James KoehnlineJames Koehnline (pronounced KEN-line) is a collage artist whose work has graced many anarchist periodicals and books as well as music CDs. He has co-edited a number of books and had his work collected in Magpie Reveries. He designs and edits the yearly Autonomedia Calendar of Jubilee Saints which is also the thematic core for the Daily Bleed Calendar (now online for some 7+ years); currently resides in Seattle, Washington, worked for some years at Recollection Used Books.
Koehnline has been creating works of art, in various media all his life, largely influenced by his father's passion for surrealism. He pursued a formal education at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design before attending Columbia College in Chicago. Most recently he studied digital media at the Art Institute of Seattle. Meeting at Columbia College, Koehnline gained further direction under the mentoring of collagist, sculptor and host of the weekly radio broadcast "Art and Artists" (WFMT), Harry Bouras. Koehnline has also been involved in a number of grass roots political groups and in 1985, joined several other artists in establishing the collective gallery/studio, Axe Street Arena. Housed in an abandoned Golblatt's department store in Logan Square (Chicago), Axe Street members strove, according to Koehnline, to "explore the place where art and politics meet". Koehnline utilized the seemingly unlimited space at Axe Street for delving into a long run of monotype print making (the press being a gift from Bouras) and crafting his "Chaos Papers." The later being marbled paper he created with brilliant printing inks in a fashion similar to the Japanese Suminagashi, the volatile inks allowed to drift reactively across vats of water, stirred into swirls and patterns by chemical tensions and earthly vibrations and the subway below. While living and working at Axe Street Arena, Koehnline met Ron Sakolsky, music critic, anarchist and professor at Sangamon University (Illinois) at the Conference of the Alliance for Cultural Democracy. Years later, in Seattle, the pair edited the book, ''Gone to Croatan: the Origins of North America Drop Out Culture, published by Autonomedia (New York) in 1993, the same year the two set anarchists politics aside, in order that Koehnline could marry, with Sakolsky presiding over, or rather, pronouncing the vows complete. When questioned about why an anarchist would embrace legal matrimony, Koehnline, paraphrasing Wendell Barry, claimed,"I decided to be happy, though I had considered all the facts." Back at Axe Street Arena, Koehnline currated two mail art shows. The first show, "The Haymarket Centennial International Mail Art Exhibition," explored the Haymarket Massacre, labor issues and the history of May Day, with entries from nearly 50 countries. The result was a catalog called, "Panic," which evolved into several issues. Through this event Koehnline became acquainted with Hakim Bey for whom he has created several book covers and came to befriend members of the New York-based publishing collective, Autonomedia. Having become involved with mail art projects initiated outside of the collective and falling into zine culture.
Still living and working at Axe Street, emeshed in zine culture, Koehnline took a position as a librarian. The bounty of visual material at his fingertips and the A Reader's Guide to the Underground Press ready for output, Koehnline became a prolific cut and paste collagist.
Jubilee Garden, No. 5
Digital collage and painting for the cover of an imaginary CD-ROM package.
Gone to Croatan
Cut and paste collage I made as cover art for alternative American history anthology I co-edited, GONE TO CROATAN: The Origins of Drop-out Culture in North America (Autonomedia, 1994).
Matrix of Suburbia
On the Brink
Orgies of the Hempeaters
Fun With Your New Head 2
Jes' Grew No. 1
Seen But Not Heard
Pandora's Box 2
At the Beach
Literature 1 (#deepdream)
Seizure and Forfeiture
Digital paint and collage -- a comment on the tyranny of seizure and forfeiture without conviction in drug prosecutions.Since some people thought this referred to seizing illegal drugs, further explanation seems in order. The Seizure and Forfeiture statutes are not so much about seizing contraband -- which is, after all, just supposed to be destroyed. They are all about seizing cars, boats, houses, cash and anything else with resale value, because it MIGHT have been purchased with dirty money. If it should come to pass that the accused is cleared of all charges, it then becomes his or her responsibility to file suit in hopes of regaining his or her possessions. There is maybe a slightly better than even chance of succeeding, if one has the wherewithal to hire a top-flight lawyer. Why does this situation exist? To enrich local police forces and pay-off corrupt informants, of course.
