November 7, 2008

Get a Hobby

Before technology left cassette tapes in the dust I would make friends mixed tapes as a hobby. I would buy the 120 minute play and spend hours going through my collection to blend songs together. To top off the fun for myself I would collage the covers of the tapes with the playlists on the back side. I wish I could say I came up with the collage idea myself but I got that from a brilliant artist friend of mine. No matter, people really seemed to enjoy the collages and I was able to apply my hobby to my costume design class projects with great academic success.

I moved on to mixing and collaging CDs instead of tapes once people were no longer listening to tapes in their cars or on Walkmans (Walkmen?) for that matter. Collaging CD covers were much easier but mixing a CD wasn't as much fun. It was harder to get a sense of what songs would be good where. While recording a tape I could listen to a song and pick what would come after. It gave me so much more time and continuity to the mix- if a song didn't blend well into the other I could just record over it with a new song. When mixing a CD all I can really do is pick a song, see how it moves from the other song and hope for the best. My CDs are still pretty popular (as popular as it can be with my brother, sister, and dad) but they just don't satisfy me musically like my tapes did.

Now I only make them for the occasional gift or a Christmas mix every year and even then it's not that exciting. Everyone has a digital music player and if I make them a mix it just goes on the player and gets lost amongst the rest of the music. It's almost pointless to try to make it a continuous mood or feeling- it gets lost in the end.

I'm okay with not making the mixes anymore but I really miss having the outlet collage gave me. Like real collage artists I would hoard magazines or other print materials if I thought I could use them for my designs later. It's the only pack ratty thing about me. (FYI- Harper's Bazaar is great for images to collect and get ideas from, teen magazines have fun colors, and Target ads have great art to steal.) I just don't feel inspired much anymore. I don't have the room to really spread out and look at my pieces and sometimes my ideas are a little too abstract for the three people who want/get the CDs. My favorite collage is just a bunch of eyeballs that look to be drawn with colored pencils that I cut and pasted over a grey background- you have to see it- but my brother, who received it, likes it the least. I would even say he cringed. You can't please everyone.

So I'm trying to figure out how to fit collage into my life without the context of mixed CD making. I've thought about collage gift cards and putting them up for sale on Etsy but I would need to get a scanner and printer and Photoshop for my computer. Otherwise each card would be its own collage and that would be insanely time consuming. But it's something. Until then I need a new hobby that fulfills me like collage did.


Tina said...

I always loved looking at your collages and costume design projects. I liked how you incorporated different textures visually without even using 3D materials. One way to mix it up is to turn "collage" into "decoupage" by gluing paper onto old furniture, picture frames, boxes, photo album covers, etc., then covering with a special paint. use them as gifts or to decorate with your own art!

belleshpgrl said...

That could be a lot of fun! I could get stuff at flea markets and yard sales and go to town! I love that idea!! Ohhh the possibilities...

abz said...

Making mix tapes was a challenge!! You had to put work into merging songs melodically into one another without too much white noise. I was something of a self-proclaimed expert when it came to diving for the "REC" button when a good song came on the radio... then I would spend hours remixing with the dual cassette system I had. Lawl.

But it's always good to find a fellow collage lover. I enjoy it so much but can hardly find the time anymore.

Abbie said...

decoupage is lot of fun. Mod Podge is an easy glue too, you can find it at any craft store in multiple types of finishes.

I still have some nostalgia for act of recording a mix tape. However, I think I put together a lot better mix on a cd. You just have to be careful that the ease of burning a cd doesn't get in the way of crafting the perfect mix. I listen to mixes a dozen times before i give them to the intended person to make sure that the tone and the song order is right. Yup, I'm a total loser. :-)

belleshpgrl said...

You are not a loser, Abbie, but an artiste.