Collage artist has world at his fingertips
Internationally known himself, Jonathan Talbot of Warwick, N.Y., is literally putting artists from all over the world on the map.
As a painter and collage artist who sometimes uses fabric in his mixed- media pieces, he has recently launched an interactive site, http://www.theartsmap.com, that connects artists around the world and provides information on their studio locations.
At this time, Talbot has 3,300 listings in 61 countries.
He calls this project social art.
“The medium is people, and the canvas is the world,” he says.
Collage is an art form in which bits of objects — newspaper, cloth, pressed flowers, fabric, etc. — are pasted together on a surface in incongruous relationship for their symbolic effect.
Mesa State College students and residents of the Western Slope will have a rare opportunity this month to study with Talbot and hear him speak at a series of free public lectures.
He will be the final visiting artist of the college’s academic year and will be in Grand Junction from Monday through May 2.
Talbot’s work has been exhibited at the National Academy and Museum of Modern Art in New York, and he has represented the United States overseas through events sponsored by the State Department and Smithsonian Institution.
For the past 40 years, Talbot, 70, has made a living from his art, having sold an impressive 30,000 pieces of his work, he says.
He is the author of two books, “Collage: A New Approach” and a workbook on developing a marketing and action plan.
At times, Talbot incorporates fabric into his collages, such as one in which he used silk with a paper Japanese umbrella.
In a piece titled “Sailor’s Dream,” he conveyed his message with a piece of string, a wooden stick and an antique map.
“The integrity of the art is most important, and it should reflect the experience of its creator,” Talbot says.
He refers to one of his students, Laura Breitman, who uses pieces of fabric in her designs.
At her site, http://www.laurabreitman.com, some of her work featuring trees can easily be mistaken for paintings. In one piece, titled “Harriet’s Music Room,” variations of fabric are noticeable, yet the work is exquisitely executed.
While in Grand Junction, Talbot will show work by various collage artists who use fabric and demonstrate some techniques for doing so.
He also has developed a method of applying papers and fabrics without the use of wet adhesives. This allows for greater spontaneity and more precise placement of materials. At the same time, the method eliminates wrinkles through gluing without disassembly.
In addition to the Mesa State venues, Talbot will make a free presentation from 6 to 7 p.m. April 29 at Hi Fashion Fabrics. Seating is limited; call 242-1890 for reservations.
His personal work at this time centers on a series Talbot created in 2008 called “The Bachelors: Variations on a Theme by Marcel Duchamp.”
The subjects include a calvaryman, a policeman, a priest, a delivery boy and an undertaker.
In one collage, they are introduced to the statue of Venus de Milo; in another, they reject her because of her imperfections.
The bachelors’ adventures have just begun for Talbot, who says “there will be a bachelor’s party.”
“I’m looking at many possibilities for them” — psychological, metaphysical, sociological expressions, he says.
At Mesa State, Talbot will cover such topics as the business and marketing of art; math, computers and art; women and art; technical innovations; and arts-centered art education.
About education, Talbot says, “I’m a firm believer that art should be a core curriculum in education, not the other way around. Art involves math, history and all the other subjects.”
All of us are creative artists in many ways, he says.
“More than any other visual art medium, collage is a metaphor for life, offering a nearly infinite choice of materials and creative possibilities.”
So readers, take advantage of Talbot’s expertise and valuable experience over these next two weeks, either through one of his workshops or through any number of free talks.
You can learn more about him and see his collages at http://www.talbot1.com.
E-mail Sherida.Warner@ gjsentinel.com.