Just one thing in the mailbox... an inauspicious beginning

"MAR 01, 2013," original collage on paper by Janice McDonald, 7.5 x 5.5," ©2013."Harvesting" the potential collage elements from the postcard.This is the first collage created for the "Overlooked Archives" show. The only thing that arrived on March 1st, 2013 was a coupon/postcard from Bed, Bath & Beyond. It made me wonder if the concept of working with each day's mail would provide enough interest and content. My persistence paid off though and the resulting body of work and  show were strong. Thankfully!I referenced this collage in my artist statement. Most people could imagine where the pieces came from once I pointed it out... there are common elements delivered to all our mailboxes. 

Seeing possibilities... collecting collage ingredients


I'm often asked where the bits and pieces of my collages come from... I have a habit of looking at the negative spaces, the spaces BETWEEN and AROUND the featured items in a photograph. It's often there that I see the patterns, color gradations, and subtle imagery that I find most intriguing and useable.


The large photo above shows a recent photograph from the newspaper that had ingredient potential. (Caveat: It's very dangerous not to finish the paper before I get to it, if you want to be assured of reading the complete story!)

At left is a detail of the photo where I've indicated, with green outlines, the areas that I will rip out for future use.

I was recently explaining how I gather materials during a demonstration to a local art guild. Afterwards one fellow said, "You sure see things differently..." Yep, and I took that statement as a huge compliment!

Lively abstract inspiration in a cemetery

A couple of weeks ago, while visiting New Orleans, I noticed really interesting found abstract imagery all over the city. To top it off, I spent several hours exploring St. Louis Cemetery #1. (Overall photos and information about cemetery conservation efforts are here.)

The worn monuments and surfaces of the cemetery were really amazing and inspiring -- an intriguing visual treat, on hallowed ground, in the midst of an architectural/historical treasure! Here are a few of my favorite photos, all details/patterns. This imagery may not ever make its way into my work, but I am fascinated by composing with the camera when I discover patterns/surfaces that truly constitute found art. 

The cemetery is interesting on so many levels and well worth a visit next time you are in New Orleans... assuming you can tear yourself away from the jazz, food (beignets!) and drink. 

Janicemcdonald.NOabstract2 Janicemcdonald.NOabstract3

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Junk Mail Journal Collage 1.21.10

Janice_mcdonald.JMJ1.21.10 Another page in the Junk Mail Journal

I'm always enchanted by the serendipity of what's come in the mail each day that I can work with. This collage includes bits of background imagery from a catalog and a financial services direct mail piece, along with the inside of a billing envelope (safety paper). Some beautiful mulled colors can be found in the blurry backgrounds of corporate and fashion photography... Guess I am one of the few people who looks forward to junk mail!