Collage Commentary

Riyadh, KSA

 

 

Over the past 40 years, I have been creating collage; the good, the bad and the ugly.

 

    What does the average person do with their old magazines, once they have been read and looked at? Discarded, eventually. However, magazines deemed too precious to throw away end up stored and often forgotten. Some day they may be dragged out to look at again, but most often not. As new magazines come out, the old one's are tossed aside. A few of the magazines that I consider 'keepers' are the National Geographic and Canadian Art, which have excellent content and quality images, not to mention are printed on high gloss paper, that works very well for collage. They are just two out of many magazines that are held in high esteem. I imagine many collectors would bawk at the idea of cutting them up.

    Early on I decided that my pursuit or obsession of collage meant that magazines printed and sold to the masses would be fair game as a raw resource for making collage. I reconciled with the taboo of cutting up precious magazines that by all accounts should be preserved. In a small way, better to recycle them than throw them away or let them sit gathering dust. Perhaps the collages could be considered a pseudo-collaboration with a whole host of photographers, architects, designers and artists who have (unknowingly) contributed to the making of my collages. Perhaps one day, I will form a real collaboration with the fore mentioned pool of talent.

    Collage is a unique art form that promises infinite possibilities; line, shape, color, texture, space, balance, typography, harmony, contrast, and size. These design elements play an integral part in the decision making of each collage. Sometimes the collage will be planned out in advance of creation, which entails searching for specific images, but my preference is to allow the images to dictate what the outcome will be as the collage progresses.

    The selected images are viewed objectively through the elements of art and design. In other words, an analysis of what each image has to offer in terms of line, shape, color and so on and how they might fit together. The images are viewed subjectively as well. Some images may remain somewhat intact to convey a specific reality, fantasy or a combination of both; to identify a person, place or thing within the collage; to mark an event or experience.

    Recycled discarded clippings; unaltered are sometimes worked into the collage. This provides a fresh spontaneity. However,underlying knowledge of art elements and previous experimental work drives the spontaneity.

    Currently, I have parred down my materials to the bare necessities due to space constraints:A strong A4 sized paper or larger, a good pair of scissors and plenty of glue sticks. Magazines are recycled from where ever I happen to be visiting or temporarily living. Sometimes I will splurge and buy a new magazine to cut up. Each series is influenced by my environment as well as the type of magazines I find or buy.  The results vary, from impressionistic to abstract; my interpretation of the scenery, the culture, and way of life are often purposely incorporated, using images and symbols that help to inform the viewer of a specific time and place, but this not always the case. Sometimes, my imagination takes me where it's meant to go during the time of creation.

    The original collages were never meant to last because of the impermanent materials used; however, I have overcome this problem by preserving the collage through the Giclee printing process. The collage is digitally scanned and ready to be printed on quality paper; limited editions.