There is No Beauty in the Finest Cloth
The Adroit Journal just published a portion of my collage series, "There is No Beauty in the Finest Cloth," and I am beyond thrilled. (Link here> https://theadroitjournal.org/issue-thirty-five/grace-wagner-art) I've always felt like I had to choose between poetry and art, but now I understand that both will always be a part of me. And even beyond that, doing one will inevitably enrich the other.
I created this series as a commentary on the environmental impacts of the fashion industry, as well as the innate violence of beauty standards. It pairs iconic fashion images with scenes of logging and landfills. The full series hasn't been published yet and I even have dreams of having the series displayed in a gallery.
Collaging has become a welcome creative outlet for me. Painting, to be honest, stresses me out because the end product never looks like it does in my mind. However, I don't have any preconceived ideas about how my collages will look; in fact, I simply allow the source images to create their own meanings. It's less like transferring an image from my head to the page and more like allowing the inspiring images to transform themselves in front of my eyes. I find this method of intertextual dialogue both fruitful and exciting. I hope that some degree of this sense of discovery is translated across the final project.
John Keats once said, "The poetry of the earth is never dead." I feel the same way about art of all kinds that engages with the world we find ourselves in. Engage with your world. Find out the names of the trees or flowers or grasses. Educate yourself about the animals who cohabitate with us on this ever-shrinking globe. Live in the world and do not try to separate yourself from it, because that task is impossible. Even astronauts in the International Space Station are tethered to earth by its gravity.
This is the first in what will hopefully be a series of informal meditations on art, writing, and my life. My hope is that people will understand a sliver of what it means to me to be an artist and a poet, and that they will walk away with a new sense of meaning, a new joy of discovery or simply the realization that we are not so different, one from another.
Love and light,
Grace Wagner (they/them)