When I was younger, I enjoyed making collage art…that is, my version of what I thought collage art was, which wasn’t much, really. I’ve looked around — I know I have one old collage in a notebook that I made as part of a college class in psychology — but I can’t find it. If and when I do, I’ll update this post to include it.
It was a “collection” more than a collage, because for me, that’s all collage meant. I would sometimes gather up a “collection” of my photographs — such as autumn scenes — and put them together into what I called a collage — which was nothing more than an arrangement of the photographs included.
I did branch out a bit with collage last year when I found FreeMix and used it to create a sort of digital collage, like the one below. Again, these were just collections of images put together in what I hoped was an interesting way.
Liz, our California girl turned Arizona resident, is an artist whose specialty is now painting rocks, but in her college years she was known among her friends as a sort of “collage artist”. Her collages were definitely more artistic than mine, but hers, too, were more collections than “art collages”. She sold a lot of collages representing various college activities and friendships. She definitely had a knack for it, and I admired (and envied) her talent.
Still, neither of us really got into collage as it’s actually done in the art world. Collage, as it is done today, means creating images from other images, and what a true collage artist can create is mind-boggling! All of which leads me to an artist named Derek Gores. He creates wondrous collages from old magazines, labels, letters… anything and everything! Unlike the “collective collages” my daughter and I have made, his collage art is, all at once, fanciful, imaginative, abstract, and representational. It’s been described as expressing “a fearless attitude of play.”
Take a look at this awe-inspiring collage:
Or maybe you’d like this one:
Or this one:
I am so in love with these colorful works, and I hope that someday I can create a “real collage” showing that same fearless attitude of play. Goodness knows, I have enough old magazines, collage papers (some of which I’ve created from my own artwork), letters, advertisements, old calendars, and other assorted things that could go into a collage!
What I lack is the know-how. My one attempt at creating an actual image in collage was laughable. I attempted to create a “floral collage”, using various images from a gardening catalog. The idea was to use pictures of flowers to create the petals of my flower, and trust me, it was awful!
Fortunately there are lots of artists and art instructors who are willing to share tips, tricks, and techniques. For “simple” collages — much like the ones I sometimes create at FreeMix — you can check out this link from Rookie magazine: Collaging for Beginners.
Artsy offers Three Simple Tips for Making Collage which includes examples from collage artists with different approaches. You’ll also find a lot of practical advice in Make a Collage from Nat Girsberger.
Megan Coyle shows how to create more representational collages — such as her “Pretty as a Peacock” here: How to Make a Paper Collage.
Artists’ Network includes several features on collage art, including an article in which Sandrine Pelissier demonstrates her techniques: Newspaper Collage and Painting. You will also find books — both real and electronic — at Amazon that provide ideas and inspiration for collage art and other mixed media work.
Collage is generally done with paper, but can also be done with fabrics. Artists often add other bits of “treasures” to their art. Adding words, quotations, and poetry can also give an expressive touch to a collage work.
Whenever I see collage art, I can’t help but think, “Oh, I want to try this!” So, no doubt — at some time in the future — I’ll go through my recycling bin. I’ll gather up different goodies and just have fun. I think that no matter how much we do — or don’t — know about collage art, it does come down to that fearless attitude of play.
We must be fearless, and yes, we must have fun.