Saturday, May 30, 2009

Collage for creativity and self-understanding

I love to collage.  Its a way that I get unstuck creatively.  I don't consider myself a visual artist, and so collage isn't something I do for 'work'.  Its all just fun, and so I can love my collages in a way that I find I can't love my writing-- that is, completely uncritically.  My collages are like letters sent to me my by my subconscious. 'This is what you're into right now', they tell me. Sometimes startling patterns emerge.

The key for me is not caring how it turns out. The collage doesn't need to be pretty, or sophisticated, or even interesting. Its a game.

When I'm feeling miserable about something, the images help me to discover what else is happening in the murky backwaters of my subconscious. It may be that a part of me finds the situation funny or exciting, and I am not as pathetic as I'd assumed I was. Collaging helps me to break out of feeling habits by scratching beneath the surface.

I find words and ephemera from old magazines, newspapers, books from the street, whatever flotsam is lying around that grabs my attention. The only rule is that I can't stop and think about why I like a word or image until the collage is finished. (Although I'm always breaking that rule.)

I collage when I can't write, when I'm raging, overwhelmed, confused, depressed, elated, blissed out, flummoxed. I explore my dreams, ideas, or stories I'm creating when the writing feels tight and airless.

I collage often. After taking words and images and pasting them on paper, I can usually make my way back to the pen or the keyboard. I've listened.

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