Remix (December 2015, Vol. 16, No. 12) February 2020
The Oprah Magazine Remix Challenge Commentary- Critique:
On the technical side, the flimsy magazine paper was not easy to cut or paste. Despite this problem, the magazine surprisingly produced 14 collages. That's a whoping 14,000 dollars worth! (Not really) However, only half of them turned out well. These collages received a pass due to their superior visual interest, composition, style, and color combinations. Also, the ideas and execution of the ideas were unique. Christmas magazine issues like Oprah's are tricky as almost every image has some sort of decorative embellishment on it. The magazine was chock full of Oprah's Favorite Things! The collages that made the grade are above the line and sadly, those below the line did not. Let's get to it.
Seven of the collages turned out quite well; however, we only have time to discuss the notable top three. From top left to right starting with the first one. This cool collage with the flesh tones, the brilliant reds contrasting with the minimal baby blues mimics a Picasso like palate. The overall composition is abstract, but with enough information to inform us of the subject matter. Normally cut up body shapes would be deemed a creepy concept reserved only for the criminally insane, but somehow this collage doesn't feel that way. The shapes, form and color work together to create a sensibility that is somewhat erotic, but also in harmony. The second 2015 snow globe illusion has a fractured head and has hints of Oprah's Christmas theme within it. The collage is also nuanced and suggestive of the fragile human spirit akin to the fragile glass snow globe. The blue background helps to punch out the circular motif. Thirdly, the Ryan Gosling spicy, bold and sweet collage has a tongue and cheeky feeling of a B rated film poster of yesteryear. The youngish boy toy actor as the ultimate desirable accoutrement of the aging rich and famous. The slogans which would normally describe food has been used effectively as a play on words; conveying the women's feelings on dating younger men. The black and white images of the iconic women's gaze offers a voyeuristic view point. In addition, Ryan's poker face ploughs through the morass, looking straight at the viewer; only to leave you wondering, What is Ryan really thinking (about all this)? The black and white images juxtaposed against the color image suggests a nod to a bygone era contrasting with the present time. It is one of my favorites in this series. The others that made the grade also have positive traits and narratives that helped propel them above the line. Let's move on to the less desirable ones.
The more collages you make, the easier it is to intuitively distinguish between those that have a genuine vibe going on from those 'others' that are just faking it. The collages below the line did not get a passing grade for various reasons. These collages were either too cutesy, quirky or awkward. However you want to call it, they all failed to hit their stride due to a weak composition, lack of a focused idea, poor color combinations or did not manage to convey the idea well enough. For example, Oprah, as Barbie and her Barbie side kicks, wrapped up in mom's home baked cherry pie is one collage out of the seven that represents this invasive over the top cuteness. Sorry Oprah, this competition is not really about being cute. As well, the multiple hands motif is an interesting and clever concept, but difficult to pull off. This one feels creepy disguised as quirky. Thirdly, you can't deny, the "Here we go!" kid and his dressed to the nines bullish dog who just won best dressed at the local LGBTQ dog & pony show is a cute idea, but the collage is arranged in a too predictable a manner. Cute = boring. Lastly, the woman showing four fingers and the stack of Barbie's in a bowl makes me want to vomit. Perhaps it's the flesh colored balloons in the fore ground, or that the fourth Barbie has Oprah's face on it. I need a seltzer! The others are less notable jumbles. Although they all try hard to rise up to meet the challenge, they missed the mark. However difficult it is, this is - The 2020 Magazine Remix Challenge! Pan to commercial break.
As stated before, this Oprah Magazine Christmas issue was challenging because of all the holiday themes overflowing with cuteness so is it any wonder that half of them ended up being labeled cute or quirky. That's 7 thousand (imaginary) dollars down the drain! Too bad, better luck next time.