Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Amazing Uses for Vintage Ephemera

We are Ephemeraologists.  We love the look, the feel, the smell and the history behind old paper and trinkets.  Surrounding ourselves with this "stuff" makes us happy.

I love that this blog appeals to collectors, historians and artists.  Ephemera has a wide appeal, but today I'm going to narrow the topic to art - namely, art made from ephemera.

I've done posts about ephemera artists before (here, here and here) and I will continue to share ephemera artists with you, because I feel it's important to show how ephemera can be used this way.  I love how each of these artists have a completely different take on how to express themselves using ephemera.  A piece that I've done won't look at all like anyone else's work - our "paintbrush" is everyday scraps, much like a painter uses oils or acrylics or a sculptor uses clay.

Andy Burgess, "Milwaukee: Where Particular People Meet"
Vintage Ephemera collage and acrylic paint on panel, 10 X 20"
Which brings me to our first artist - Andy Burgess.  My friend Amy sent me a link to an exhibit of his that's currently showing at the Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee, and I got that "groupie" feeling.  Whenever I 
find an artist whose work I adore (like Randel Plowman, Kim Printz, Valerie Roybal, Bill Zindel, Sarah Bridgeland, Sherry Thurner, etc.) I get so inspired to try new things with my own art work.  It revives my interest in my medium all over again!  I love how Andy uses old matchbooks, postcards and advertising to make a city scape. The show runs through February 3 and I will be in Milwaukee before then, so I WILL go see this.  I'm so excited!

Ghost of a Dream, "Dream Home" (2009), installation
$70,000 worth of discarded lottery tickets, found objects

This next artist won't be so easy to see in a gallery setting - I believe it's either in Copenhagen or Switzerland (hard to tell from their info page).  The collective called Ghost of a Dream, which is currently represented by the Davidson Contemporary in New York, created this unbelievable installation called "Dream Home" with $70,000 worth of discarded lottery tickets.  If you go to their site, you can see close-up shots of this incredible exhibit.  This kind of work makes me wonder what it is I do all day - can you imagine how long this took to create?  It's no surprise that a collective made this - if one person did it, it could take YEARS!

These are just two examples of art made from everyday life. If you wondered why I adore ephemera and use it in my artwork, these piece may just give you a glimpse into my psyche.  I hope they inspire you, my dear readers, to examine your own collection and appreciate just how beautiful it is, even when it's not being repurposed to hang on someone's wall.  :)


  1. Thanks for sharing this - I love using vintage papers in collage work, so I was interested in his work.

  2. SHERRY! You are one of my favorite ephemera collagists as well! Hold on - I have to add you to my list. There! Done! :D

  3. Wonderful stuff! Thanks, as always, for sharing!! Burgess' work is stunning.