08/27/2010 at 12:14 pm 4 comments

Sometime during 1999, I started inexplicably collecting paper things. And not actual paper collectibles, mind you, but the stuff most people would throw away or pass by: ticket stubs, receipts, random newspaper or magazine clippings, cigarette packaging, notes, maps, prayer cards. I don’t know why. I just started doing it. And when it happened, it was absolutely automatic. I’d be walking to lunch with co-workers, and without breaking from the conversation, I’d bend down to pick up some random paper object laying on the street. I wouldn’t examine it, or talk about it. I’d just tuck it into my back pocket for later.

Eventually, all these things would be tossed into an empty plastic bin, and once a week I’d dump it out, sit down, and assemble it all into a small sketchbook as automatically as I’d collected it all. I’d glue things down in no reasonable order, paint over them, write over them. Sometimes spreads would be completed instantly. Other times, they’d be works in progress, spanning a year.

Once assembled, I started to realize these were my photo albums. I didn’t take photos. Didn’t keep a traditional diary. But I could tell you where I found every single piece glued in there. Even all these years later, I can still remember where most of these things came from, and what they meant to me.

The above book is the last one I made while living in Columbus, Ohio. My friend Rachel Hillman called them “Garbage Books,” and I never objected. It was perfect. And below are a few of the spreads. They’re both endearing and terrifying. Much of what’s written in them reads to me like the ramblings of an insane person. I won’t object to that either. After all, I was in my 20s. Who ISN’T insane in their 20s?


Entry filed under: hand-lettering, Illustration, Paintings. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .


4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Frank Cvetkovic  |  08/27/2010 at 12:23 pm

    I have one of these, too! And, like yourself, I had no rhyme or reason to why I started doing it; I just did it.

    (Yours looks a helluva lot better that mine does, though. To be expected, I guess.)

  • 2. Kristopher  |  08/27/2010 at 2:21 pm

    Were you enamored by that Dan Eldon book, too when you were 20? Does this ring a bell at all?

    • 3. dwellephant  |  08/27/2010 at 2:32 pm

      Actually, that thing came out before my 20s. (I’m older than you.) And it was indeed a wonderful thing to look at. But by the time I hit Columbus, it was packed in a box and stored in a basement. You should have seen the tiny “room” my roommates put me in.

  • 4. Viktoria Valenzuela  |  09/23/2010 at 7:22 am

    I remember making collages with you after a lovely evening of garbage ransacking! I still have the book I made for my hubby full of naughty images from the gay nightlife mags we found and tags from Belmont street Chicago…. Oh life. You do amuse me so. Miss you Kiss you like a train against the rails. xoxoxox


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