Frames of Reference

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It is rare that I make a complete collage when I spend a night or afternoon in my basement—my makeshift studio—attempting to do so. I usually end up flipping through dozens of magazines, ripping out images that catch my eye and storing them for later use. However, when I do have an idea, it usually doesn’t take more than an hour or two to cut everything out and put the pieces together.

I primarily use images from LIFE (late 1960s-90s) and National Geographic (1930s-present) magazines in my collages. I have an enormous stack of images from these magazines that are organized in four categories: figures, frames, backgrounds, and miscellaneous. Figures, the most numerous of the four, are typically the most important. They are often the seed of a collage idea. A good figure simply has to be an image that I can alter in a meaningful and aesthetically pleasing way.…

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