I’ve been working on a new collage piece this week. All of the images are taken from the Spring 2021 issue of C California Style & Culture magazine, and I call it “California Dreaming.” Click on the image above to see it larger in a browser.
Everything was going great, and I liked the way it was coming together, until the very last stage when I applied varnish to seal and protect the piece.
I used pieces of cardstock for the grays and black on top of the magazine images. The cardstock is uncoated paper, and two of the grays absorbed the varnish unevenly. Ack! I hate when that happens. Here are three close-ups where you can see the uneven finish.
It’s not a huge problem — you could even consider it to be an intentional effect — but it’s not what I wanted, and I’m pondering how that affects my feelings about the piece. Is this mishap a fatal flaw? I love the piece otherwise.
It makes me think of the Japanese concept of wabi sabi, where creatives strive for imperfection. Imperfect work gives the piece a human touch. Wabi sabi is an aesthetic that embraces imperfection, impermanence, and incomplete work.
I’m leaning toward letting go of my standards of perfection and leaving the piece as it is. What do you think?
Does art need to be perfect? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.
With love and appreciation,
Collage at top: “California Dreaming,” 20 x 20 inches, collage on wood panel