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Joan Hall, Collage Artist, Poet
Collage: Past and Present, March 17 & 26

Parroquian Dream 20

With both parents as artists, I was taught art at a very young age. I was a dance major at Julliard majoring in the Martha Graham Modern Dance Technique. But I flunked ballet so I couldn't return for my second year. Then I joined the American Mime theater and was a member of the Mime Company for ten years. I taught mime at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. All the while I was dabbling in my art, because my parents were artists and I had my roots. I wanted to be a dancer and an actress and I tried that out for a while, but then I got back to art.

Then in 1970 I took some of the pieces I had been making around to see if I could get book covers, record covers or whatever. I had been making collages and three dimensional assemblages. I got the cover of The New York Times Book Review. From there it just took off. I was an illustrator for a long time.

Milton Glazer, who is one of the foremost graphic designers, invited me to teach a course in collage for illustration, which had never been done before, at The School of Visual Arts. I started teaching that in 1978.

Some of my assemblages, that I was making out of found objects and sculpture, came right out of interpretation of characters I was doing when I was performing mime. My writings, sculpture, collage, dance… come from the same source.


Morpheus, son of Hypnus
Savior of sleeplessness
Cradle me in your gentle arms
Carry me through the dark sky
Away from thoughts and cares
Oh, Great God Morpheus
Take me through the night
Into the land of dreams.

It was 1968 when I first encountered San Miguel de Allende. I was very young. The town was tiny. There were women making tortillas on the street and the smell of mesquite wood was in the air. It was love at first sight. I attended the Instituto Allende and studied art.

I've returned many times since then, making San Miguel de Allende my second home for many winters. I'm a native New Yorker and have a country retreat in upstate NY.

My collages and assemblages have been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide, including Museo Rufino Tamayo and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

I had secretly written poetry since childhood. I never took it seriously until I entered a contest and won the Miriam Chaiken Foundation Award in 2018. I had to "come out of the closet" as a poet and give a public reading. Recently I published my first book of poems, Journey to Somewhere. I decided to use the collage [at the top of the page], Parroquian Dream 20, which was in my solo exhibition at the Interseccion Gallery at the Fabrica a few years ago, for my book cover. I called the exhibit "Parroquian Dreams". It consisted of a series of surrealistic collages inspired by the Parroquia.

The Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel has always been for me the icing on the cake. I am not a religious person, but I was enchanted by this pink cathedral. In the 19th century, Zeferino Gutierrez, a native stone mason, built the gothic pink stone facade inspired by a postcard of Gaudi's Sangria Familia in Barcelona. The inspiration that Gutierrez took from his paper postcard I have returned to my paper collages.

The Land of Forgotten Passwords

Happily living in Cyberspace
Floating in the cloud
Not a care in the world
While humans on earth
Have anxiety attacks
For fear of losing their precious password.

Only three tries
Then passwords are free forever
Laughing at the victims
Who need them so
As they jump and play hopscotch
In a maze of zeros and ones.

There are more important things to fear
Like illness, death, a lost love.
But somehow a forgotten password
Can cause panic, night sweats, high blood pressure
And migraines.

We give our power to the Internet.
We are vulnerable, dependent
While our passive passwords
Just don't give a damn!

Several years ago, I had the good fortune to receive a Mexican/American Cultural Specialists Grant to go to Mexico for a ten day program to conduct workshops to train teachers on how to educate children about ecology and the environment. The program featured creating collages out of recycled scrap materials. Many of the teachers had never made artwork of their own and doubted their ability to do so. The results were amazing and rewarding.


Joan Hall's lecture/slideshow, Collage: Past and Present, will be held at La Biblioteca on Tuesday, March 17 and Thursday, March 26 at 3pm.

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