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Darlene Hagopian

Independent Artist and Program Assistant, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Diary of an Artist

Diary of an Artist.
Unique artist’s book.
Collage using Photoshop, Illustrator, and Pagemaker; laserprint.
4” x 3.5” (closed); 4” x 20.5” (opened)

I work with fiber, paper, and clay, and view the creative process as an evolving learning experience. In my attempt to evolve, I challenged myself to leave the three dimensional realm I work in, which is guided by my hands and touch, to weave words and images with a mouse on my computer.

I wanted to produce an artist’s book with layers of images and meaning, so I read 100 Allegories to Represent the World by Peter Greenaway and The Catalogue by Marshall Weber. They inspired me to work in collage, so I studied collage techniques in The Collage Handbook by John & Joan Digby and Collage: A Complete Guide for Artists by Anne Brigadier. I could bring images into my computer using a scanner, collage or composite them in Adobe Photoshop, then add the text with Adobe Illustrator, and lay it all out in Adobe PageMaker.

Research is something I do before starting new projects, but I enjoy it so much it almost becomes an end in itself. The amount of material I had gathered was completely overwhelming, so I tried to sort it into techniques I would like to try and themes I wanted to communicate. It still had to be narrowed down, so being a person who thinks in motion, I was driving to work one day and it came to me: "Do the book on something you know very well . . . your thoughts at this moment of inertia--the gap between the research and the process of creation." I started with the pages I already could envision, and as I developed familiarity (‘familiarity' meaning not crashing one's computer too often) with the new medium, I “composited” the rest. Before I could lay out the composites, I had to design the format and how the book would fold. Surprisingly I found that after it was all folded and glued together it no longer was a two dimensional object but stood up in the three dimensional space I thought I had left.