Vintage Collage Artwork

One of my favorite cities in Florida is Miami South Beach, and for many reasons. First and foremost is the number of Art Deco hotels on Ocean Drive, the main strip running along the east coast. I’ve visited numerous times over the years along with my camera; at first with my vintage 1972 Polaroid Land camera to create hand manipulated images then with a digital camera. I’ve photographed many of the hotels and nearly all of the unique colorful lifeguard stands on the beaches.


A Bygone Era, mixed-media artwork by Rene Griffith.
A Bygone Era, 24x30 inch mixed-media artwork on canvas by Rene Griffith.

A Little History

The iconic Colony Hotel was designed in 1935 by Henry Hohauser who also designed many of the Art Deco hotels on Ocean Drive. Built in 1939, people from around the world still come to stay there. Located in the Miami Art Deco District, it is the most photographed hotel and has appeared in many movies. I took this photo of the Hotel along with the photo of the vintage Packard sedan on one of my trips. As prints, the one of the hotel was called Rendezvous and the title to the car was Grand Illusions. At that time I was working with a New York based company that provided poster prints for home decor to frame shops, retail stores, framed art and mirror company’s, and DIY stores such as Michael’s and Hobby Lobby. Their art director convinced me to convert my full color images to sepia (brown) instead of black and white. That gave them even more of a vintage look and were popular with interior designers.


Flying Lady, 24x30 inch mixed-media artwork by Rene Griffith.
Flying Lady, 24x30 inch mixed-media artwork on canvas by Rene Griffith.

Art Within My Artwork

Using my photographs as the inspiration in these two mixed-media collages, the titles to the ones shown here are called A Bygone Era and Flying Lady respectively. Here, I have used my original art prints and distressed them further by lightly sanding. I then added collage materials such as vintage magazine ads, letters, envelopes, stamps, photographs, and papers. Flying Lady has my photo of a 1940’s Packard. Many people may have never seen one but when you do, you will immediately recognize its hood ornament called a “flying lady”; they are highly collectible. In 1940, Packard was the first automobile manufacturer to offer air conditioning as an option in their cars and they were the first to have powered windows!

Want to go back in time a little, visit an area that is known for its collection of Art Deco hotels, yet is full of life, energy, music, good food, eclectic people, high-end cars, fashion, and Latin dancing, Miami South Beach is the place to go!

Want to See More Hand Manipulated Polaroids?

Please visit my website to see more of my hand manipulated Polaroid images.

Part photograph, part painting; I call them fauxtographs. It is now a lost art form because the film is no longer made.

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CONTEMPORARY MIXED-MEDIA ARTIST