Paper Trumpets #9: The Boy and the Kangaroo


Click image to enlarge:

Kangaroo Beach

Hey to Horse



Notes on this collage:

  • Both of these collages stem from one image from a 1970s LIFE Magazine. In that image, the kangaroo is on the left of the photo scaring the crap out of the boy, who is running away from the crazed marsupial (who for some is armed with a beach ball). I cut them each out and gave them both new settings. In the first collage, Kangaroo Beach, the animal is suddenly giant and about to stomp down on some beach-goers. The second collage, Hey For Horse, puts the frightened boy (also suddenly gigantic) in a position of mischievous troublemaking, as he scares a rodeo horse. The horse skids wildly in the dirt as it prepares to launch its rider and bolt from the scene.
  • Kangaroos are not usually a threat to humans. In 2003, an Australian kangaroo named Lulu received a National Animal Valor Award for alerting people to a farmer that had been injured by a falling tree branch.
  • This is the first kangaroo I’ve used in a collage. I have used birds, bears, frogs, and cats (I have a whole book of cats that I feel has been underutilized). I would like to use more kangaroos, as well as snakes and some day, penguins.
  • I’ve been thinking more about the similarities of writing and collage recently. Focusing on the construction of a killer sentence or line-breaking a poem can feel like carefully cutting an image out of a magazine with sharp lines and no trace of unneeded paper. Some writers I admire also do great collage work, like Brandon Downing, Leah Umansky, Sara June Woods, and Lou Beach. I was recently reminded that poet Mark Leidner also does collages. The cover of his book, Beauty Was the Case That They Gave Me, is fantastic. And there’s this funny video too (“Flowers remind me of flowers I see in pictures all the time.”).
  • In this episode of Paper Trumpets, I’d like to introduce you to Rodrigo Torres. The Brazilian artist has blown the minds of many for the past five years with his currency collages, which are meticulously assembled from money from all over the world. Layered in a 3D style, the brilliant results showcase the sometimes overlooked and regal beauty of each country’s banknote designs. It turned cold hard cash into warm, electrifying art. Torres is also a painter and photographer and has used found materials and satellite images in his collages.
  • I’ll be hosting the third Open Collage Night at the IPRC in Portland on Wednesday, October 8th. We recently did a special Saturday afternoon version of this event that lasted for over five hours and attracted dozens of people. Some readers of this column have expressed a desire to start a similar event in their cities. Contact me or comment if you are starting one up or have questions. You can also Contact me if you want to show me a collagist that I should know about or tell me about gallery shows or other events. Thanks, as always, for reading and looking.


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 →