The Tricky Cad is Dead

I was surprised to hear, apparently several months late, that collage artist extraordinaire Jess Collins (later just known as Jess) had died this year. Jess is not very well known but his Max Ernst-meets-Lichtenstein cut-up of Dick Tracy comics, entitled “Tricky Cad” was a major influence on me as a teenager. You can find very small reproductions of the work in Pop Art books, but I’ve never the seen the thing close-up or in a decent reproduction. Surely these pieces are worth a reissue or a Taschen book of some kind. The one retrospective he had in 1993 produced a book that is now going for something like $75. Yikes.
Last month I traveled to San Francisco (I’m still working on the photo diary where you can see my journey) and in SFMOMA there were several large-scale works by him. At the time, however, I didn’t know that Jess and Jess Collins were the same. One work was something close to 4×5 feet and was a collage of black and white engravings that he had then drawn as a whole, organic work. It was “everything but the kitchen sink” collage of the first order.
Read 2Blowhard’s own blog entry on Jess, which is where I found the news.
I later wrote LACMA, where a number of Tricky Cad pieces are part of the collection, but the curator says that due to the fragile, all paper and glue nature of the work, they are not on display. I was happy, though, with the speed in which the curator got back to me (two hours).

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