Photo collage work as sketches…Creating visual art has always allowed me to explore pertinent questions concerning my mixed Indian heritage and my ever growing cultural and spiritual awareness. The bulk of the artwork on this site is comprised of collage based work, which I’ve been steadily creating and promoting for the past 12 years. This collage, entitled “Mum’s The Word – Plantation Memory”, is one of the grandparents of the “Spiritual Ground” photo-collage series. It is compiled of Xerox copies of photos, magazine pictures and painted fragments. This piece is about the little known fact (historical secret) of Indian slavery on southern plantations (part of my family history). I want to use it as a springboard or reference for larger works…..but why collage and mixed media anyway?
Well, multiplicity is the name of my game! I have often used collage as a way of integrating seemingly disparate elements and discovering my own aesthetic inclinations. Back in art school I wasn’t exactly satisfied with my oil and acrylic paintings. They seemed to “smeary” to me, so I started drawing in pastel to create more distinction between separate components. Later I turned to collage as an exercise to further address the issue. The inherent “mix and match” composite nature of collage automatically changed my compositions. Not only did it serve me well to cleanly integrate the parts, but it naturally served as a form of documentation, from a variety of angles, the cultural revelation and “spiritual self recovery” I was experiencing as a result of reconnecting to my Native American heritage in a profound way. The more I collaged, the more I connected…the more I connected, the more I collaged! I never actually intended to go so deep with collage, or for so long…but in the end these intricate photo-collages, although finished works in their own right, serve as sketches for larger works I envision.