frenchtown fiber

Chris Mundy and Kate House try to make art while navigating the crap life throws at them.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Joseph Cornell

"...the collision and recombination of ideas..." I grabbed that snippet of a quote from a website I was just on about Joseph Cornell. He is one of my favorite artists and very influential to me. And a lot of other people, too, apparently. I see some artists on Etsy making Cornell-style boxes and I wonder if they are even aware of the guy who started it all. I've made a couple of boxes myself, I should track those down. Probably in the attic somewhere.
You can google Joseph if you'd like, but I'll give you some basic info. He was born in NYC december 24, 1903. He was a very shy person, and stayed out of the limelight most of his life, even after he gained notariety for his work. He would make his assemblages from fragments he found from scouring bookshops and thrift stores. Back then, you could not buy collage sheets of intersting images, you had to hunt the stuff down. Actually, that's pretty much how it was up until the 1990's. The popularity of scrap booking created an industry for all kinds of mixed media elements.
He lived in the same house most of his life, taking care of his mother and his brother, who had cerebral palsy. You can see fron his work that the guy had a beautiful inner life. I think I love art like his, and also outsider artists, because it is so unique. Not influenced by the pop culture of the time. Joseph Cornell died in 1972.
I'm going to do a series of blogs on artists that have influenced me.