Cover by Jayde Hilliard

EMG-Zine Entrance
Printed Anthologies
Free Download of Volume 1!

August 2009

August 2009 -- Wizards

Gallery

Columns

  • Wombat Droppings:
    Adventures in Assemblage
  • Behind the Art:
    Partners, Part 2
  • Part Time Painter:
    Meditation and the Part-Time Painter
  • EMG News:
    News for August
  • Artist Spotlight:
    Interview with Karyn Lewis

    Features

  • Fishing for Free Art

    Fiction

  • Poem: Wizardly Assistance
  • Fiction: Fiddle-Faddle

    Comics

  • Tomb of the King: Scepter, Part 1


    Staff
    Search EMG-Zine
    Contact
    Archives

    EMG-Zine Mailing List:
    Name:
    E-mail:

    Or Support us with a subscription or anthology purchase!
  • Adventures in Assemblage
    Wombat Droppings
    by Ursula Vernon

    So over the last week, I've been fooling with a new artform.

    It's called "assemblage" which in practice means "Lots of stuff you didn't make, slapped together in strange new ways". Somewhere between sculpture and collage. You can find a lot of fascinating assemblage art online -- Michael de Meng is a favorite of mine -- you can also find a lot of dreadful schlock, of course. Often the dreadful schlock is put out by intensely sincere people and comes with agonizingly earnest statements about the positive energy the world is sending their way on this glorious journey called life, all of which makes your jaded and cynical Aunt Ursula die a little inside and go for the bottle.

    It's not that it's bad art, either. That's the killer. Sure, plenty of it is recycled Victorian barf, but there's a lot of stuff that's actually quite competent and you want to grab people and go "You're good! This is good stuff! You don't need to put "Dream! Hope! Create!" on everything, for Christ's sake!"

    Then I think these things and feel horrifically guilty, because A) these people seem so earnest and well-meaning and no one should make them feel ashamed of their work, and B) who am I judge what makes something art, and just because I find all these random happy phrases cloying doesn't make it bad and C) for all I know, somebody out there has "Inspire! Grow! Create!" on their wall and it's helping.

    This may fall into one of my mother's axioms -- namely that just because something is good therapy doesn't necessarily mean it's good art. Unfortunately, if I start analyzing these things too closely, I have to lump "art" in with "evil", in that I have no good definition but I think I know it when I see it.

    (Completely and totally unrelated, I really need to get some of these wine glasses out of the studio or I'm going to have to start drinking like Hemingway, out of coffee mugs.)

    Maybe there are two kinds of people in the world. Given the option to put text on a piece of found-object art, some people choose "miracle" and "be the change you want to see happen!" and some people choose "and then the fish ate my head."

    No, wait -- there are at least three kinds of people in the world, because some grizzled old artists growl about putting text of any kind of art and when you suggest it they tell you that if you want to go slapping text on things, go write a damn book already. I have met several of these. The Detroit area seems home to a lot of them.

    Probably there's four, because some people, given the option, will write in Spanish or Latin or Esperanto or binary, just so you don't know. This is a respectable option. Possibly it's the most respectable option, because then nobody knows if what you're saying is cloying or not.

    I don't know. Probably it's not the artists' fault. Doing this, you alternate between the craft store and the hardware store, and I've noticed that practically everything with text suitable for grafting that you can find at a craft store is all scrapbooking stuff with dozens of inspiring words on it, like a magnet poetry kit designed by Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, before the horrible thresher accident that turned her into the tormented bell-ringing hunchback of -- wait, no, that didn't really happen. (God, wouldn't that be cool, though?) So you're pretty much stuck with "love" and "hope" and "faith" and nobody's bothered to put out pre-cut text with the seven deadly sins and "die in a fire." (Enterprising readers take note! There is clearly a niche here!)

    Anyway, the assemblage is cool. I'm spending way too much money on parts, but there all these neat problems that I don't yet know the solutions to, so it's a lot of fun. I seem to be building shrines to fish at the moment. Go figure.

    Ursula Vernon
    Would you like to support our contributors? As a subscriber, you could use your subscription fee to pay this author for their work, as well as receive lots of extra subscriber perks!



    Fantasy coloring books from Ellen Million Graphics Get a pre-made portrait, ready to go! A 48 hour creative jam for artists An e-zine for fantasy artists and writers A shared world adventure

    Return To EMG-Zine Entrance

    All graphics on these pages are under copyright. Webpage design copyrighted by Ellen Million Graphics. All content copyrighted by the creating artist. If you find anything which is not working properly, please let me know!

    Ellen Million Graphics Main Page

    EMG powered by: a few minions and lots of enchanted search frogs
    --

    Random artwork
    from this issue: