Paper Trumpets #16: The Feline Trio


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Notes on this collage:

  • This episode of Paper Trumpets features cats! This past weekend, after my football team (the Cardinals) lost their playoff game, I found myself comforting my sad heart by making a bunch of cat collages. I guess that’s kind of ironic since the team that beat them was the Panthers. Oh, well.
  • These kitty creations feature: A puffy white kitten observing a 1969 Queen Elizabeth II, a cat version of a scene from Midnight Cowboy, and a weird mash-up of an unknown politician’s headshot and longhair tuxedo cat. Maybe they’re not so cuddly, but damn—just try ignoring that animal magnetism.
  • People may think cats are so 2014, but I beg to differ. Cats are forever! Even Hutch Harris of Portland’s great band, The Thermalsloves making cat collages.
  • Speaking of kitties, one of my friends, Portland artist Melody Owen, has been a foster mom to several kittens and cites cats as an early inspiration to her work. “When I was a little kid, my mom used to let me cut up her old magazines. I mostly cut out pictures of cats. At the end of every article in Cosmo, there was a tiny, font sized square with the head of a black cat in it. I had very many of these tiny square cat heads saved in file folders. During and after high school, I filled book after book with scraps and fragments of paper and detritus. Some of these loose assemblages were sort of like collages and made it, along with some writing, into zines (called Trading Saliva) and mail art. That’s how I got started, really, in this whole “art” business.” An ambitious and unpredictable visual artist whose various works have appeared worldwide, I’ve always been a big fan of Melody’s collages, even before I began making my own. She’s also the person who gave me my current scanner (Thanks, Mel!). Her collage projects include these beauties made while in Switzerland and these front and back Lewis Carroll-inspired pieces. “What I like about cut-and-paste collage is that the result is formed by its constraints. With digital collage, you can scan anything, any size, find anything online. The limits are so far outstretched as to be rendered useless. I use digital collage when I want to execute a specific idea. With paper collage, you use what exists in your realm and that is very limited. You are at the mercy of your fate but you also have the responsibility to choose correctly from what is available.”
  • My collage show, Rookie Season, is on display at Powell’s Books this whole month. I’m very excited to be showing over forty of the collages I made last year. I also wrote an article about my first year of serious collaging adventures for Kolaj Magazine‘s January issue.
  • Wrapping up this episode of Paper Trumpets with a collage video. This was made by artist Alexandre Coll for a band called The Wheels. Happy New Year, everyone!


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 →