Friday, 15 June 2012

the definition of life

I only just started making collages in 2010, so I don't have much of quality to show you that hasn't already been posted to this blog. But this collage was sort of a turning point in my early work. I think the composition works, and I was pleased to be able to incorporate meaningful text in this way.

The background is the Japanese alphabet, from Rossi papers. The ferns are from a paper napkin. The spotted ray is a magazine clipping. The central text is scanned from the definition of life in an 1880s-era encyclopedia titled The Library of Universal Knowledge. I have cherished that little set of maroon volumes with fragile yellowish-brown paper and tiny text (no pictures) since I was a child, and felt honored to inherit it from my father. My family—mostly my dad, his mother, and me—consulted that encyclopedia many, many times while solving the fiendish double-acrostic crosswords puzzles that ran monthly in the back of the Saturday Review of Literature, a much-read magazine in my house growing up. Those puzzles—the solution to which was always a long quotation that could be drawn from any field of knowledge, not just literature—were a competitive sport for the three of us!


  1. Terrific composition. The manta ray ties it together and gives it cool context! Enjoy the incorporation of different paper elements. Bet this one has a fragrance all it's own as well ;)

  2. It is a lovely thoughtful composition!

  3. Gorgeous work. I didn't realise that you hadn't been making collage for very long. Clever use of a paper napkin.