What It Is: We're Hosting Some Collage Events

We are living in odd times. Times when the image of a flower projected by capitalism supplants the original flower as found in Nature. Times when our government seems like the work of a bizarre surrealist. Times when people under 30 have changed sexes more than once. Times when the execution of black children by civil servants is permitted and celebrated. Times when you rarely see a watermelon with seeds (yet we know that watermelons grow from seeds like all other plants), and food has become a vessel for poison rather than nutrition.

In these odd times the medium of collage has become strangely relevant. Collage follows the same post-modern thread as hip hop music, recontextualizing the shackles of commodified culture into a material that depicts new narratives, empowers self-actualization, and ultimately creates a means to shape our reality rather than be shaped by it. When confronted with an image collage does not ask, “What is the truth that this natural image conveys?”  Instead collage asks, “What obscured truth can I reveal with this image?” Collage destabilizes the fragile matrix of truth and signification constructed by capitalism, and replaces it with a culture that rewards authoring new narratives.

Whether surreal, sublime, abstract, bizarre, or otherwise, collage is the medium of our times. And no city captures this more accurately than Los Angeles. As any Angeleno can tell you Los Angeles is not about any of the lists, articles, or stories you can read, hear, or find otherwise. Los Angeles is a complex array of cultures that overlap, intersect, and commingle, and Los Angeles amounts to what you make of it. New York has an ongoing narrative, and you have to get with the program. Los Angeles is an open offering, a blank slate, and it’s up to each of us to author the program. And while we all share a common notion of LA, our individual stories of what we experience here is all our truths can be made of. A great life in LA comes from having an intimate and dynamic relationship with the cultures that define the city’s geography, and understanding how to utilize what the city has to offer.

The collagist’s toolbox is populated with the refuse of capitalism: books and magazines bought for cheap at yard sales, used book stores, flea markets, and other economic sectors that don’t occupy the sexy stratosphere of United States consumerism. In this way a collagist is just like an Angeleno understanding how to make use of all that the city has to offer. It’s not about going to the most expensive obvious places and following the story that’s been told. Los Angeles is epitomized by the people who seek out what is hidden, and weave together disparate elements of a diverse city in order to actualize their Los Angeles. The truth of Los Angeles is not to be found in the institutionalized stories of Los Angeles. The truth of Los Angeles is found in Angelenos acceptance, rejection, modification of, and adaptation to, those institutionalized notions of what Los Angeles is.

For 3 weeks in August Twin Beast is proud to present a series of collage events intended to entice, incite, and unify creative Angelenos seeking something meaningful to participate in. We are working with Chinatown gallery Nous Tous–with additional support from Los Angeles Collage Collective–to curate an art show and 3 weeks of programming: a reception, a workshop, and an open critique.

The reception (Aug 12)  will be a celebration of the unveiling of new works by a broad range of local artists, along with a small selection of works from artists abroad. The workshop (Aug 19) is free to attend, and we’ll provide materials, refreshments, and giveaways. The critique (Aug 26) is open to the public, and artists will hear feedback from creative professionals in music, fashion, television production, and more.

These events are all free and open to the public. We encourage people of all sorts to come out and have a good time with other people in OUR community. In these times we recognize that it is easy to fall into believing that our nation is defined by our government, or similarly biased and hateful institutions. So we are seeking to be proactive and provide a robust demonstration of what Los Angeles means to artists. 2 of the 3 events feature people whose work is not in the show, and our aim is to create a worthwhile experience for local creatives to participate in. It’s not just something to go to, and be associated with. We are looking to the future, we want to give people experiences that they’re not getting anywhere else, and we are focused on creating something that never prioritizes an individual over the group.