Monday, April 28, 2014

lets talk collage...

 coll- age (n) :
1. a
technique of composing a work of
art by pasting on a single surface various materials not normally associated with one another, as newspaper clippings, parts of photographs, theatre tickets, and fragments of an envelope. 

I've always liked a nice bit of collage --- since high school I've been partial to a bit of cut and paste (old school style - with scissors and scalpel and a big pot of glue). Collage and assemblage have been an integral part of my arts practice for the past few decades. Hannah Höch has long been one of my favourite artists. I love the collage/ assemblages of Joseph Cornell. I love what aussie artists (and booky people) Gracia and Louise and Glen Skien have been doing with collage.

Collage is my 'go-to' creative activity. When I'm in between arty projects - there's collage. When I only have a small amount of time for creative endeavours - there's collage. When I can't quite figure out how to resolve an arty piece - there's collage. When I am feeling 'meh' about everything - there's collage. Collage has saved the day (and my sanity) more times than I can say 'pass the paste please'.

There are many things I like about collage. It's super economical - with a pile of old newspapers and a pot of home made paste you're set to go. It can be very friendly on the environment - I don't really have 'waste' in my studio, I keep the smallest teeny bits of paper scraps in a dedicated tin, because, you know, they might be useful *someday* ...

Almost ANYTHING can be used in collage (which does tend to make one hoard stuff like envelopes, tickets, receipts, cardboard boxes, fabric scraps, buttons, bottle tops, foil packets and paper of all sorts)....

yes I have an even bigger tin dedicated to used postage stamps
and you don't want to see my collections of buttons!

I love how you can start with a couple of areas of paint and add postage stamps and bits of used paper and more paint, and more paper bits until a story emerges...

mixed media collage 2001

I love how disparate 'stuff' can be brought together and all sorts of interesting things can happen...



I love the graphic and abstract possibilities. I love the fluidity and ease of making... I even love slopping paste and glue around, despite knowing that I'll get adhesives all over the place... Most of all I love how the quirky juxtapositions of collage create ambiguity, dichotomy and layers of meaning.... mostly from materials that many would consider rubbish...

mmmmmm collage is goooooooooood

And so once more my creative spirit has (re)turned to collage. Yesterday I scattered some of my collage materials on my big studio table, sorted through until I found some interesting initial images to play with and pasted these onto some backing board... (collage is, if nothing else, a marvelously playful activity - I suspect that's why I find is so durn enjoyable - and why it recharges my arty batteries)

let the play session begin!

It all may seem to go horribly wrong - but all I have to do is slop on some more paint or gesso or paper or machinery parts (yes I've been known to create collage/assemblages from anything at hand - including my grandmother's 1950s mixmaster once) so how bad can it be....

wellllll time will tell....



  1. I love collages and I LOVE your way(s) with it!
    Good luck, I know you will produce magic!

  2. A post that really speaks to me Ronnie. Collage is my fave medium and I LOVE your pieces. As you say, collecting 'bits' can get out of hand but who cares.... you might use it all...if you live long enough.

  3. Love your collages! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!! x

  4. Ah! So this is where 'all is collage' was leading too! Such a relaxing thing to do and your efforts are charming. I'm pleased, but not surprised, to know you have collections of 'stuff' in case they come in handy. They will, of course, appearing when needed. Now I feel the need to go home and collage something.

  5. Yes! Collage! I especially like those bits in the pic before last…

    Careful with the stamps… I'm currently in the midst of a resurgence of my stamp fetish. I'm well beyond a single tin… tee hee.


  6. one of my favourite things at school was "cutting and pasting". fifty years later i'm still at it.


thanks for all your lovely comments - your words are greatly appreciated xx