Interview with Jeffrey Meyer
We came across Jeffrey Meyer’s work and we are enthralled by his use of found imagery to make beautiful, emotional and conceptual collages with a touch of irreverence. We asked a few questions to tap into his process and approach. Enjoy the work!
My interest in collage stems from a dissatisfaction with existing visual culture (advertising, propaganda, technical literature, even other art). I prefer ambiguity, humor, sublimity or solace where before there was only crassness, pandering, offense or mundanity. I have no preconceptions in mind when I sit down to work; I do have favorite themes and imagery, but I allow myself the freedom to make as many mistakes or false starts as I need to arrive at a finished image I find compelling. I hope others find the work interesting as well. Also, I like money.
— Jeffrey Meyer
1. Tell us about your start with art, collage creating things.
I’ve drawn and made art my whole life. After I saw the original “Star Wars” when I was six I knew I wanted to spend (or, as it’s turned out: waste) my life creating something — film, comics, whatever. During high school and college I was determined to be a cartoonist, but there’s really no more difficult medium to master for such little reward, so I floundered for a while trying to get illustration work, writing a little, and trying other things…
2. What is your process behind your collages? How do you go about finding imagery for these and utilizing the space in each composition?
Well, I’ve always been interested in print media and I had always surrounded myself with piles of the stuff for drawing reference. When I decided to stop drawing I took a look at all this junk and was pretty disgusted with it, and set about trying to make something of it that interested rather than repelled me. Occasionally I buy a run of old magazines or encyclopedias from ebay, and I continue to gather source material from trash cans and curbs and the local library’s free pile.
So basically I have a garage full of boxes I root through page by page until something catches my eye and suggests a larger context. I save and separate these “starts” and then search for appropriate backgrounds or companion imagery. It can be a tedious process, but I can work on dozens of pieces at once and even abandon them for years until I’m able to finish them to my satisfaction.
3. Does subject matter play a big role in the work, or is it more for texture and color?
Form comes first for me: The components have to somehow harmonize or feel like they were meant to be together, even if there’s an obvious juxtaposition. I’m not really a huge fan of collage that looks like… collage… with 20 kinds of paper slapped together (though the medium does lend itself to that approach). I like the finished product to have a little mystery about how it was created, to make the viewer wonder when and where it came from, or if it’s even a collage at all. All the pieces I consider failures are the result of placing content (or worse: message) ahead of form.
I’m working on a new series that is much larger, more abstract and decorative… basically zero content, I hope. Probably a huge mistake.
4. You tend to deal a lot with outer space and atmosphere (which we love) why?
Escapism? Religious longing? I love serious, philosophical science-fiction, and I think the ultimate quandary everyone has to ponder is why we’re so pathetically tiny and the universe is so unfathomably large. It’s the most beautiful thing there is, but also the most frightening. Of course, it’s futile, because we’ll never really know anything — so where’s my damn money?
5. Are there any other artists whom you get inspiration from?
Marcel Duchamp, Clyfford Still, Ad Reinhardt, Stanley Kubrick, Terrence Malick, Andrei Tarkovsky, Werner Herzog, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Robert Bresson, Chris Marker, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Philip K. Dick, JG Ballard, Nathanael West, Frederick Exley, Sherwood Anderson, Chris Ware, Jaime & Gilbert Hernandez, Ernie Bushmiller, George Herriman, Charles Addams, Erik Satie, Karen Carpenter, Brian Wilson, etc.
6. What is your favorite sandwich?
I actually can’t stand to touch food or eat with my hands — I have to use utensils, especially in front of other people. I also prefer my sustenance in paste or liquid form… do astronauts get to eat BLTs?
Jeffrey Meyer was born in Indiana and currently resides in Washington State.
Check out more of Meyer’s work at http://goofbutton.com/