Paper Trumpets #4: Sad Nuisance


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Sad Nuisance


Notes on this collage:

  • The photographs of these women were taken from a discarded health book (probably from the 90s). The woman in the office chair is from a chapter about fainting.
  • I had the women and the words glued down for a couple of weeks but knew the collage needed something else before I could call it finished. I finally realized that what it lacked was some outside “accents” and I could create that by using torn strips of black washi tape.
  • Washi tape is cool because you can easily stick it on something and then remove it and restick it if needed. I recently met “maker extraordinaire” Courtney Cerruti and had some washi tape play time with her when she came to Powell’s. She has a great book on washi tape, as well as one about image transfer, which is something else I want to play with in collage in the near future.
  • Happy accident: Both women are wearing striped shirts while surrounded (or showered) by sliver-like stripes of washi tape.
  • One of the things I’m trying to do with this column is talk about process and presentation. I’m still a little conflicted about explaining things, as if I’m ruining your interpretation. Maybe I should be using more passive descriptions: This image could mean that…The words could possibly describe… The mood of this piece is maybe about… Instead of telling you what something means, maybe I should be more open. Maybe I should be asking you questions. Who is your sad nuisance, your enemy? When you faint does it feel like you’re falling through a ceiling?
  • David Hockney said, “People tend to forget that play is serious.” He also said, “It is very good advice to believe only what an artist does, rather than what he says about his work.”
  • The featured collage artist this week is Lynette Jackson, an Atlanta-based artist and photographer. Her collage works, both handmade and digital, are architecturally inspired and carefully constructed with oranges, browns, muted blues, and liked-minded colors. Some of her works recall 1960s jazz album art with an off-balance mystique. Of her color choices, she says, “I often try to mimic colors from Mid Century designs. Nothing makes me happier than finding oranges and reds in mags/books mags/books from the 60’s and 70’s. The color appears dirty, faded, not vibrant, for me they look best anchored by browns. ” She’s part of a show in Washington DC at Project 4 Gallery that features digital collages that she makes on one of her favorite tools—her iPhone.
  • One of my favorite galleries in Portland is gallery 6, and they have a great show up right now with London collagist Lewis Golland. Next month is a group show of work made from matches, matchbooks, and matchboxes.
  • Enemies are indeed a sad nuisance.


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 →