Paper Trumpets #23: Covering Covers

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Companion

 

Holiday

 

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Notes on this collage:

  • Sometimes you just come across magazine covers that look like finished pieces of art. I was immediately drawn to both of these magazines and knew they only needed one added image—something that would turn the reality of the image into something ridiculous and strangely funny (though perhaps undetectable if you were to just glance at it).
  • These collages use magazine covers as their genesis. Sort of like what I did with the album cover back in March. These collages turned out a little too big for my scanner at home (about 11×17) so I took them to a FedEx Office to have them put on a flash drive. I had an employee scan some other big collages for me too, on their machines behind the counter. It wasn’t until he was almost done with my small stack of work that he realized that the magazine covers were actually collages. “Oh, I see. Pretty sneaky,” he said.
  • One of the reasons the images meld so well is because they’re from around the same time period. The man in the chair on Holiday is from that very same magazine in 1953. I love his argyle socks and that green chair (which blends so well with the tall pine tree and the greenish tint of the Oregon mountain range in back). Holiday actually had many issues with really amazing covers. They’re a lost treasure in the history of magazines.
  • On the cover of the 1949 Woman’s Home Companion, I added the image of the singing quintet, which I actually found partly already cut out on a pile of leftover scraps at the last Open Collage Night in Portland. I tightened up the image with a close trim and added it in front of that gorgeous white cat. I love how the woman in the pink dress matches the cat’s ribbon and how they’re both looking up in the same direction, as if there is someone off the page that they are trying to impress.
  • I think it’s interesting that the contents featured on the cover of the Companion are a political article about Russia as well as a novelette and a “complete novel.”
  • Perhaps the only thing that could make this collage better would be if the cat’s mouth was open as well, as if in mid-song.

 

Paper Trumpets Spotlight: Sarah Eisenlohr

One of the first collage artists I got excited about last year, when my love of collage was first blooming, was Sarah Eisenlohr, whom I discovered in the great anthology The Age of Collage. I found it oddly inspiring that she lives in Montana while most other artists lived in bigger cities around the world. It made me realize that you don’t have to be in an art mecca to make meaningful work. I appreciate the vintage color tones in her work, as well as the graceful beauty that can evoke gasps from those looking through her creations—giant horses stampeding through a river, a skier slicing through a hillside of flowers, a woman fills a canyon with milk. There’s an understated but epic confidence in her work and it’s been inspiring others in the collage world, including myself.

The Rumpus: How did you first get into collage? Were you instantly smitten with the form?

Sarah Eisenlohr: I was taking a class in college called “Mapping, which incorporated art media and maps together. We had to create a series for our final project and I had wanted to try out collage, so I made a few pieces involving how humans can impact our landscape or “remap” its appearance. These ended up being the beginnings to my collage series, Mapping. Afterwards, I became obsessed with collaging.

Rumpus: I really like the fact you live in Montana and I know from driving through that state a couple of times that the landscape can sometimes be stunning. Do you sometimes get inspired just by looking at your surroundings?

Eisenlohr: Totally! It’s a really beautiful place and the seasons are always creating a new look to appreciate. The city where I’m currently living is a ski town, so it’s surrounded by such diverse mountain ranges—I love the jagged ones with snow-capped peaks. I think living in Montana has influenced my collage imagery to be of mountain ranges and anything pretty from nature.

It was super fun when I came across lots of plants in California a few weeks ago, which were the same ones incorporated into my newest collage, “Late Nite Phone Talks.” I wasn’t familiar with what they were called or where they grew, so it was really exciting to unexpectedly find them in the yard where I was getting married.

Rumpus: There’s such a great twist on scale and image in your work. Do you strive to make your work hallucinogenic or something more emotional?

Eisenlohr: I always want to tell a story through my work. I’m creating based on life experiences, whether they’re little happenings or big transitions in my life, or creating to resemble something I’m learning from the Bible, or sometimes I’m making a collage just because it’s pretty. All these things are influenced on the emotional side.

Rumpus: I haven’t heard many collagists talk about the Bible or their faith. I think it’s very interesting. Have you ever tried to make collages with religious imagery or Christian themes?

Eisenlohr: My series, Comfort and Renewal, have Biblical references like Psalm 61:1-4. The metaphors are very poetic and create interesting imagery—I suppose less recognizable as Christian themes than the classic religious imagery we’ve all seen.

Sharpen_EisenlohrRumpus: In your collages like “Sharpen” and “He Makes All Things New,” there’s a very balanced, almost methodical delivery with the images, almost like a display case. What do these works mean to you?

Eisenlohr: Those two pieces are part of my series, Renewal. They were sort of a response after moving to a new city, leaving behind my usual routine and the people I was closest to. I ended up with a series on the idea of restoration and spiritual growth.

“He Makes All Things New” evolved from a band I had been listening to a lot called Rivers & Robots. I hadn’t finished a collage in a long time, so it was something really meaningful to create and became one of my favorites.

Rumpus: I saw the TV show About a Boy was on your resume and I was a fan of that show. Did you have a collage on their set, or what did you do with them? 

Eisenlohr: It was a pretty funny show! They contacted me about including my collage, “Décor,” within their set design, but unfortunately the show was canceled halfway through the season, so I was never able to spot it on the set.

Rumpus: What do you hope to do with your art in the future? Will you stay in Montana?

Eisenlohr: Right now I’m working on a pretty exciting project–it hasn’t been in production yet so it’s still under wraps. But it gave me the interest to incorporate my graphic design and fine art background together. I will be staying in Montana for a few more years, as my husband and I are both in school and then we’ll be open to moving elsewhere.

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Thanks to Sarah for talking with me. You can follow her on Tumblr. See you next month for another Paper Trumpets!


Kevin Sampsell is the publisher of the micropress Future Tense Books in Portland, Oregon. His books include the story collection, Creamy Bullets, the memoir, A Common Pornography, and the novel, This Is Between Us. His work has appeared in publications such as Pank, Sixth Finch, Poets & Writers Magzine, Yeti, Fairy Tale Review, Tin House, Best Sex Writing 2010, and Best American Essays 2013. More from this author →