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Fragments and Shrapnel: An Inspiring Collage

It may shock you to learn that I am not a ducks in bonnets type of person. I don’t do go to craft fairs and I don’t have cozies for my toaster and toilet paper. I don’t have wallpaper runners along my ceiling and no stenciled art on the walls. I’m more of a mobile made out of shards of glass and tire shreds type of person. So, when I read books on creativity that tell me to make a collage, I usually skip over that chapter. Collages never really inspired me (despite the fact I’m a very visual person) and I don’t have a whole lot of wall space for them. Some of the ideas seemed a little too vague for me to get out my scissors and glue: Make a collage for what you want to do with your life, for how you want to look, for the type of car, lifestyle, and whatever else you want in your life. No thanks.

I changed my tune one day when I found myself thinking about all the things I don’t have like more money, an unlimited travel budget and condo in New York City. Simple things, really. Instead of going down the spiral of shame and poverty, I decided to make a collage to bring inspire me to be more creative and bring these things into my life.

Before I made the collage, I sat down and made a list of all the places I’ve traveled and things I’ve seen that made me feel alive and creative. My list included:

New York City
Munich
Paris
The theater
Neat houses
Concerts

Once I had my list, I thought about the reasons why I liked these places. Most of them have music, art and a certain energy with which I could connect. I then went a little deeper to places in Munich or Paris I really liked and cut out images. Here is a picture of the collage I made (click on the image for a larger version) and I’ll explain the images starting at the top left and going clockwise:

House: I saw this house in SE Portland one day and it took my breath away. It was for sale and I couldn’t even imagine how much it was selling for but I knew I had twelve cents in my pocket for a down payment. I stood outside gaping at the house and thought about what I could do if I lived there. I would hold fabulous dinner parties, learn how to paint, invite creative people over and have brilliant discussions. I was so inspired by the house I went home and wrote a poem about it. I don’t write poems.

CBGBs: When I was in high school, some girls had the mall or California as their ultimate ideal. For me, it was CBGB’s. Every up and coming musician and punk group I enjoyed got their start there and it was a place I wanted to visit. Unfortunately, I was unable to go to CBGBs before it closed but I still find to be very inspiring.

Champs Elysees, Paris: Some people don’t like Paris, I loved it. I loved the food, the culture, the art and standing on top of the Arc de Triomphe made me feel alive. Some day I’ll go back, maybe with my friend Shonna since she speaks French and we’ll eat pain au chocolate and drink good wine.

Theatre des Champs Elysees: I love concerts and music and this concert hall, while I have never been here, just looks inspiring even while empty. I could only imagine crowds roaring after a particularly well played piece is performed. I want one for my living room.

Statue in Munich: When my husband and I were in Munich in 2006, I saw this statue while I was crossing a bridge. I had to stop and take a picture because she looked so happy and tranquil while she enjoyed her place in the sun.

Justice Card: This image is from the Justice card in the Shadowscapes Tarot Deck. It’s a reminder for me to find balance in everything I do. I have on this collage to remind me that my e-mails and Facebook can wait when I get home from work and I should do some writing first.

Hallway in the Hotel Chelsea: Much like CBGB’s, writers and musicians I love lived and overdosed here at some point in their career. But they created magical things and most importantly, believed in what they were doing. I walked by the Chelsea Hotel when I was in New York City and breathed in all it had to offer and read the plaques on the walls. When I go back to NYC again, I want stay there, even if it is just for a night.

I obviously don’t have enough $$ to buy the house or go to New York City but the least I can do is bring them to me. What about you? What sort of collages or art projects can you make to bring more inspiration into your life? Drop me a line and let me know what you created. I’d love to hear back from you!

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About Anna Alexander

I am a freelance writer and producer living in the Pacific Northwest. My husband and I live with our cat Grendel who lets us pay his mortgage.

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