayer
greeting card miniature by J A Dixon
4.8125 x 5 inches
private collection

{th ink} OBJECTEXTION

Sunday, March 8th, 2020

“I intentionally left body parts out of the composition, because as collage artists we are so prone to use them on a regular basis. This call was to have you step out of your comfort zone and try something different.”
— Aaron Beebe
 

The past century of collage history has been a steady influence on my art practice, but I find additional inspiration from a body of contemporary practitioners. Aaron Beebe is among them. I was fortunate enough to have a piece reproduced as part of his first {th ink} publication. With my heart set on getting into issue #2, I confronted the unique submission guidelines: “Must be an analog collage that contains at least one object, NO faces or body parts, and must have some kind of text within the composition.” As I prepared four separate entries, I found myself in no small part attuned to Beebe’s recognizable approach. Paul Klee said, “We do not analyze works of art because we want to imitate them or because we distrust them.” Emulation for the sake of favor? I would surely hope not. L T Holmes articulated it best during her outstanding Under the Influence series of 2013. Lalo Schifrin, while shaping his individual voice as a musician and composer, absorbed the jazz vocabulary of Dizzy Gillespie (who had been influenced by Roy Eldridge). We can all learn much from our peers. Did you see something created this week that stimulated your desire to evolve as an artist? I did.
 

     

 

     
 

Four Submissions, 2020
collage miniatures by J A Dixon
6 x 9 inches each
submitted for possible inclusion
as part of {th ink} issue #2

Februllage: how to paste a bunny

Thursday, March 5th, 2020

“The huge problem is that social media is designed to mess with our insecurities. When you post something and people like it, and a thousand people do that, it feels really good (and everybody who pretends like they are not enchanted by that is a liar), but you must not confuse that thing with real value and where you are going creatively.”
— Christoph Niemann
 

I continue to have mixed emotions about social networking formats, as do many others who use them daily. We enjoy the advantages and remain dubious about the rest (as if we even know what “the rest” means anymore). The continuous cross pollination and instant feedback across continents is unprecedented in the history of creativity. That must surely be filed under Awesome. On the other hand, the false intimacy and ubiquitous jockeying for the most visible presence on stage can be tedious. The potential for subtle exploitation, calculated abuse, and hidden subversion will be left for others to analyze.

The Instagram-centered Februllage project — coordinated by Scandinavian Collage Museum and The Edinburgh Collage Collective — ran into some parameter problems with the virtual platform last month. “Work-arounds” were devised. Because the unwelcome limitations were probably related to the massive participation, it would be reasonable to characterize the initiative as a huge success. I found it personally worthwhile to flirt with a few of season two’s catalytic “word prompts.” I wasn’t about to let “rabbit” slip by on day 27, so I combined a ruined book cover with ingredients from my bunny stash and added a minor ribbon that my dad claimed over 60 years ago during his reign as a nationally celebrated rabbit breeder. After posting an image on Instagram, I decided to revise the artwork with two additional critters and by restoring the string that I’d previously thought should be removed from the premium. The refined version is featured here.
 

Rabbit Book, 1958
collage miniature by J A Dixon
7.5 x 7.5 inches
available for purchase