As a collage artist you inevitable use other people’s stuff. There are the old books and magazines that someone may have read or not. When you get to old maps, there is often a greater amount of residual energy. Was it a map that traveled around Europe in a backpack belonging to someone inspired by The Drifters 40 years ago? Maybe it was a map that spent a life in a glove box and occasionally witnessed those stressful where-the-hell-are-we arguments on stressful car trips? There are times I feel my dreams are influenced by materials I handle all day while making art.
Old postage stamps can have a whole other level of energy. Mostly I use old, cancelled postage stamps. The envelopes cut apart, the stamps soaked from the paper and dried. All those steps, and there still may be the physical evidence of residual DNA from a long ago sender’s saliva. And more significantly, the old stamps can contain the residual metaphysical energy from the letter’s contents.
Today I was working on a new collage made with old postage stamps. I started along the edge and used a batch of 10¢ Jefferson Memorial stamps from the 1970’s. Each stamp was identical but with a different history. I began to wonder what type of letter was each stamp affixed to. Was it a bill that someone struggled to pay? An application for college? A rejection letter from an employer? A love letter? A Dear John letter? A birthday card? Each stamp linked to it’s own story, now lost but yet somehow still attached to the individual stamp’s history. Decades later that stamp, and in a way that story, becoming part of something else, a new piece of art.