The BCC presents a new series of interviews with ground breaking collage artists from around the world, with your collage guide and founder of the Brooklyn Collage Collective, Morgan Jesse Lappin.

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 Monday - SEPTEMBER 24th // Interview with JAY RIGGIO


“Humility” (Collage work by Jay Riggio - 2015)

“Humility” (Collage work by Jay Riggio - 2015)

MJL: In 2013 I started the Brooklyn Collage Collective, and was privileged to have you as part of the original line up. Now I'm going to squeeze the juice out of your finger tips... where are you originally from, and how did collage become a part of your life? 

JAY RIGGIO: I’m originally from Long Island, New York. I was always making things growing up. Taking photos, drawing, and writing but I didn’t really know that what I was doing was making art. In my teens I started painting a bit, cutting up pamphlets and photos and making mixed media pieces. I still didn’t really know that it was art. All I knew was that it felt good to do. Ever since, I’ve been making things... and cutting and gluing paper has somehow stuck around in some form or another.

"A Long Way From Main St.” (Collage work by Jay Riggio - 2016)

"A Long Way From Main St.” (Collage work by Jay Riggio - 2016)

MJL: Who is your daddy, and what does he do?

JAY RIGGIO: I’m not sure if I believe in god, but if I did, I’d say he’s doing a pretty piss-poor job at keeping this thing he created from imploding.

“Fuck you, Pay Me” (Colalge work by Jay Riggio - 2017)

“Fuck you, Pay Me” (Colalge work by Jay Riggio - 2017)

MJL: Me and you have a good amount in common, and thats a big reason I enjoyed working with you. We spoke a lot about our work experience, and how me and you shared the same anxieties of dealing with a 9 - 5 job. Can you tell us about when you hit the point of no return, followed your heart, and took on collage as true profession.

JAY RIGGIO: I worked all kinds of full-time jobs for 15 years. I was never happy. I was miserable actually. I’d go to work, come home exhausted and try to make art. Most times I was too burnt out to do anything else but sleep. With the help of some encouragement from loved ones, I experienced a gradual shift in consciousness. I’m not good at half-assing things. I started to wonder why I had been half-assing the only thing in life that I truly love. It seems so simple in retrospect, but for years I felt terrified at the thought of not having a steady paycheck. It took some time, but now working a 9-5er is the last thing I’d ever consider.

“WIP in 2017” (Collage work by Jay Riggio - 2017)

“WIP in 2017” (Collage work by Jay Riggio - 2017)

MJL: Hit me with your favorite sources of collage material.

JAY RIGGIO: I like it all. Books and magazines in the sale bins and yard sale finds. If it’s cheap or free, I’ll take it home.

“The infinite Thoughts of Lara” (Collage work by Jay Riggio - 2016) You can find this sticker on almost every street in NYC - MJL

“The infinite Thoughts of Lara” (Collage work by Jay Riggio - 2016) You can find this sticker on almost every street in NYC - MJL

MJL: I also had the privilege to meet Rosie, your magical little lady pup. She found her way into a lot of your works, tell us about your little princess.

JAY RIGGIO: Rosie’s the best. She’s 12 now. Butters is 8. And last year we rescued a little one that we named Lonnie. For a while I was holding cut outs in front of Rosie and Butters, mostly to make my girlfriend and I laugh. It was silly and fun. Once Buzzfeed wrote an article about it, I knew it was time to stop doing it.

Rosie looking ripped and ready to do at least 78 jumping jacks… (Collage Photo by Jay Riggio)

Rosie looking ripped and ready to do at least 78 jumping jacks… (Collage Photo by Jay Riggio)

 
Rosie baby sits part time, she’s the bread winner… (Collage photo by Jay Riggio)

Rosie baby sits part time, she’s the bread winner… (Collage photo by Jay Riggio)


MJL: Can you tell us what pulled you out of New York City?

