Monday, December 7, 2015

Digital Collages

My Room (click to enlarge)

I got the idea of digital collage from a student named Emily. Her work inspired me and so this is the first one I did. Like most of my creative work, it is autobiographical.

There are zillions of components to each image. The radio and all its parts are constructed.

I started with "My Room because I spent much of time my time at home alone in my room—my parents being of the "children should be neither seen nor heard" school of child husbandry. On the downside, I was often pining for escape; on the upside, my imagination thrived. Hence the interior of my room feeling dark whereas outside is warm, bright and inviting.

The stork as the source of babies story was huge when I was small; I wondered if adopted babies were stork-delivered like "normal" babies.

I had come from a Catholic orphanage and I believed passionately as I grew, in everything the church taught me. I thought if I strayed from God's rules, I would have to go back to the orphanage.

As a kid I thought daffodils were yellow because they stored sunshine.

We had a huge radio in our living room like the one in the photo. It, too, fired my imagination. When it delivered music, I felt rapture. The radio was a portal to places over the rainbow and to Mockingbird Hill.

By the time I left my room, I was a teenager. I felt I'd been raised "in the dark" about life, my past and my parents. I felt so confused and alone as my sexuality emerged in a way I neither expected nor understood. I had no idea what "gay" was.

I have a little costume in my hand made of Wallace tartan. Wallace tartan was the official symbol of the high school I began at age 11. It was the beginning of my escape.


During my puberty my adopted mother had strokes that worsened her depression. She lost her personality and mobility. She never got out of bed until, ultimately, she was institutionalized. My adopted father turned his back on me and so I thought a lot about my real mother. Who was she? Was she rich, poor, educated, alive? Why did she give me up.

At age 45, I found her and she told me her story. She left me behind to pursue a career on the stage. She did a great job of it. She said she never forgot me and wondered about my life, so I created this collage of a woman, costumed and on a stage looking out at the world.

The bluebird is happiness. The birds on her shoulder reference the birds in Walt Disney's Cinderella, another orphan with a false mother who loved nature and animals.

She has red Gerbera daisies because florists use them to represent innocence and purity. The Maple leaves are for Canada. The plumb leaves (top) are symbols of strength.

The movie rights to our story have been sold. I await news about its financing. Fingers are crossed. I wrote the screenplay, a much greater homage to my mother than my collage.

As I contemplate the title of my latest script, I enjoy creating images to go with possibilities. One possible title is Falling. If I use it, this will be its image.

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