Paper Trumpets #21: The Insurance of Company (Die Hand)


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Notes on this collage:

  • This collage includes a few disparate elements that came together to make a strange amalgamation. The central image of the young boy is from an insurance advertisement from the early 60s. He is sitting in a man’s lap and there is some kind of tagline covering the man’s face. The ad utilizes a tone both scary and comforting, letting you know that after you die they will be there to “lend a hand.” That torn, yellowing ad is laying across another aging piece of paper torn from the back of an old book, which lays on an 8.5 x 11 piece of charcoal-colored paper. A woman’s hand holding a 1970s snapshot of a young man comes out of the upper right corner of it all. The whole piece measure 14 x 16.5 inches.
  • I often buy random photographs in thrift stores and vintage shops when I’m drawn to something in them—an awkward smile, a twinkle in the eye, a revealing hint of uncertainty.
  • The way it all comes together, it’s like looking at a frame within a frame within a frame, with interruptions.
  • I like how the kid in the advertisement looks like a younger version of the guy in the photo. Maybe it is. And if it is, why does the hand hold the photo so far away, as if hiding it?
  • Thanks to everyone who commented on the last column. It was exciting for me to pick ten readers to send some killer collage swag to. We hope to do it again sometime.


Paper Trumpets Spotlight:

I recently discovered the work of Paz Brarda, a bold and versatile artist living in Buenos Aires. The 34-year-old creates collage art that feels like the natural blending of vintage charm with a loose rock-n-roll attitude. While images of women and children provide strong, warm, and stylish themes in her work, there are also many torn, strongly textured elements that dance around the work like shards of colorful debris. She’s recently begun exploring more of her layering techniques in works of assemblage. I asked her a few questions about her work.

The Rumpus: How did you initially become interested in collage?

Paz Brarda: My beginnings with collage were fortuitous because when I started my graphic design career at the University of Buenos Aires, I didn’t know how to use design programs. Somehow I began assembling images and re-contextualizing others. That process was so satisfying and unique to me that I never stopped making collage. Then, over time, I realized that what began almost as an act of faith would become something that crosses and redefines my life daily. Taking it further has become a way of life.

Rumpus: Does assemblage help you communicate different ideas than collage?

Brarda: The assemblage is something new in my work. It emerged as a double need, firstly because I’m always looking for new things in my work. At least in me there is a need of continued experimentation. I guess everyone understands and feels this in different ways and all are valid. And second because I had new things to say, so I’d say yes. It does help me to say something from somewhere else, and it enables me to play new games and imagine new possibilities. I think that it’s a hybrid between collage and assemblage.

Rumpus: What are your favorite materials to use for assemblage? Do you have a trick to keeping them intact?

Brarda: I like to tour the city in search of materials, in places like markets and antique fairs where stirring inside of boxes can uncover bits of unused objects. Undoubtedly, vintage objects offer unique materiality, almost extinct. I’m learning to handle these materials, because they are very different from each other and they each require a particular treatment.

Rumpus: What do you admire in other artist’s collages?

Brarda: I marvel when I see a perfect joining of two images in the work of a collagist. That assembly that generates a new, unexpected reality.

Rumpus: What other forms of art inspires your work?

Brarda: Many other art forms inspire my work. For example, one of the last assemblages I did was inspired by the word lightness. At that time, I was reading a book by Milan Kundera, who uses this word/concept a lot. And it worked as a trigger for a lot of new ideas, which maybe ended up going considerably further. Words, pictures, weather, textures, and colors sometimes resonate with me in some inner place and help me to imagine images I must try unveiling.

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 →