Bricolage, a French term for tinkering, is used in the arts to describe a creation constructed from a variety of diverse resources–mostly readily available materials.
The notion appeals to me; not only as a process of art-making, but as the essence of art itself. Seeing an object not only for what it is–but what it may become is a wonderful approach. Even a cursory review of my artworks through the years certainly speaks to this concept–as does the toolbag, workbench and junk drawer. Each holds an assemblage that might be junk, but hold some promise of artistic use. Brass C-rings have found their way into wearable art, failed watercolors have metamorphosed into butterflies, and left-over paint has been splattered on used Tyvek envelopes, resulting in book covers.
Not that there isn’t joy in fresh, new papers and paint. One of my favorite smells is still a new box of crayons, and there is nothing more lovely than a newly stretched canvas. But there’s sometimes more fun in tinkering that can result in serious work. Assemblages have been considered fine art since Georges Braque and Picasso coined the term collage. Robert Rauschenberg’s “Combines” moved the concept further to fully incorporate found objects in his canvases.
Isn’t that what all art is? It is sometimes said that there is no new art, that each painting, song, dance or poem is informed by previous works. Works by oneself, by other artists–and of course, the world around us. Even those early painters spreading pigment on cave walls at Lascaux were creating images of animals seen that day. There seems to be some synaptic twist in the artist brain that ignites a path from observation to execution without hesitation. I’m sure it has to do with following the urge to create.
At this point in my life where I’ve accumulated a number of skills, and resulting artworks, it seems time to organize them into some sort of collection.Serendipitously I was asked by fellow artist Brenda Smoak to participate in her Artists Tell Their Stories, “52 Artists in 52 Weeks” project. Smoak’s concept is to have one artist a week showcase a representative piece of work, and talk about it. This pushed me into creating a portfolio site. As I perused the many domain names I’ve accrued, it became obvious that the one that speaks most clearly to my eclectic collection of works is “les Bricolages.” While I know the Marketing 101 rule of only promoting one genre at a time, most of what makes me an artist is that one work leads me to another.
So, once the Byzantine configurations between domain host and site host meld–les Bricolages will be launched. It has been great fun collecting and configuring works from the past forty years, and a number of new ideas have cropped up–which is a bricolage in action.