Paper Trumpets #8: Perfect Ghost


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Perfect Ghost



Notes on this collage:

  • This photo of a good old-fashioned revival tent preacher is from a National Geographic (I think 1972). I imagine the photographer was pretty psyched to see how the lights affixed from the ceiling of the tent glowed spirit-like above the hand of the preacher.
  • Behind the Nat Geo image is a torn-out page from a discarded book I found from 1885. I love how paper from that century—or anything over 100 years old—ages and changes color around the edges. It makes me wonder how similar the chemical makeup of paper is to human skin. They both become thin and brittle with age. I wanted the off-balance layering to give the work more visual depth.
  • People look amazing when they’re mid-worship. More people should take photos with their eyes closed and their arms up.
  • I think the hand at the top of the collage is from an advertisement in the 1960s. I know I’ve seen it before in my perusing of old magazines. I appreciate how its bronze color blends so well with this collage. It does seem somewhat God-like. But what do God’s fingernails look like? Are they regularly manicured or naturally perfect? What do God’s fingernail clippers look like? How old are his finger clippers?
  • I’m not sure why I tear some images and cut others more carefully. I think the look of torn edges on pieces like this give it another kind of charm, a sort of discarded look, which, I think, makes the viewer feel more sympathetic to it.
  • The “Paper Trumpets” spotlight shines this time on Little Rock, Arkansas collagist Michael Church. A lot of Church’s pieces shine in their own silvers and sepias, and bristle with, as he says, “the urgent connection between creation and destruction are on display within the pieces I’ve broken apart, then reconnected.” His work is on display with nine other artists right now at Mills Art Project in Easthampton, Massachusetts at a show called Recipher: Coding With Collage. He is also on Society 6 and Instagram and has been part of recent shows in Little Rock.
  • One of my favorite recent discoveries is the website, Collage-Calamity. It’s run, with contagious exuberance, by twenty-five-year-old Bangkok artist Gloria Supatra Bhargava. A consistent barrage of great collages that she finds online is combined with stuff that people submit to her and her own impressive creations. Her collage, “Bangkok Pool Party on a Pickup Truck,” was one of the most reblogged artworks on Tumblr Open Arts last year. With her talent, vision, and energy, Bhargava will probably be a mover and shaker in the collage world for a long time. Better start following her now.


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 →