I am obsessed and I make no apologies.
Collage. I am all in.
I don’t know how long it will last, but for now? All. in.
The first nudge to re-explore collage came about a year ago. In March 2018 I pulled out several collages in progress that had been sitting in various states of completion for years and laid them all out on my art table. I ran my hands over the loose pieces of paper, straightened them where they were crooked and thought back to the narratives and stories that went into the creation of each piece. Then I put them away.
The nudge reappeared throughout the year, but it was several months before I finally decided to follow it – just for fun. It was gentle at first: seeking books and online courses, taking note of collage styles I liked, going through my paper stash, reading, admiring, sorting…
Then a few weeks ago, nearly one year to the day on which got the first nudge, I heard a voice that said “Enough reading and sorting, time to go to the art table!”. So I did.
I’ve been spending hours in the studio having fun since.
I started with a series of mini-collages on 2”x4” canvases. A fortuitous find in my art supply drawer, the canvases turned out to be a perfect surface to play with because it turns out working with miniature images makes me inexplicably happy! I love my minis and I loved making them.
After completing seven minis in seven days I felt a nudge to experiment with a different format.
Now I play with old 8”x10” photo prints gifted to me by my sister (she also gifted me full permission to alter them). I choose an 8”x10” I like and use it as a background to create a visual narrative, positioning bits & pieces from my stash on it until things feel “just right.” It’s a highly scientific process.
Once I’m done with this format I will move on to the next because the creative possibilities of collage are endless. Thanks to the many sources of inspiration out there I already have other techniques and trials in mind and I greedily look forward to playing even more.
I discovered that I allow myself much more creative freedom with collage than I do with any other medium – except maybe mobile photography. I bring disparate images from disparate sources together into cohesive narratives, worlds and stories. I use colours and shapes in a way I wouldn’t normally use them when I’m painting.
I allow parts of me to come out that I tend to keep in check: the absurd, the dramatic, the irrational. It is liberating.
I wouldn’t have discovered that if I hadn’t followed the nudge.
The moral of this story?
If a creative nudge keeps coming back, follow it. Ease into it if you must, but keep taking action.
Research and prep yes, but don’t forget to experiment, play and learn. Go to your art table, whatever that may be.
Stay open. See where that nudge goes and when another one comes along, follow it and see where it leads. Who knows where you’ll end up, but I bet you’ll have fun along the way.
In spirit of discovery,