Collection 1970s–Present

Arthur Jafa. Untitled notebook. 1990–2007 207

Printed papers, ink, and pencil on paper, cut-and-arranged in plastic sleeves in a three-ring binder, overall (binder): 11 5/8 × 10 15/16 × 2 13/16" (29.5 × 27.8 × 7.1 cm); sheet (each approx.): 11 5/16 × 9 1/4" (28.7 × 23.5 cm). Gift of Jack Shear. © 2022 Arthur Jafa

Arthur Jafa: I lived in New York for about 15 years. And it was the heyday of newsstands and magazines and bookstores. We went to Central Park West Sunday nights, there would be bundles of magazines like in the streets. For a person that obsessively collected images, it was like a light bulb went off in my head.

So I spent a lot of time flipping through magazines, buying magazines, and cutting out the images. Just like designers have mood boards, that's what they are. They're mood boards. Like most people work on commercials and stuff. They do some version of this. It's just for me, from the beginning, I used them to corral ideas around specific film projects, but at some point it was like anything that I was interested in.

The pictures moved from just being in between the pages of a sketchbook to being in a proper book where they could be displayed or shared with people. I've long since stopped making books. As soon as I got my first laptop and stumbled onto Adobe Creative Suite, there was the internet. All of a sudden there was Google and you could just search images.

I think it's fairly human to recoil from things that are disturbing. But I definitely trained myself to push towards things that disturb me. If something disturbs me first and foremost, I'm just, I'm fascinated by why I'm disturbed by it. I mean, I'm interested in how a picture, which is not real, can affect you.

It's all associative. It's all about relation. What is the relationship between that thing that's in front of you, the thing that preceded, and the thing that's following? The whole idea was always, if you took this thing and that thing, you overlap them, like the place in which they overlapped was you.

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