JAY RIGGIO: I grew up in New York and I will always call it my home. But I found that my relationship to the city changed with age. My girlfriend and I love to stay at home and we were paying all this money in rent to spend all our time in a shitty, cramped railroad apartment. We wanted more space, less noise and a change of scenery. My girlfriend found a job out in LA and now we live in the suburbs of Burbank. I love it here. I have plenty of space to make the work I want, a yard for our dogs and we can stay inside for days without hearing our neighbors blast drum and bass at 4am. It’s the best.

“There is no heaven. No Hell. There is no Sadness. No Loss. No god or devil. No beginning. No End. There is only love. Only love, and us.Lost forever in the colors of a daydream” (Collage work by Jay Riggio - 2017)

“There is no heaven. No Hell. There is no Sadness. No Loss. No god or devil. No beginning. No End. There is only love. Only love, and us.Lost forever in the colors of a daydream” (Collage work by Jay Riggio - 2017)


MJL: When you left NY, I saw you transition into a new form of collage. You went larger scale, incorporated wood and resin, can you tell us why this happened? Maybe give us an idea of your protocol?


JAY RIGGIO: I’ve always wanted to work bigger. And I became interested in resin a few years back. My friend and amazing artist, Evan Schwartz, who does amazing mixed media resin pieces, took me under his wing and showed me some basics while I was in NY. In my small apartment in Ridgewood, I didn’t have space to pour resin or cut wood. I was mimicking the thickness of wood by layering and glueing hundreds of pieces of paper, cutting each piece one at a time. After 350 pieces of paper, the piece would be about an inch thick. Then I’d go to Evan’s building basement and pour resin over it. The process was fun but it wasn’t practical. I started to get carpal tunnel in my hand from repeatedly cutting and I didn’t want to bother my friend every time I wanted to pour resin. I abandoned the process until we moved out here. I’ve spent the past 2 plus years working exclusively with resin and wood. It’s been a super humbling experience. It’s all been trial and error with tons of errors along the way. At the moment I’ve been working at a much larger scale. Everything I make now is a woodcut with paper and paint and ink that’s encased in layers of resin. Some are more Assemblage style than others. Some are more like sculptures. But each piece utilizes the casting of shadows that are created by the previous layers of resin.

“Some Sacred Transference (Collage/Resin/Wood work by Jay Riggio - 2019)

“Some Sacred Transference (Collage/Resin/Wood work by Jay Riggio - 2019)

Uncle Jay Riggio sands down one of his Collage works which he glues it to wood, and gives it multiple layers of resin to show drop shadows under his cuts, giving it amazing depth.

Uncle Jay Riggio sands down one of his Collage works which he glues it to wood, and gives it multiple layers of resin to show drop shadows under his cuts, giving it amazing depth.

 
“Between the Cracks of your Aching Heart” (Collage/Resin/Wood by Jay Riggio - 2019) [40lbs / 15 layers of resin 35x40 -  See how its made ]

“Between the Cracks of your Aching Heart” (Collage/Resin/Wood by Jay Riggio - 2019) [40lbs / 15 layers of resin 35x40 - See how its made]


MJL: When you first started collage, what other collage artists did you run into that remain your favorites today?


JAY RIGGIO: For years I didn’t know that anyone was making any collage art on a serious level aside from Winston Smith. There’s some great artists I’ve met that are doing unique work. Not to grope your nuts too hard, Morgan, but I’ve always loved your take on collage. I adore Elise Margolis and the elegant shapes and subtleties in her work. The Human Wreckage makes some of the most mind bending analog work I’ve ever seen. Daniel Lint makes some rad work. Sebastian Wahl’s work with resin is forever inspiring. Sara Best is doing the most impressive work with paper I’ve ever seen. She takes 3 dimension to the next level.


“The Unsettled Stillness of Your Breaking Heart” (Collage/Resin/Wood by Jay Riggio - 2018)

“The Unsettled Stillness of Your Breaking Heart” (Collage/Resin/Wood by Jay Riggio - 2018)

MJL: What was your biggest collage disappointment?

