If you’re familiar with Nick Bantock’s work, you know that collage figures prominently. Collages are fun; throughout my life, I’ve often created them, not with the intention of producing a work of great art. They offer a method of self-expression, but they’ve never seemed to require any great amount of creativity.
Exercise 4, Part 1: early childhood. I was a bit of an alien.
Exercise 4 began with 3 cardboard squares and asked for an autobiographical triptych, complicated by the restriction that the images must all be black and white. In fact, in the 21st century, black and white printing isn’t terribly common. Color printing is so very cheap, and so much more eye catching. Even newspapers are printed in color, but I didn’t have much in the way of newspaper either, since it’s the 21st century.
Exercise 4, Part 2: Adolescence. Dark and confusing, morbid and upside down, with moments of hope.
For the most part, the materials I had on hand were old National Geographic and Smithsonian magazines. I found a few usable images in the local free entertainment paper, The Tucson Weekly, and one or two bits in my husband’s trade magazines. Toward the end, as the squares began to fill up, I utterly ran out of useful black and white images and finished with a couple things printed in black on colored paper: the invitation to an annual volunteer breakfast I never attend, the map to the Arizona Renaissance Festival, the thank you notes we had custom printed for the wedding.
Exercise 4, Part 3: The Present. My life is basically awesome. I am older and wiser, with a supportive life partner and plenty of experience. I know who I am.
I was pleased with the final product. These panels do represent my life, even if I don’t feel that collages require much talent or effort. Talking about these images is complicated, though; they’re very personal and meaningful, even with the limits set on the exercise. But collages are easy. I still wanted to learn to draw better.