Make Your Own Brainard

JB in VT foto by RP
Joe Brainard in Vermont (photo by Ron Padgett)

Celebrating the collages of Joe Brainard, and the collaborative, experimental ethos of the New York School more broadly, I’m delighted to announce the launch of a new website designed to allow users to create their own unique collages using materials selected and cut out by Brainard himself.

In the summer of 2011 Pat Padgett discovered, in an outbuilding on Kenward Elmslie’s property in Calais, Vermont, a large number of paper snippets. Selected and grouped by Brainard, the snippets, grouped in business envelopes, large manila envelopes, and plastic sleeves, are in the form of unfinished collages and loose bits for future collages. 

Clockwise from top left: Blue fragments on Ron Padgett’s desk; grey fragments on Ron Padgett’s desk; fragments sent to John Ashbery by Joe Brainard, Hudson NY.

A simple collage composition tool enables visitors to the website to create their own collage using cut-out fragments chosen by Joe and digitized by the ‘make your own Brainard’ project. He intended them for use in his own collages, but never got around to including them, so in keeping with the spirit of generosity and collaboration that underpinned all of his work, this project and the Brainard Estate has now made them available for collage enthusiasts all over the world to use as they see fit.

Find out more, and make your own collage, at

The project is led by Rona Cran at the University of Birmingham, with tech support from Jim Clifford at Harborne Web Design, and funded by the British Academy.

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