Collage is a supremely simple process. Paper, scissors, glue - one color, object or shape invites the next. Its expression arises from whatever material happens to be at hand, & because we cannot know which picture will adopt which other, or where the constellation of imagery will finally settle, it circumvents the influence of our own limited preconceptions. As the great paste-up artist Jess once noted, we wait “for the piece itself to tell [us] where it belongs.”
As each juxtaposition suggests another, we begin riding a wave of spontaneous association. Multiple meanings & interrelationships arise, in collaboration with the makers of the original component images, even as consensus reality gets rearranged & refreshed. Harmony emerges from the chaos of random elements, simply by following the dictates of the moment, the pleasure of the eye in free-flowing attention.
This ability to harness the unexpected & nonsensical makes collage endlessly fascinating & a lot of fun! Impromptu metaphors take flight & inner landscapes are coaxed into the light of day...
Even the finished collage is never entirely static. The images remain in flux as the unbound eye travels through the piece. Because of this, the viewer can “read” a collage many times over in many different ways & always uncover some new relationship or allegory or visual pun. In this way, the viewer continues the process which began in the artist with paper, scissors, glue.
Via Keller is a self-taught artist, web designer & psyche-naut who fled the midwest in the late 1970’s to find herself… elsewhere. An affinity for the medium of collage emerged from the serious play & free-form experimentation associated with the production of Short Fuse, a xerox magazine published in Santa Barbara. It was during this time, in the mid-1980's, that she was fortuitously introduced to the work of Jess (Collins), San Francisco's superb beat-era paste-up artist, whose art & correspondence became her greatest source of guidance & inspiration. (He also served a lovely & gracious lunch when she visited his home in 1994.)
Later, Via made appearances in Magical Blend Magazine, as both artist & writer (see articles below), under her given name of Vic(toria) Keller, shortening her first name in order to obfuscate her gender, which inexplicably amused her. In 1992, one of her collages appeared, uncredited, on the back cover of Manic Street Preachers’ double CD Little Baby Nothing when an enthusiastic fan sent a copy of it to the band. In 1994, she was asked to contribute nine illustrations to Dr. Timothy Leary's Chaos & CyberCulture, after which she joined with other contributors for some of Tim’s last public appearances. Later that year, the metal band Nevermore used one of her "Cyberculture" images for their European tour T-shirt. Selections from the Leary book were later featured in the German edition Psychedelika, Kultur, Vision und Kritik (2003) compiled by Wolfgang Sterneck. Somewhere along the way, she reconfigured her given name once again to become Via.
Settling happily into rural valley life, Via has taught classes at several county schools while contributing to local events & various commercial projects. In recent years she has designed CD covers for the bands Outersect, II Big, The Swinging Chads & The Raging Grannies (Mendocino chapter) & has had her artwork animated & projected by the talented folks at Coil & Radiant Atmospheres for various Bay Area events. She also made illustrations for a book and an audio CD published by Sentient Publications & Wetware Media out of Boulder, CO. See our design page and/or publications page for examples of posters, book & CD covers, web work & miscellaneous co-creations. You can also see her latest photo restoration work at Picture Perfect PRS. Thanks so much for visiting!
^ a phone message from Tim, 1994
Further musings: Why art? and Art First! (on Ruby the Maladjusted Elephant)
the poem on our home page is from Rumi, "acts of helplessness".
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