A profile of New Orleans collage artist Michael Pajon
Michael Pajon is an object maker and a storyteller. The New Orleans artist crafts elaborate, dense compositions inspired by Catholic reliquaries, antique cabinet cards, carnivalesque board games that trade on complex narratives and still-life-esque vanitas. And he does this with a deep understanding of his source material; its functional place in history; and its present-day obsolescence. If, as the old saw goes, you are what you eat, then collage artists are what they cut and one way to judge a collagist is to gauge their ability to transform source material into something new; to take unrelated things and put them together in way that gives us a feeling, shares an idea, or tells us a story.
“Pajon is not simply using the visual language of the paper fragments he includes in his collage, he is using their history—the nostalgic images of children from elementary readers, the off-portrayal of wildlife from inaccurate encyclopedias, and the over simplified illustration of human anatomy—to weave a narrative about our place in the world and how we have come to understand it.”
Michael Pajon lives and works in New Orleans, Louisiana. Originally from Chicago, he has a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Visit www.michaelpajon.com for more information.
Open Wounds and Open Fire by Michael Pajon
23″x23″; mixed media collage on antique chromolitho target; 2014
Of Saints and Serpents by Michael Pajon
19″x16″; mixed media on antique book cover; 2014
A Steady Gaze, and a Matador’s Nerve by Michael Pajon
18″x15″; mixed media collage on antique book cover; 2014
All images courtesy of the artist.