Rand Carlson - Armed & Dangerous

Collage seems to be a medium of this modern world. It mimics the elements of thought, emotions, and even a diverse society. A collection of similar and dissimilar pieces quilted together to form a new larger whole, a composite reality.

I was attracted to the idea of taking virtually worthless castoffs found at swap meets, yard sales, and thrift stores, and disconnecting the colors, patterns and letters from their original context of holidays, decorations, and general kitsch. I have thousands of these pieces stored and cataloged. Adhered onto wood panels by hundreds of small brass tacks, the work obtains a permanence not evident in its earlier incarnation. The bright colors printed on the tin become my palette, fractured images my lexicon.

Harvesting auto nameplates from wrecking yards to use as 3D narratives allowed me to initiate my wordplay into the collage. I have been a cartoonist for over 30 years. I began utilizing cliches and common catchphrases to play off the tin imagery. Literally busting the letters apart and recombining them with their unlike cousins gave the work a cutapart, ransom note quality.

The element of recycling is also a contemporary notion in the art. To reuse and reinvent these materials into a conceptual whole that borrows from folk art, and even a manufacturing environment, morphing into a ‘new’ object.

New meaning can be found by just rearranging existing elements. Did you know that you can turn ‘DODGE RAM’ into ‘GOD DREAM’? Cookies become mountains, bubbles become clouds, a circus tent becomes a fiery sunset. I let the fragments tell me who they want to be in this new metal afterlife.

Rand Carlson