Organizing a Mess


Graphic Autobiography by Yours Truly

Seven collages created with the leftover pages and cuttings from earlier finished work, with complementary text about the project.

11 x 8 inches, set in Century Schoolbook for easy legibility, designed digitally with the Adobe Creative Suite, and printed at Proline Printing in Viroqua, Wisconsin, on acid free coated 80 lb. text paper, 28 pages + cover, hand stitched. First edition, 26 copies, signed, and lettered A through Z. $25

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Download the free ebook version of Organizing a Mess.

How and Why it Happened

So there I was, summer vacation 2013, inspired to clean up and organize the readily available discards in my suitcase. I saved them, and this must be why I saved them.

While working up the seven collages (determined by the number of useable gazetteer pages previously pulled from a UW publication, circa 1972), it crossed my mind that each collage could represent a chapter in my life. The foundation of Wisconsin maps was fitting. I was born in Wisconsin, educated in Wisconsin, and I have enjoyed traveling and vacationing throughout the state all my life. This was also post-2012 Mayan apocalypse, and I recently adopted a new strategy for art making for the remainder of my life. Documenting my life’s course through seven collages of random imagery from past creative projects seemed like a fun and appropriate challenge at the time.

What does it mean?

It is never easy or precise. The organizing of these puzzles forces a dreamlike state, and a strange symbolism is invented during the process, and leads to tangential and abstract thinking about things. The end result is not only an arrangement of lines, shapes, and colors, but also an arrangement of thoughts, presented here in a specific sequence.

The accompanying text complements the collages and balances the page spreads, while attempting to inject some literal sense into the book.

(sample page spread)