Pulp and Circumstance

“Pulp and Circumstance” is the title I gave to a set of collages made in the winter of 2017-18. Life’s circumstances had led me to recoil from the outer world and retreat into the haven of collage. I made most of these collages laying in bed using (miracle of technology) a “Wacom Mobile Studio Pro” graphics tablet. I surfed the web for old pulp magazine covers and similar illustrations to use as source material, and worked up one design after another which I posted on my Instagram profile as soon as they were ready.

I’ve always been enamored of the pulp magazines; sci-fi, detective, and otherwise, and otherwise. The sheer fecundity of the outpouring of imagination into these cheaply printed publications is astonishing, and the imagery, with that hunky-dory all-American robustness, has a certain homogeneity which I find useful for the “seamless” style of collage that I favor. What I mean by “seamless” is that the finished collage looks as though it is not a collage at all, but the illustration work of one artist. A successful example of this is “Insanity Claws” a kind of Norman Rockwell-like Xmas satire:

“Insanity Claws”, digital collage, 2017

This image combined the cover of a sleaze paperback novel about a Parisian prostitute with a saccharine vintage Christmas Eve image of an elfin Santa beaming over a couple of small children sleeping innocently in a green easy chair. A lot of careful retouching had to be done to get the girl to fit in the chair. I added the Freddy Krueger style fish-knife gloves, and replaced the children’s book illustrations with kinky porn images. The result is a pretty “seamless” collage that gives the illusion of being the vintage relic of one demented illustrator of yesteryear.