JAY RIGGO: I think disappointment is a part of creating. My vision and the finished product never fully align. So in a way, I’m constantly disappointed. But that’s part of the beauty of creating, I think. It’s sort of a blind journey of highs and lows, all the way until you decide to walk away from whatever it is you’re making.

“Morning. Noon” (Collage/Resin/Wood by Jay Riggio - 2019)

“Morning. Noon” (Collage/Resin/Wood by Jay Riggio - 2019)


MJL: What was your most proud moment, as a collage artists.. your biggest collage accomplishment.


JAY RIGGIO: I’ve been fortunate to have some cool projects. Having my art on the cover of Brooklyn Magazine felt pretty good. I grew up living and breathing skateboarding, so as an artist I’ve also always wanted to make skateboard graphics. I’ve been doing graphics for Lovesick Skateboards these last couple years and that’s been a dream come true. Showing work in galleries alongside some of the people I’ve looked up to always feels special. I’ve worked super hard for my upcoming solo show, that opens at Black Diamond Gallery in Brooklyn on October 11. The show hasn’t happened yet, but I’m excited to have a solo exhibition and excited to show the newest work I’ve been obsessing over for the past 6 months.

@lovesickskateboards  / Collage work by Jay Riggio for Mark Gutterman

@lovesickskateboards / Collage work by Jay Riggio for Mark Gutterman

 
@lovesickskateboards  / Collage work by Jay Riggio for Mark Gutterman

@lovesickskateboards / Collage work by Jay Riggio for Mark Gutterman

MJL: Out of all your work, which is your favorite collage piece.

JAY RIGGIO: Here’s the thing with me... While I’m working on a piece, I’m completely obsessed with it. If it’s a larger resin piece, I won’t be able to sleep for a month while I’m plotting out how I want it to be and how to overcome technical difficulties. I can’t wait to check on it in the morning to discover how the resin cured. Hypothetically, if you tried to damage the piece I’m currently working on or harm it in any way, I think I might try to kill you. But as soon as I a make the decision that the piece is finished, I lose all interest in it forever. I still care that it finds a new owner and that it came from me, but all of my immediate emotional attachment to it is gone. I don’t understand it, but it’s always been that way for me. With that said, my favorite piece is the one I’m working on now. But when it’s done, it won’t be.


“Gold Rush / WIP” (Collage work by Jay Riggio - 2015)

“Gold Rush / WIP” (Collage work by Jay Riggio - 2015)

 
Rosie / Jay / Butters

Rosie / Jay / Butters

MJL: Jay, whats your favorite quote… ever.

JAY RIGGIO: “I do not have time for things that have no soul.” - Charles Bukowski

I had to do it Jay… don’t you remember this lil collage? Thats right, its your FIRST INSTAGRAM POST!

I had to do it Jay… don’t you remember this lil collage? Thats right, its your FIRST INSTAGRAM POST!

 
If you’re in NYC - Come out and support Jay, this October 11th @ Black Diamond Gallery

If you’re in NYC - Come out and support Jay, this October 11th @ Black Diamond Gallery

 


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 Monday - SEPTEMBER 9th // Interview with Jesse Treece


Collage Artist / Jesse Treece (Seattle, Washington)

Collage Artist / Jesse Treece (Seattle, Washington)


Interrupting My Train of Thought (Collage work by Jesse Treece)

Interrupting My Train of Thought (Collage work by Jesse Treece)

MJL: What led you to your first collage piece, and where were you in life at that time, why collage? Your work shows epic depth, allowing people to visually enter your work. What do the worlds and characters mean to you if they have any meaning at all.

Jesse Treece: When I made my first piece in 2009, I think I was feeling frustrated creatively and casting around for an outlet. I grew up drawing and started playing music and trying to write songs in high school but I never felt able to complete anything or really dive in though I knew I had talent. I honestly don't know why I chose collage specifically, it's more like it found me I guess and it seemed to fit like a glove once I finished my first piece. It wasn't a great collage but I knew that I had it in me to try and do better and I felt motivated like I hadn't felt before.

