Fragmented Childhoods: A Series in the Works…

A year ago, I made a collage for an art class I was taking at Agnes Scott College. We were given a list of prompts to choose from that would inspire a creative work. The prompt I chose stated, “Build a fragment that contains your childhood memories.” So, I did exactly that. I created a collage based upon a vivid memory I had as a child. Around for years old, I was given a kitten that I named, ‘Sleepy.’ Unfortunately, Sleepy did not live for very long. Upon returning home, from volunteering at Piedmont Hospital with my mother, I spotted my father walking in the driveway. My mother shouted at him because, the minute he saw us drive up, he immediately turned the other way and began running towards the backyard (so that I would not see what he was carrying). My mother yelled again and, as he turned back towards us, I noticed that his hands were covered in blood. My father screamed something like, “ANGIE! I’LL TELL YOU WHAT I’M DOING IN A MINUTE.” Stunned, I asked my mom about the blood on Dad’s hands. I can’t remember the exact response she gave me, but I think it was something like, “Maybe Dad cut himself.” After he had cleaned up, he came back around and explained that Sleepy had passed. She had followed him outside and, unfortunately, my dad had slammed the car door shut at the exact moment Sleepy had decided to jump into the vehicle. Poor Sleepy! Oh, well. She wasn’t very nice, so I wasn’t that fond of her. She bit me all the time and, quite truthfully, I was terrified of her. However, she was my kitten so naturally I was in a bit of shock.Β 

Another vivid childhood memory of mine is wearing a patch over my already thick glasses at school. I remember feeling like an absolute dork that was constantly being laughed at. I loved my patches though… unicorns and rainbows and hearts. I was born with a crossed eye, and one of the ways the doctors treat crossed eyes is to have the child wear a patch over the “stronger” eye in order to make the “weaker” one stronger.Β Basically, I worked the original collage around the memory of Sleepy. I then added bits and pieces of other childhood memories to enhance the composition. One those memories is a quirky one. For some reason, fabrics stick out in my mind when I think back to my childhood. My mother had this pale yellow chair in our den, which everyone fought over. Every time we came home, my brother and I would race to that chair. For, whoever got there first, got to sit there. Unless my dad overruled us.Β I created most of the original collage on the face of a cheap panel board (used for painting). (If you wish to view the original, click HERE). I cut fabric, paper, drawings, etc and strategically glued them to the board. Unsatisfied, I took a blank stretched canvas and turned it over. I then glued the collaged board in the center. I loved the way the back of the canvas was framing the collage, but I thought it needed something more so I wrote the first things that came to mind, when I thought about my childhood, along the wooden frame. Anyways, I was never satisfied with the original. The composition wasn’t working for me because I wasn’t fond of the way in which I rendered my cat’s eye.

I have had ideas, about creating a collage, brewing in my head for quite some time now. Funny how creations develop… I had never created a collage in Photoshop before so that is why I put off making one for so long. I was fearful of the frustration I would go through in order to render what I wanted. However, when I spotted my art class collage randomly one day, I was suddenly motivated to deal with and overcome my fear of Photoshop. I delved right in. I got frustrated, sure, but then I googled my frustrations out by searching for answers. I compiled various photographs of mine into my original collage. I cut away the parts I couldn’t stand and added bits and pieces of my children’s childhoods… what I have witnessed, while watching them experience the same age I was; the same age I was when my brain pinpointed these moments to stick as vivid memories. My son turned four last weekend… I included a photo of my daughter Lennon blowing bubbles, taken at his birthday party. I also used multiple versions of a lone bubble photograph (I had shot at that same birthday party) to add depth to the composition. Other photographs were added and chopped up as well but, I’ll leave those for you to wonder about. πŸ˜‰

Most of you might not even read this and some of you probably don’t even care to know this much about my art work. But, I feel as if it’s important, for my own personal benefit, to include these thoughts because it helps me see the process behind what I am doing; like a journal entry, to look back on one day and re-read what I was thinking at the time I was creating. I hope you will enjoy this collage. I spent many hours on it… who knows if it’ll change in the future, but I am satisfied with it at this moment in time. Β It is definitely different from what I normally post. Although I enjoy and have a passion for photography, I had this burning desire to create a work of art that combined both my photography and the art I enjoy creating. Something that wasn’t just a literal interpretation of what I’m seeing. Please feel free to let me know what you think!

Fragmented Childhoods. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital collage. 2012.

Thank you for taking the time to visit and view my blog!

As always, please feel free to leave any and all feedback.

PEACE, LOVE until my next bloggy-blog post, dear fellow blog-readin’ friends. πŸ™‚

19 thoughts on “Fragmented Childhoods: A Series in the Works…

  1. Polly, I can relate to what you have written. The need to write down your thoughts and pull things together with words and images.
    It’s beautiful how you are layering your memories and your children’s together. I find this fascinating.

    • I’m so glad you can relate! I’m also happy to hear you are enjoying the layering of the two different sets of memories… I wanted to complicate the imagery but in a simple way. If that makes any sense. πŸ˜‰ Thank you so much for your feedback!

  2. I, too, have collages and paintings that I am unsatisfied with at the time of creation. I have learned to hold them aside; we are always learning as artists and there might come a time when I have finally “learned” how to resolve the “problem” I had with a piece I created a while ago. We are always evolving our skills–why shouldn’t our art evolve too?

    • Our art should evolve too! You are so right. Every time I’m unsatisfied with a painting or collage, I obsess over it. It’s almost as if in my head I had a great composition, but I hadn’t evolved to the skill level needed to manifest that great composition. But, it is necessary to step away from works and come back with a fresh eye. It’s all a process, but I have just now discovered the joy in reworking old works. Thanks so much for your comment!

  3. It’s an interesting and intriguing work of art and knowing the background adds to my appreciation. It has a surrealistic quality that I like very much. You are as talented as an artist as a photographer.

    • Thank you! I’m happy to hear you found the background useful/helpful for viewing this work. It definitely has a surrealistic quality to it… for some reason, that is how my mind works. Since I was a child, I have created works in a poetic, symbolist type of way. Thank you so much for your kind words and feedback πŸ™‚

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