Thursday, May 27, 2010

Masters Collage book

My collage paintings, including the one above, are included in this book (below). The book offers a broad scope and array of the many collage artists out there working today. I have chosen just a few of the artists featured in the book along with one of their quotes. There were so many wonderful artists to choose from, that I highly recommend the book.

MASTERS COLLAGE: Major Works by Leading Artists by Lark Publishing will be available soon at and bookstores. 40 collage artists are featured in the book, with their collages and quotes about their process and philosophy. There is a wide range of styles, and viewpoints.

Randel Plowman: "Without a doubt, collagists do more than just glue items onto paper. The best collage artists have strong composition skills, a definite sensibility regarding the use of materials, and an innovative approach to the organization of visual components...I chose forty collagists, each of whom has a unique perspective and brings something different to the craft." Randel is the curator and chose the collage artists for this book. You can find his collage a day at his blog here.
You can find more of his collages at his website here.

Dennis Parlante: "I use old papers, postal envelopes, stamps, and antique materials of all kinds. My goal is to go beyond nostalgia without sacrificing the unique power of these vintage materials." Dennis combines Asian simplicity with line and mark making and you can find so much more of his wonderful collages at his website here.

Liz Cohn: "I love using old papers and scraps of recycled material, because I think they give my work a subtle historical richness." Liz has many more collages on view at her wonderful website here.

Janet Jones: "I always work in a series, with several related pieces on my worktable at once. This allows me to develop a single theme from different aspects. It also keeps me from trying to put everything I know into one piece." Janet has a fabulous website with much more art works to be discovered here.

Stephanie Dalton Cowan: "Each of my pieces is the result of an organic unfolding--a development that yields unexpected discoveries and narratives about our inner and outer worlds." She has a website with more of her collages which can be found here.

Mariella Bisson: "My work is a dance between collage and painting, as I glue hundreds of paper scraps into position. I use small flickering fragments of paper to communicate the effects of sunlight and moving shadows." She has a great website filled with much more of her large scale collages found here. Note: this piece is 38"x50".

Kim Printz: "I love to randomly grab a book or a stack of papers that I can cut up, then try to make a collage in 10 minutes. I did this every day for a couple of years, and I think it helped me develop as an artist." Kim has a wonderful blog called paperwerks which you can find here.

Cecil Touchon: "The poetry that I address in my work is visual and concrete. It isn't a poetry of words, but one that deals with the foundations of written language--the typography and space, color and surface of language." You can find more of his work at his website here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Personal Expression Part 2

Sento at Sixth and Main: Preserving Landmarks of Japanese American Heritage by Gail Dubrow with Donna Graves

For several years now I have been exploring my Japanese heritage. I have concentrated on the aesthetics and culture of Japan and traveled to Kyoto, Japan last October. There, I immersed myself in the temples, gardens and flea markets, looking for any connection to my own art and aesthetics. I had not given much thought to the Japanese American history and legacy around me. I recently met Mary Higuchi, an artist, who paints about the Japanese American experience during World War II. She has personal experiences to express in her paintings. She has received many awards for her EO 9066 (Executive Order 9066) series.

Mary Higuchi was born in Los Angeles in 1939. On Feb. 19, 1942, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized the mass removal and incarceration of "all persons of Japanese ancestry" on the West coast. Mary and her family were imprisoned at the U.S. War Relocation Authority Concentration Camp in Arizona, 1942-1945.

By the summer of 1942, virtually the entire Nikkei (Japanese American) population on the West coast--120,000-- had vanished from their homes, farms, businesses, and schools. Included were 40,000 Issei (1st generation immigrants) and 70,000 Nisei (second generation born in America).

Each single person and head of family was to register and receive identification tags. They were given one week to dispose of all their belongings. They then boarded buses and trains, guarded by armed military police, to be taken to camps located in deserts with severe dust storms, harsh summers and freezing winters. Families lived in communal tar paper barracks, enclosed by barbed wire and towers with armed guards. Below is a painting by Roger Shimomura.

Roger Shimomura's paintings, prints and installations address sociopolitical issues of Asian America. Roger, along with his family, were incarcerated in the Minidoka relocation camp in Idaho 1942-1944.

Many of Shimomura's paintings are based on his immigrant grandmother's diaries. Who Shimomura was, where he came from, and how he was viewed by others became a driving force in his work. He not only has based many of his paintings on his Minidoka camp experiences, but also on stereotypes, race and cultural misunderstandings. He believes in the importance of history and the lessons that must be remembered in the future.

Shimomura has had over 125 solo shows and is in the permanent collections of over 80 museums. You can find his work in several galleries including the Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle, WA and some catalogs of his work are available at You can go his website here for his bio and more information about his art.

One source for more information is JAPANESE AMERICANS AND WORLD WAR II: Mass Removal, Imprisonment, and Redress by Donald Teruo Hata and Nadine Ishitani Hata. Another source is WORDS CAN LIE OR CLARIFY by Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga. (During this dark period of American history, congressional officials, as well as President Roosevelt, referred to these relocation centers as "concentration camps). Soon after the incarceration process began, intelligence agencies knew that Japanese Americans posed no threat to the United States during World War II.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Nature's Best Work

Nature has all the elements of design: line, shape, color, texture...
"Nature contains the elements, in color and form, of all pictures, as the keyboard contains the notes of all music. But the artist is born to pick and choose... as the musician gathers his notes, and forms his chords, until he brings forth from chaos, glorious harmony. --- James Abbot McNeill Whistler

Line: Look at nature's calligraphy... Red winged black bird egg

NATURE'S COLLAGE: The bird used bits of newspaper and old found papers...
Rooted nature clings to nothing to be a new thing....

TEXTURE: These bird eggs were collected from one nest. The one spirit, silent, beats in every breath its name....

COLOR: Lingam rocks are found in a sacred river in India. They are believed to be filled with spiritual healing power. Look at the beautiful subdued, earth colors.

SHAPES, TEXTURE, LINE: Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to learn to understand art more and more. --- Vincent Van Gogh

SHAPES AND TEXTURE: Seed pods and remnants of plants... within my hands, what's lost is found....

THE READY MADE NEST: Some birds may use human-made materials to build their nests.
The age-old story repeats itself..

Below is an etching by Yoshio Imamura. He incorporates nature into his work in beautiful, subtle ways. You can see more of his work here.
"The beautiful is in nature, and it is encountered under the most diverse forms of reality. Once it is found it belongs to art, or rather to the artist who discovers it." --- Gustave Courbet

Some of the images in this blog post came from the book EGG & NEST by Rosamond Purcell.
It is a beautiful picture book that captures the intricacy of birds' nests, and the aesthetic perfection of birds' eggs. You can find the book at

"The Artist has been the element of nature, and the arbiter of nature; he who has sat on a cloud and viewed it from afar, but at the same time has identified himself as one of nature's parts. The true artist views nature from his own time."
---- David Smith, (1906-1965)