During this difficult time, I had a couple of flashes for ideas. I don't know how else to describe them than as a flash, so hopefully I've not confused you too much. They're almost like snapshots that click at a superfast rate and have something of a dreamlike quality to them. I usually have these flashes while I'm out walking the dog, and that's exactly where these took place.
As a collage artist, I am always scanning the ground for interesting items which have been discarded or had the misfortune of being carried away from their owner by a massive gust of wind. Essentially, it's trash. I like trash. People so often throw away the most amazing things! Before moving to England I got rid of my trash collection, apart from a few bits and bobs. It was a heart-crushing moment for me. But now that I'm kinda-sorta settled, I have resumed my trash collecting in Britain (the thought has just occurred to me that, as such, I'll probably be forced to refer to the practice as rubbish collection). During one of my searches, I came across a real find: old Golliwog coupons! Don't feel bad if you don't know what a Golliwog is, I didn't either. I still don't know the full story on how they came to be, but for the sake of simplicity suffice it to say that they are to Britain what Sambo are to America. (I should probably have written that last sentence in the past tense, as they're both terms not acceptable today, and rightly so.)
Now, please don't get me wrong when I refer to these coupons as a real find - I'm absolutely not an advocate for racisim in any form and do not support what they stand for. However, they do hold a place in history and I am happy they've landed in my possession, because I can now use them to create a piece of art that explores the deplorable act of slavery and racism.
And that, my friends, was what what of my "flashes" was all about. Creating a new piece of work that incorporates the Golliwog and makes a statement against slavery. I realize this is fairly bold coming from the likes of me. But I think it's fair (if not our obligation) to explore this very unfortunate chapter of history because, like it or not, the effects are still evident and are all around us all of the time. Slavery still exists, just in a different form to the one I'll be exploring. And we all know racisim exists. I alone can't stomp it out, but I can at least share my voice. So the thumbnail above is the quick idea I scribbled in my sketchbook. Today I spent a few hours cutting wood, finding appropriate collage imagery and brainstorming how exactly I'm going to create a Joseph Cornell-like diorama. I'll be sure to keep you updated!