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Monday, July 23, 2012

Poem-collage or collage-poem: Behind Her Eyes

In a post or two ago (here), I said I would try to develop a new poem-collage combine using an existing collage by musing on the already created collage and see what emerged. The challenge for me is to avoid writing a poem which is merely illustrative of the images contained in the collage. Rather I want to write a poem which goes to the essence of the matter, but in a different way to the collage.


Because the collage already had a title, which had come to me during the process of making the collage originally, that became the opening line of the poem. A period of looking at the collage was followed by a period of not looking, but writing. The writing of the poem followed my usual practice, which could best be described as a stream of consciousness approach, followed by speaking and editing, in a cycle until the poem seems to be settled.


Then it was a (not so) simple matter of arranging the words around the existing collage. I might mention a bit of "cheating" here, in that the two collages I have selected to work with, both have a considerable amount of space not taken up with images.


Here is the final result:





Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Straight forward art practice statement & funny bit



I make stuff. Sometimes I make stuff out of things I find or things other people throw away. Sometimes I make stuff by carving wood or concrete or stone. Sometimes I make stuff by putting different things together.

I make pictures by painting and drawing. Sometimes I use oil paints and sometimes I use watercolours. I don’t use acrylics much. Sometimes I use leftover house paint. I also draw with coloured pencils and pastels and pencils and ink and anything that will make a mark.

I also make pictures by gluing images together. Sometimes I take these images and play with them on the computer. Sometimes I add words to them.

Mostly I make art by playing with materials. I usually start off with a vague idea of what sort of thing I want to do and let the piece grow from there. Often what I want to do is sparked by something I have seen or intuited or imagined or just fallen into. Sometimes I might look at what other artists have done and use that as a starting point.

I hate art that doesn’t have poetry—everything by Damien Hirst, anything that is conceptual, pop art and anything where the artist uses the term "referencing". Contemporary justifications of art are rubbish, banal or derivative. Art with poetry is its own justification.

And now for the funny bit...I played around with a starter from artybollocks (a free automatic generator of artist statements), to make it far more academically acceptable and post-post-modern. I hope you enjoy it:


My art practice investigates the duality inherent in the intersection of acquired synesthesia and romance tourism. Significations embedded in the ephemera of tourism textualisations and discourse are deconstructed through the prism of synesthesia. The artworks, considered both as simulacrum and synecdoche, reference Rousseauvian depictions of the bon sauvage and the social critique implicit in arte povera , performative street art and the music of John Cage. They negotiate the indeterminate socio-political space between the appropriated “native” and the Other, in an attempt to re-engage with this reconstructed dialectic.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Poem-collage or collage-poem: further thoughts on combining poetry and collage

Thoughts of seductionI have been reading through my poems, looking to find one that would combine with an existing collage from my Flickr gallery 
to create a poem collage combine, as in my previous post (Poem collage or collage poem?)







What I have realised is how many of my poems are full of visual imagery. For example, this extract from a longer poem called "Of All Things That May Come":

     Down a pageant street, where
     strolling players wondered
     and every noble Mummer
     turned in at the door,
     the threshold of our trespasses.

     In the dimly lit church gathering
     the biblical fair maiden
     gathers the mouth of her prey
     to the kell of careless grace.

     In captive corners, the monks
     sink back into Latin reveries.
     No longer the only actors
     drawn sideways by Herodotus
     in the fourteenth cycle.
   

I suppose, given my love of both visual and written poetry, that I should not have been surprised that my poems contain so much visual imagery.

The "problem" is that such visually rich poetry just does not combine well with the actual visual imagery of the collage. There is a clash between the image in the reader's mind and the image on the page, rather than a working together of the words and the image, as in a poem-collage combine.

The alternative, to create collages which use the images from the poems themselves, would destroy the impact of the poem, as it would rob the reader of the power of  their own imagination. As I have remarked elsewhere (Jottings from the June 2012 Notebook) I want my art works to be portals to reverie.

A possible way through this impasse, which I shall try next, is to meditate and muse on the collage itself and see what (if anything) comes up in the way of poetry. Apparently this is called Ekphrastic poetry, that is, "poetry that reacts to or describes a visual work of art." Shadows of Doubt Poetry Art: Combining Poetry and Visual Art  and When Two Worlds Collide: Poetry and the Visual Arts have useful introductions to the concept and interesting insights. 


Postscript: Visual poetry (search on Google Images for examples) is based on signage and political slogans.It doesn't seem poetical to me.