The 2016 presidential election results left many feeling a wave of shock and unease. Seattle-based artist Serrah Russell channelled this disquiet into 100 Days of Collage, a series of daily meditations reflecting on the past and the ambiguous future of a newly changing world. They are simple, yet remarkably layered - fusing disparate images from issues of National Geographic and various fashion magazines to build a narrative that combines defeatist confusion with a glimmer of molotov, hope and resistance. Russell captions each piece with titles like "And how we have kept quiet," "This is to protect you, they said," and "The stars have died, but we won't know for years to come," -- words that could serve as their own book of poems or revolutionary wall scribblings, and recall many of the cryptic passages in Margaret Atwood's classic The Handmaid's Tale. An appropriate subtitle for the project could be the novel's line of resistance: "Nolites Te Bastardes Carborundorum" ("Don't Let The Bastards Grind You Down.") Russell is presently fundraising to produce a large format book of the work through a series of one-day-only flash sales. Behold Serrah Russell's 100 Days of Collage. We've included her statement at the end of this post, so scroll, look and read on.
To learn more about Serrah Russell's larger practice, read this interview on Lenscratch.
Many things culminated to bring about this body of work. At the end of 2016, I was finally getting settled into my new home, complete with a studio all my own. I was ready to start seeing what I could make with this new space, but unsure where to begin. Then the results of the 2016 election came in. I was suddenly feeling a lot of unexpected emotions and seeking a way to process them. A friend of mine began a similar project of 100 Days of Painting around that time and it was inspiring to witness how therapeutic it felt to her process of creation and to me as a viewer. It inspired me to begin my own project. "100 Days of Collage" has been a way for me to set up a ritual of creating. I have begun to see making as an act of daily meditation, a ritual for reflection, and a place to speak. I believe that my work feels most true when it comes from a personal place, influenced by my surroundings and my experiences and during this time, I was feeling a lot and was compelled to do something. Of course, there is so much more that I can do to help and to make change besides making art, but for me, art is building the ground floor. It is a means for self-care, a way to be heard, listen and to understand. And so I began. And so I continued. I admit that there were many days that I was tired, that I was uninspired, that I felt like I had nothing to say or I was saying something no one wanted to hear. But there was never a day that I regretted spending the time, in the quiet of the night in my studio. - Serrah Russell. 3/15/2017