Brand New Spacesuit: A Folio of Collages by John Gallaher

A Process Note

I’m interested in the edges of things, where one phrase, idea, image, touches and gives way to another. In poetry, this can be a scrap of overheard dialogue, a dictionary definition, article, some thought I’m having, remembered event, or movie plot, etc. In collage, it’s a version of the same thing. Where the pictures come from is as important to me as the subject. We steal one thing from its context, and place it in another context. It’s still everything it was, and it’s transformed.

I begin with a background. As when I’m writing, I begin with something in mind, usually more than one thing, like a subject, something I’ve read, and also an attitude I happen to have, and maybe a story these things remind me of in some way, possibly only thinly related, but nothing planned from it. It’s not like I show up saying, “I’m going to say this, and then this.” And in the place I come to, I look for ways to deal with what I’m interested in, but to make it a conversation aware of its context, so that where I am affects what I have in mind as much as I bring what I have in mind with me. I imagine I’m talking with you.

My goal, in writing and in collage, is to have an artifact that has something of the feel of talking with a friend who’s serious but in an antic mood about some subject in which neither of you have much of a stake in the matter, only to remember at moments that you do, and these things are actually quite important.




“Key.” Mixed media collage, 2019.




“Ah Ha.” Mixed Media Collage, 2019.





“Knot.” Mixed media collage, 2019.




“Roller Coaster.” Mixed media collage, 2019.




“Making Friends.” Mixed media collage, 2019.





John Gallaher’s forthcoming book is Brand New Spacesuit (BOA 2020).  He lives in rural Missouri and co-edits The Laurel Review.