“Long ago we learned to think by using our hands, not the other way around.”
—Gary Rogowski, Handmade: Creative Focus in the Age of Distraction
Lynda Barry is the artist who taught me the real value of glueing one thing to another, so I was delighted she posted some of her “weird collages” on her Instagram account. Here is what she wrote underneath them (emphasis mine):
My weird collages help me in the time when I just don’t feel like drawing or writing. There is a strangeness in them that starts to make me want to write and draw. For me the trick is to see the page as a place rather than a thing. I’m just wandering in this place as a stranger.
This is what I do every morning in my diary: I try to think of the page as a place that I go to explore and discover what’s going on in my head. (Thinking with my hands.)
Lately, I’ve been anxious about this upcoming book tour, so I’ve been making what I call “sad teenager” collages. (Sad teenagers know what’s up!) The point of these is not to be good or clever, just to glue scraps and bits and pieces down to the page quickly and let some kind of meaning accrue.
Here’s one from yesterday:
Here’s one from this morning:
One last thing: you’d be amazed by how autobiographical seemingly random images become when you’re doing this. That’s the magic of collage. Of cut & paste and selection: you can’t help but show your hand (and your heart and your head.)