From Late Migrations

Billy Renkl

Summer 2019

Late Migrations is a book about our family, but it’s also a conversation between Margaret’s way of writing and my way of working. I can’t say whether it’s dumb luck or genetic destiny, but Margaret writes about the objective, fascinating world—how it heaves and pupates and perishes—with a clarity and empathy that lets me decipher my own (beautiful and terrible, literal and metaphorical) encounter with it. In other words, exactly the sorts of things that I long to read. 

Collage is the perfect mechanism for this kind of thinking. “Collage makes it possible,” Ivan Chermayeff said, “for everything to be something else.” We imagine that raw materials are content-neutral, that a tube of blue paint isn’t meaningful until an artist uses it to depict a bluebird or an old man with a guitar. But the materials I use have all had a previous life, an experience in the world, and I get to recombine that experience to say something that’s both in my voice and, thank goodness, not. 

Billy Renkl lives in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he teaches drawing and illustration at Austin Peay State University. His studio practice includes work for exhibition as well as client-based work, such as the Late Migrations collages. 

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