Friday, July 04, 2008

The Beautiful American

Besides being a full-time musician, Louis Armstrong was a part-time collage artist:

When not pressing the valves on his trumpet or the record button on his tape recorder, Armstrong's fingers found other arts with which to occupy themselves. One of them was collage, which became a visual outlet for his improvisational genius. The story goes that he did a series of collages on paper and tacked them up on the wall of his den, but Lucille, who had supervised the purchase and interior decoration of their house in Corona, Queens, objected. Armstrong decided to use his extensive library of tapes as a canvas instead, and the result is a collection of some five hundred decorated reel-to-reel boxes, one thousand collages counting front and back.

Above via the Paris Review. The link is here, and the full story with plates of some of the collages is in the Spring 2008 print issue. If you're in Victoria, they've got a shop copy down at Habit on Pandora.

Today's music is "The Beautiful American" by Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington.


jasmine said...

You did it!

M said...

i sure did. i'm over my hang-up.

- k - said...

I have to go find a copy of this somewhere.