Telling a New Tale

I took a break in November, following a class called “Every Picture Tells a Story” taught by sculptor and collage artist Melissa Stern. I’ll write more about that class later;  it was excellent.

For now, I’m posting a few pictures (from that class) because they point me in a new direction.  I’ve turned from paper cutting to collage: some torn paper and Tyvek along with hard-edged cuts, and some found imagery (Dover bugs, lizards, snakes) combined with some free-hand cut imagery (“drawn” with scissors).

Here’s a figure from “Slovenly Peter” (a 19th German book of manners for children, reissued many times) that I integrated into a class exercise based on “a memory about eating cake.” Perhaps Augustus Gloop, the little guy seated at the table (a cut out from an illustration in S-P),  ate more cake than was good for his digestion.

Lillian Trettin_artwork

Most stories in “Slovenly Peter” (as in the original “Grimms Fairytales”) do not end well.  Today’s parents might call them “politically incorrect.” But they are catchy, and the illustrations are charming.  The dissonance is  rather fascinating. Working with this material could be my next literary-art  challenge.

The dark recesses of childhood might also be responsible for this next sequence.

Lillian Trettin_artwork_collages

Run Away

Running for fun, running without aim, running to escape–maybe this work’s best understood as an exercise in interactive storytelling.  The less predetermined the visual story, the more invested the viewer will be in telling her own version.  The key is to provide clues and spark a viewer’s  storytelling process, without completely predetermining the tale.

Lillian Trettin_artwork_image

Lillian Trettin_artwork_image

These are “exercises” rather than finished art, and somewhat unlovely, but after scratching my head for a month while I looked at them, I have an idea what to do next.

It comes as something of a surprise.

But after a month, I’ve decided to try my hand at designing a board game, something  dark and swampy, with many potential paths to fruition and a few disastrous dead ends.




About Lillian-Trettin

I grew up in the Appalachian "Bible Belt" of East Tennessee in the southern United States, listening to banjo music and gospel lyrics as well as the Beatles. As a kid, I was curious about religious rituals like speaking in tongues and snake handling but resistant to the fundamentalist thinking they involved. Flannery O'Connor's tales of religious fanatics, con men, bigots, and the spiritually bereft or ambivalent resonate for me. Despite having traveled widely and lived in other places, I am (as so many Southerners claim to be) permanently "South haunted." I returned to making art full time in 2011, following a career as a teacher, researcher, and consultant and after raising two sons. I’m convinced the delay enriched rather than impeded my growth as an artist.
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