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Source is in the news but result is a surprise


The trick is not to know where you’re going or where you’re going to end up.
“I like to be surprised and if I’m surprised, viewers will be surprised, too,” said Solebury collage artist Peter Jacobs.
What’s also surprising is that Jacobs gets up every morning – that’s every morning – and produces a collage along with his morning cup of coffee. He cuts pieces of pictures from newspapers, mostly the New York Times, or local papers when he’s traveling.
“I rarely have a predetermined concept based on the news, nor an end result in mind from the start. Generally, I gather a stew of what I am visually awakened by and allow my subconscious to navigate through the process,” he states.
Jacobs has been doing this since 2005 and this Oct. 5 he hit a milestone: 6,000 collages, he said at his hilltop home on Upper York Road where he and his sculptor wife, Elizabeth, moved just seven months ago from Montclair, N.J.
The actual collage process, he states, starts when the newspaper is cut with an X-acto knife on a self-healing mat. Clippings are glued freely and then finally placed into 12-page watercolor books.
He uses a pH balancing spray to neutralize the newspaper acid and then applies a UV satin varnish to the final collage.
All the collages go into his online “The Collage Journal,” which, Jacobs said, has some 400-500 followers. He is also on Instagram and Facebook.
His 13-by-19-inch prints sell for $75 while originals shown in art shows have sold for $350 to $700, he said. Jacobs’ work was recently shown at the Hunterdon Art Museum when it hosted a 10th year retrospective where he showed 120 works.

Jacobs also lectures on how artists can promote their art, produces calendars based on his work, designs webpages for artists, and photographs art for museums and their collections and for books.
His collages are not named, he said. They just have numbers because “people bring their own stories to them.”
“I try not to be negative. I try to bring hope and mystery,” but not always. He cites a work showing a dark hand holding a now-extinct bird in a dark background with only a tiny bit of green in the piece.
“My works are built with structure and rationality, but welcome gesture and absurdity. They give meaning in life and in doubt,” Jacobs said.
“The art of collage is visual jazz. And jazz is about freedom.”

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