I've always been drawn to art (visual art, music, movies, etc.) that convey moodiness and atmosphere, it's just part of my makeup I think. Also around that time I was really discovering surrealism for the first time (specifically painters like Max Ernst, Leonora Carrington, Edgar Ende, Giorgi de Chirico) and I loved the sparse moody landscapes that felt right out of a dream and told a story, though it was one that was open to individual interpretation.

When I'm really feeling it it's like I'm not thinking at all. My hands find the right pieces on there own and when it's done it's an amazing feeling of "wow, I just made that!". It's hardly ever like that during the whole process though, it's usually a lot of flipping through pages and trial and error and waiting for that spark that's hard to describe but I know it when I feel it.


Space-Time Symposium (Collage work by Jesse Treece)

Space-Time Symposium (Collage work by Jesse Treece)


MJL: What is your favorite source of material and is there a clip that you fell in love with in the past?

Jesse Treece: I love the snake clipping from "Death on the Line" (below). It came from an advertisement in Architectural Record and it had a delicacy that I found really striking and tried to preserve while cutting it out. It's one of my favorites for sure.


Death on the Line (Collage work by Jesse Treece)

Death on the Line (Collage work by Jesse Treece)


MJL: Was there a movie that freaked you out as a kid and, did it influence your work in any way?

Jesse Treece: Dreamscape with Dennis Quaid, when the President is having nightmares about nuclear war and he gets surrounded by a group of dead and burned children. Yikes! I'm sure it did influence my work and looking back at some of the "dreamscapes" in that film I can see it pretty clearly.


Untitled (Collage by Jesse Treece)

Untitled (Collage by Jesse Treece)


MJL: What are your top ten bands to listen to when making collage?

Jesse Treece: Genesis (with Peter Gabriel), King Crimson, The Stranglers, New Model Army, Guided by Voices, Talk Talk, Wipers, The Moody Blues, Wyes Blood, Cocteau Twins


Childhood’s End (Collage work by Jesse Treece)

Childhood’s End (Collage work by Jesse Treece)


MJL: Which 5 collage artists have influenced you most?

Jesse Treece: This is always hard! There are a ton of new favorite artists right now and I don't want to leave anybody out but I'll list some of the ones that really struck me when I was starting out: Jeffrey Meyer aka Goofbutton (I almost want to give up when I look at his work!), Bryan Olson (the same with Bryan!), Beth Hoeckel, Ventral is Golden (a constant source of psychedelic inspiration), Richard Vergez (minimalist post-punk aesthetic).



Big Wheel Keep On Turning (Collage work by Jesse Treece)

Big Wheel Keep On Turning (Collage work by Jesse Treece)

MJL: Which one of your collage works do you enjoy most?

Jesse Treece: "The Circular Ruins" is one of my favorites (Below). It plays with a lot of my recurring themes and imagery: scale, perspective, architecture, atmosphere.



The Circular Ruins (Collage work by Jesse Treece)

The Circular Ruins (Collage work by Jesse Treece)

MJL: What has been your greatest accomplishment as a collage artist?

Jesse Treece: having some work published in the Age of Collage book a few years ago is still something I really get a kick out of. Also getting to work on album art by bands that I've been a fan of for years is pretty cool and surreal. I also made collage work for the following bands/albums. The Hazey Janes - Language of Faint Theory & Jet Black - L'Ère Du Vide.

The Hazey Janes - Language of Faint Theory  (Collage art by Jesse Treece)

The Hazey Janes - Language of Faint Theory (Collage art by Jesse Treece)

Jet Black - L'Ère Du Vide  (Collage art by Jesse Treece)

Jet Black - L'Ère Du Vide (Collage art by Jesse Treece)



Morgan’s Favorite Jesse Treece

Natural Living 2 (Collage work by Jesse Treece)

Natural Living 2 (Collage work by Jesse Treece)