Website updated with new theme

Abstract Collage website updated to Stratum theme for WordPress. Excited about the new features for the site.  To name a few: a strong mobile browsing experience, iPad size browsing look, pertinent front page content, WooCommerce integration, and many others.

Prior to this I had been using Boomshaka. This was a theme created by Jordan Kanter and myself for artists over three years ago. It survived numerous WordPress and WooCommerce updates until recently breaking down slightly with the way images were displaying. Both Jordan and I have moved on to other projects so rather than try to update an old project I decided to check out some of the current WooCommerce supported themes for WordPress.

I have looked at many artist websites over the years and have developed strong opinions. I’ve written extensively about that. I have been particularly critical of the way WordPress handles images. The gallery features are clunky, awkward, and it is far too easy to have images stretched or resized improperly.  That’s why when I found Stratum I was confused because there are very few themes that “have it all.” And so far I couldn’t be more happy!

Online store updates / New Etsy store

Abstract Collage Security Updates

The Abstract Collage online store has been upgraded to HTTP Secure (HTTPS). We will continue to use PayPal secure checkout. I am experimenting with how much of the rest of the website will use HTTPS vs regular HTTP. Google now favors pretty heavily HTTPS so I may transition the rest of the site as it makes sense. Currently the only forced pages are when you get to “/checkout/” and beyond.

Online Store Abstract Collage

New Etsy Store

I have also just recently opened an Etsy store here. This is the result of having a few previous but unsuccessful attempts at stepping up security on Abstract Collage. Even though the security on Abstract Collage has now been updated, I will still be pursing the Etsy store at least temporarily. I am debuting only one product, the Recycled La Croix Greeting Cards (3 pack). Depending on how it goes I have some other test products that I may try to audition on the Etsy store. Very exciting to have the opportunity to find new customers and test out different demographics.

Recycled La Croix Greeting Cards

It is my intention to keep Abstract Collage as my main online store presence. Abstract Collage is still the only online place to buy the Snail Mail Security collages. I have done my best to offer incentives for Chicago and surrounding suburb buyers with discounts on shipping as well as local pickup options. This is one of the benefits of building your own online store. I can set the prices and the only middle man I have to pay is my credit card processor (PayPal) just like any other retailer.

As to products that are featured in multiple places like the Recycled La Croix Greeting Cards, I intend Abstract Collage to offer the best price and to be tailored to previous customers and repeat buyers. For example, the current La Croix greeting card options on Abstract Collage are “grab bag” style where customers will get a 5 pack of cards from an assortment of different designs. On the other hand on Etsy, I probably will not offer a “grab bag” style product.

More updates coming soon!

Cool Security Patterns, I Desire (My Wishlist)

Updated July 7, 2017: One of the coolest of the cool security patterns sets on the internet is by Joseph King. This is a 160+ pattern collection on Flickr. So I went through this collection and selected all the patterns that I do not currently have. These are all featured below. Think of this as my personal vision board.

Updated 12/22/2017: I have gotten some very generous donations from the community and I am happy to “cross out” some of these envelopes from the wish list. List is now a little easier to read and grouped by color.

If you recognize any of these patterns from your own personal or business mail… I want to hear from you!


Instagram La Croix greeting card giveaway

[CLOSED] See below for details on my La Croix greeting card giveaway

why am i doing this?:
I’ve gotten a lot of support on Instagram and felt like this would be a fun way to show some appreciation.

First winner: 8 cards
Second winner: 4 cards

These greeting cards are made up of recycled La Croix packaging that would otherwise end up in the trash or recycled. Finding a “second use” for a material can extend its lifespan and often takes the place of another “first use” product. You might like these if you: like to write letters, are environmentally conscious, are obsessed with La Croix.

how to enter:
1. Like AND comment the above Instagram photo
2. Follow @abstract_collage on Instagram
3. Must live in the continental US

Winners are selected at random on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. I will Instagram direct message both winners to coordinate the shipping of the prizes. I’ll give each winner 3 days to respond, but if I don’t hear back from them I will continue drawing new winners until the prizes find a happy home.

This promotion is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram or La Croix.

Get To Work

Get To Work

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.

If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to do an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.

Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction.

Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”

— Chuck Close


via swissmiss

Richard Tuttle Makes Tools for Life

Richard Tuttle Makes Tools for Life

by Ian Forster|Jul 22, 2016

Detail of Section VII, Extension I (2007) at Pace Gallery in New York City. Production still from the series ART21 Exclusive. © ART21, Inc. 2016. Cinematography: Jarred Alterman.

Detail of Section VII, Extension I (2007) at Pace Gallery in New York City.
Production still from the series ART21 Exclusive. © ART21, Inc. 2016. Cinematography: Jarred Alterman.

“Art’s importance comes when it’s a tool for life, when it makes life more available for us.”

— Richard Tuttle

Today’s ART21 Exclusive features Richard Tuttle reflecting on a decades-long career, and the conceptual, thematic, and stylistic threads that can be consistently traced through his 26 New York gallery exhibitions. Tuttle was interviewed at Pace Gallery, where fittingly his installation 26 provided an archival record of these solo shows, collectively exposing a profound intimacy in postminimalism.

“I’m very committed to the idea of making an art that stays contemporary,” says Tuttle. The artist goes on to describe his interest in creating works that fuse together “the kinds of things that only happen once and the kinds of things that happen always.” Tuttle also shares advice for young artists and reflects on the value of art: “Art’s importance comes when it’s a tool for life, when it makes life more available for us.”

ART21 Exclusive is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel, and by individual contributors.

CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Ian Forster. Editor: Jarred Alterman. Camera: Jarred Alterman. Sound: Ian Forster. Artwork Courtesy: Richard Tuttle & Pace Gallery. Archival Photography Courtesy: Duane Michals. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York & Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.


Ian Forster is a producer at ART21. He joined the staff in October 2009, first working on ART21

William Kentridge: Anything Is Possible

and subsequently ART21

Art in the Twenty-First Century

Season 6 and Season 7. In addition to his work on ART21′s broadcast programming for PBS, Forster oversees the Web video series ART21


and ART21

Artist to Artist


via Art21 Blog