About "The Scrapbook of Dreams"


After pushing the collage medium to as high a degree of seamlessness as I could (in analog form), I started getting the urge to create deliberate seams, as in the panels of a graphic novel. What is the function of these panels when applied to double-page spreads? 1) They create an “examination motivation,” in the way that the blown-up details of any painting can often be perceived as mini paintings, 2) they create a windowpane effect, making the picture seem more secretive and thus perhaps more compelling, and finally, 3) even double-page spreads of a single scene have a sequential quality that’s more conducive to narrative, which gives even a quiet piece more drive and energy. Sequential art implies series, and having mostly worked spontaneously, I had to consider how I would shape a series without writing some kind of too-proscriptive script. How would the pieces be connected? And how would they be unique? I decided that I would make a series of double-page spreads wherein the visual imagery on each right-hand page would in some way connect to the visual imagery on the following left-hand page, but where each piece would be completely and strongly unique. (Think of a series of identically-shaped paper dolls, each wearing a completely different national costume, but with connecting hands wearing right-hand mittens whose colors blend into the next doll’s left-hand mitten.)


When I finished the last image in the book, something still seemed to be missing. Usually I’m not aware of telling a story with my collages as much as simply creating a kind of atmosphere that might be more likened to music. But the sequential narrative element of this series somehow seemed to be asking for words. The stream-of-consciousness narrative that goes along with the pictures is intended neither to deconstruct nor try to force a story, but merely to harmonize in the same way that a new player in a jazz combo jumps in with their unique improvisation to speak to what they’re hearing.

“The Scrapbook of Dreams” has been a significant experience for me. It has inspired new compositional limitations to force me to solve new problems, it has allowed me to harness the energy of sequential narrative, and it has given me the opportunity to effectively combine stream-of-consciousness writing with stream-of-consciousness art – thus deepening both forms and allowing me to “harmonize with myself.”