The Messy Spontaneity Of Collage

Following on from my 360 book's second instalment, which focused on more of a messily real (and slightly romantic) textural interpretation of real-time subjects, this instalment focuses on shapes and mixed media interaction. I made a bunch of collages with scrap paper and torn sections of paintings, revelling in the shape and tactility of each paper object. I find it really pleasing to rip things up and slap them down, so collage has always appealed to me because of its sense of catharsis. In the book About Collage, Laura Biggs claims that collage is indicative of a "human, irrepressible impulse to gather, fuse, and fix(Blake et al, 2000). I love the collection aspect of collaging. Building up a personal library of materials to use is half the fun. One can play at curation and creation simultaneously. Perhaps more personally so if the components of your collage were made by you in the first place (as they were in this case). I'm not a neat collagist. I love the chaotic spontaneity of constructing compositions in a rapid way, allowing for little consideration of placement.

There is some consideration of placement, though, and this is where the skill lies; in keeping the wonderful, discordant chaos of messy collaging present whilst asserting just the right slice of savvy compositional control. It has to be quick and confident. Right on the cusp between mess and calculation. No undos.

In this bundle of pages I have also reintroduced the cartoon character archetype to mingle with the textures and shapes of paint and lines and torn edges. it's a world they fit into rather well, actually. Cartoon forms seem to absorb the textural representation of tangible reality from the collaged pieces. The texture of their paper playground makes them seem more tangible by association. The visible brush strokes and white, sea foam-like torn envelope edges situate the characters in an unmistakably real world. The movement of the real is visible alongside them, and so they appear more real thanks to their presence next to the evidence of reality.

  1. Blake, P, Ades, D, and Rudd, N. (2000). About Collage. London: Tate Gallery Pub. p. 9.

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