Finding: Source Material in the Archives of American Art Ray Yoshida

Ray Yoshida was a voracious collector of ordinary things. His paintings and collages incorporated images from popular culture, which he collated and rearranged to produce new meaning. He frequented the thrift shops and flea markets of Chicago in search of vintage catalogs and scrapbooks, as well as trade and medical supply catalogs, cooking magazines, and comic books. From these sources, Yoshida built an idiosyncratic archive of carefully clipped eye-catching shapes, some of which he piled into little boxes and bags and others he pasted into scrapbooks.

Of particular interest are his collections of what he called “specimens,” or snippets from comic books, as they illuminate the artist’s eye for imagery and patterns. His process for creating order out of multiple sources provides an instructive sense of how his everyday activities were inseparable from his art.