Free Junk Journal Pages

“Vanitas”

This collection of ephemera collages are free to use for your own junk journal / art journal projects.

The theme “Vanitas” is part of a wider genre called “Memento Mori”, and refers to a form of funereal art that was popular in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Vanitas artworks often depicted not just the direct products of decay such as skulls, bones, and rotting fruit, but also more metaphorical representations of the fragility of life – including flowers, butterflies, birds, animals, hour-glasses, candles, et cetera.

Paintings and other works of this genre were intended to remind the viewer of the transience of life and the certainty of death. This was not necessarily a simple morbid obsession; rather, it was believed that by contemplating mortality, one could avoid the pitfalls of excessive vanity. At the heart of Vanitas we find a curious contradiction; they were claimed to be moralistic in purpose – but (it might be argued) the genre may have been used as an excuse to depict luxurious and/or shocking subjects which might otherwise have been frowned upon by some religious authorities.

My modern take on the genre is an homage to Vanitas – a fascinating conundrum.

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Downloading Images

When you select an image, the Image Carousel displays, allowing you to scroll/swipe left and right through the Gallery. If you want to download/copy the best resolution of a particular image, look for the Information icon within the Carousel view, tap/click it, and select “view full size”.)

Gallery – Free Junk Journal Pages

The collage sheets were originally intended to be used as part of another project but didn’t make it in the end. They were created using what I call my “back & forth” technique:

  • Digital images are collated from the public domain
  • The images are printed into the real world on inkjet paper
  • A real world “smash book” is made by adapting an unwanted volume found in a charity shop.
  • Background papers are set up to form the basis of an art journal.
  • Individual paper items are cut out, and glued into the art journal
  • The collages are further embellished using many and various craft techniques including acrylics, inks, water-colour, felt pens, rub down transfers, peel-offs, and gilding with gold, copper or silver leaf.
  • Each real-world page is then scanned back into the digital realm.
  • Digital image processing techniques are used to further enhance the pages.

Each image is a JPG at 4200 x 4200 pixels – sufficient resolution for printing up to 12 inches / 300 mm square.

Creative Commons licence. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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