My main portfolio of work consists of pure magazine collage. Pure, in the sense that no other medium has been used with the collage. For over 20 years, I have been creating magazine collage. Prior to 2020, I would use a number of sources (magazines) to create a single collage. This year, I decided upon a fresh perspective to collage. This year, I made the decision to be more methodical in my approach.
First, I now record the source (magazine). I like the idea of being able to trace the source of the collage to know where the images come from. After all, when I cut up a magazine, I feel like I am collaborating with so many photographers, designers, fellow artists, architects, explorers and so on. It is a way to show respect for others’ artistic work; to acknowledge that these people contributed to the making of each collage. To focus on one magazine at a time. To upcycle by using only cast away magazines. To examine and evaluate them individually, then begin the transformation of turning each magazine into works of art through the action of cutting and pasting. The awareness of the overall affect of each completed series elevates the whole experience of creating through a popular, but disposable medium, the magazine.
Secondly, I wanted to challenge myself in terms of limiting my choice of images to just one magazine. I like to imagine myself on an archeological adventure, digging up the art elements hidden beneath each image of a magazine; sorting and piecing together; uncovering an imaginary world through magazine excavation. The challenge of seeing each image from a fresh point of view. Each magazine’s content dictates the mood or feeling of a collage from light and sexy to somber and heavy.
Thirdly, each magazine used represents a collage series. The magazine’s cover with the words: REMIX stamped on the front becomes the title or heading for the collage series; reimagining or re designing the inside of a particular magazine’s reality. The essence of my personal challenge was to discover how many collages I would be able to create from a single magazine. I became my own critic and judge, writing up a critique for each series, stating what I thought about the collages. This personal challenge became a way to refine my approach and technique to making collage. Excavating one magazine at a time; creating a series of collages from each magazine.
The challenge also forced me to compete against myself. To push myself beyond what I already knew about making collage. For example, breaking the rules regarding perspective. The magazines used were cast offs from other people. I never know what types of magazines I will receive or find. I force my self not to reject any magazines. Hence the more challenging magazines have been the literary ones, where the ratio between text is much higher compared to the number of images. These literary magazines usually produce 4 to 6 collages. On the other hand, a typical fashion magazine can produce upwards of twelve or more collages. They typically have extraordinary ranges of colors, and textures, plus a variety of figures in a broader range of poses. Also, special articles highlighting famous people can be fun to lampoon. Most of the collages from fashion magazines tend to be more playful or tongue and cheek. On the opposite spectrum are magazines like the National Geographic. The topics are generally much more serious and the color ranges are more natural and subdued, but not always. The adventure articles are spectacular, the locations amazing. This type of magazine has the potential to produce the most collages. Each magazine dictates the type of subject matter for the collages. However, I have at time obscured the images to the point of abstraction focusing purely on the art elements without any indication of reality, story or narrative to follow.
In addition, one benefit that comes from using only one source is the overall feel of each series. They tend to be more unified by default. The color palate for each magazine, creates unity unconsciously. I don’t necessarily need to be concerned with unity when creating each series. I often try to stay true to the articles and themes within a magazine. Staying with the range of images within a particular theme or article in the magazine. However, I am not so ridged as to not break my own rules. Since I can be somewhat manic when it comes to making collage. Most of the collages often seem like sketches to me as many are done rather quickly and pieced together intuitively without too much planning or forethought.
Finally, I have experimented with various methods. One method is to start from the beginning of the magazine and work with the images as they turn up from the first page to the last. Another method is to go through the magazine and cut out all the images and to organize them into piles to be used together for each collage. I do not have a preference and find both methods advantageous in organizing and loosely planning each collage. I will also work on three or more collages at the same time.