Paper Trumpets #19: What To Do In an Emergency


Click image to enlarge:

No Bleeding


Turn into the Slide



Notes on this collage:

  • These three collages were inspired by a 1988 book called Reader’s Digest Action Guide: What To Do in an Emergency. The backdrops are from other books about Hawaii, Western movies, and space.
  • The first collage is called “No Bleeding.” The woman in the sweater is applying pressure to the unconscious woman’s leg to stop a wound from bleeding. The background image is from the 1939 movie Stagecoach, which was John Wayne’s first feature role. Although I don’t often use imagery from the 80s, I find the illustrations in instructional books from that era (and the 70s) to be very funny. It’s like Patrick Nagel if he were forced to do first aid kit illustrations.
  • Oh my God! I just looked up Patrick Nagel and read that he died of a heart attack in 1984 at the age of 38. He had just participated in a celebrity “aerobathon.” If only someone was there to help in his emergency. Crazy.
  • The second collage is called “Savior.” The man gives mouth-to-mouth to a baby against the backdrop of the moon. I can’t remember where I got those two weird kids flanking him, probably from another Reader’s Digest manual. I like how they seem both alien and ghost-like. I hope that baby lives and comes back down to Earth.
  • The third collage is called “Turn into the Slide.” The man in the car demonstrates how, when sliding on a snowy or icy road, you turn your wheels in the direction that the rear of your car is sliding. In this case, he’s trying to hijack a surfer’s killer wave. I like how he’s driving some kind of shitty Yugo thing. No wonder he looks stressed.
  • While looking for gallery opportunities for collage artists, I came across a couple of interesting online notices. The National Collage Society’s Postcard Show has a deadline on March 2nd and an upcoming exhibit in April. In San Francisco, the Arc Gallery is closing submissions for their “Fusion” show on February 22nd. I also found out that Arc hosts a monthly “Collage-a-Rama” night.


My Paper Trumpets spotlight this episode is on Belgium collagist, Sammy Slabbinck. His work is clever and funny and utilizes images from old books and magazines of the 1950s–70s. Some of it takes images from old advertisements and spins them in a surreal direction. In some of his more subtle work, his use of the female form melds smoothly into a landscape, giving it the suggestion of being some sort of destination. You can also see his Fifty Ways Postcard project and buy his work through Saatchi Art. I recently asked him a couple of questions.

The Rumpus: I like how your collages are pretty different. Some people like to have more of a specific style, but I like how your stuff is unpredictable. Do you challenge yourself to do something different with each one?

Sammy Slabbinck: It’s nice to do different stuff and keep challenging yourself and come up with something original. I’ve been working for three years now with collage and some of the techniques are getting old to me so you look for other creative impulses. I also make a lot of stop-motion animation on Vine and that has influenced my graphic work a great deal.

Rumpus: What are some of your influences?

Slabbinck: Among my influences there are a lot of pop art artists. I have always liked their suddenly found freedom of expression. I always try to keep in mind not to be scared of trying out things and to not let other’s opinions of my work get me down.

Rumpus: What’s the strangest work you’ve been hired to do for ads or magazines?

Slabbinck: I made a Christmas-themed collage once two years ago for a magazine from Hong Kong. Wouldn’t do that again. Some times you have to learn to just say no, I guess.

Enjoy some work from Slabbinck’s Vine page and come back on March 4th for Paper Trumpets 20th column. Something fun and special is being planned!

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 →