Jes' Grew No. 3
Flying Robot Assassins
Salvagepunk Scrapbook of Days (full size)
This is the full-size file of my 2014 piece, Salvagepunk Scrapbook of Days for the Age of Rolling Apocalypse, inspired by the Evan Calder Williams book, Combined and Uneven Apocalypse, and used as the front cover art for the Autonomedia Calendar of Jubilee Saints, 2015 (23rd annual edition). Radical Heroes for the New Millennium. Every Day a Holiday!
DDI.022 (Deep Dream Investigations Series)
DDI.129 Liberated Carbon Refinery
DDI.135 Watch Where You Step
"...a face on every mountainside, a soul in every stone..."
DDI.136 Inner Sanctum Clutter
DDI.137 Deep Periphery
Deep Dream is a perfectly good name for this little neural network app, but I think of what it does as comparable to the rough-sort filters that visual data passes through, the stages we are mostly unaware of, except when drugs or circumstances or short circuits bring them to our attention, usually briefly, usually quickly forgotten. I think that's part of why I am fascinated with the imagery and why my wife is somewhat repulsed. It is like a part of your brain is saying of some monstrosity from dd, "oh yeah, I've seen one of those before, in the shadows of those bushes across the street," and even tho you are certain you've never seen any such thing in the Real world, you think well maybe I haven't, but then there is someone else in my body who sees them all the time, and what am I to make of that?
Epicurus on Mars
Autonomedia Calendar of Jubilee Saints, 2014
Anatomy of the Anthropocene, Plate 17
VEA Version 3
Back in 1986 my friend Ron Sakolsky and I curated an international mail art exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the Haymarket Affair, at Axe Street Arena, a gallery and performance space I ran with some friends in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood. We created a catalog for the show in the form of the first issue of PANIC! (of which there would be three). I wrote this piece for page one, stealing a few phrases from Burroughs and Crowley. It seems as relevant today as it did then.Would you agree?
Twilight of the PetroDollar
Empire of the Dead 2
One more red nightmare
Using the Donald as non-saint placeholder as I work up to my 25th annual Autonomedia Calendar of Jubilee Saints for next year. 2017 will also be the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love - maybe the Geriatric Summer of Love
Artist | Professional | Digital Art
Artist | Professional | Digital Art
|Current Residence: Seattle, WA, USA
Library Worker, AFCME Local 2083, AFL-CIO.
Associated with Autonomedia Publishing Collective since 1990.
Drawing, painting and printmaking from 1971 to 1985. Cut and paste collage from 1985 to 1995.
Digital art since 1996. dA since 2006.
In the beginning I was heavily influenced by my father's Max Ernst collection and his art library with its focus on surrealism, then by Franklin Rosemont's Chicago Surrealist group, starting with the fabulous international exhibition they mounted in Chicago in 1976. Studied art at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and at Columbia College, Chicago, where I met artist, teacher, critic and radio personality, Harry Bouras. Studied with Harry privately. Started the alternative gallery, Axe Street Arena with six friends in 1985 on the top floor of a big old former department store in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood. Through a show I curated there with my friend Ron Sakolsky, I connected with anarchist poet-philosopher, Hakim Bey, and began a long series of collaborations with him and the Autonomedia publishing collective in New York. In 1991 I moved to Seattle with my not-yet wife, Andrea Frank, and did the first of many CD covers for Bill Laswell. In 1992 I initiated the Autonomedia Calendar of Jubilee Saints, now in its 24th annual edition. I came to deviantART in 2006, took over running the SurrealArts club for a year, then started the Lost Book Club here, which was a great experience. Lost Books has been given new life on Facebook by some of my old partners-in-crime, and has really taken off. In the last few years I've been laying low, working a straight job, being a father, reading and studying, and making art here and there. I think I've got a new burst of creative work coming on, so I'm updating my page here.
2016 Update: In Dec. 2015 I turned 60. I am now afforded full license to be a Crank!*
Thanks to all who take a look. I sometimes post on facebook. I have two or three personal Web sites, all terrible messes that I have not looked at in years, literally, so this is really the place to see the most of my art. Always willing to consider licencing work for reproduction (fees from zero to several thousand dollars, depending who you are and what you want to do with it). I also do commissioned work, when I feel like it.
*crank: a small device that makes revolutions