Life Maps

How do you image that? That is the question of the afternoon in Paul Ferrera’s Life Maps class at the Hamilton Senior Center. In this case, it was asked by one of his students during a group discussion about incorporating poetry into collage. This art class started in February and it combines many different materials and ideas.

gilwithtext.pngThat question of turning an idea or a feeling into a visual piece of art is the core of the class’ purpose. On June 16th, Paul stood in the center of the circle of chairs holding up an abstract, red, black and silver collage made of spaced out cut-out loops and scraps. The students were thinking about the musicality of the image and each person volunteered a sound or musical phrase that they felt represented the piece.


Paul’s class was made possible because of a grant from Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide. At each workshop, the class first gathers in a small room where they sit and learn about artists ranging from Mondrian and Dali to Harlem-based Romare Bearden. After a collaborative lesson, they move into a larger room with long tables where they work on whatever project was assigned for the week. There is a lot cutting out of magazines, drawing, thinking and talking.

In preparation for Creative Aging Arts Day, Paul explained the use of silhouette cutouts overlayed on their collages. Each artist had created a large silhouette out of black paper using the outline of a photograph. The plan was to choose in which direction they wanted to place it on top of the collage so that it would reveal a specific section of the colorful image.

“There is a synchronicity of art,” Paul explained. “This is another game of chance.”

See some more work from the students in Paul's class:

Look at some of the collage inspiration here:

Piet Mondrian

Mark Bradford

Salvador Dali

Romare Bearden

Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Mapmaking

More about Paul's class:


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