Collage: The Process
Definition quoted from ARTLEX, http://artlex.com/
collage - A picture or
design created by adhering such basically flat elements as newspaper, wallpaper,
printed text and illustrations, photographs, cloth, string, etc., to a
flat surface, when the result becomes three-dimensional, and might also
be called a relief sculpture. Most of the elements adhered in producing
most collages are "found" materials. Introduced by the Cubist artists,
this process was widely used by artists who followed, and is a familiar
technique in contemporary art.
"Collage" was originally a French word,
derived from the word coller, meaning "to paste."
Sources of inspiration:
a- a thought, memory,
b- materials such as found
objects, natural items, art media...
c- the processes of the
art form itself
2- Developing the Idea
This can take a long time to materialize
and can change many times during the production.
It helps to sketch, make notes, and
list what is needed, but even after careful planning the art usually evolves
into something different than my original plan, as it should.
3- The Search
Finding the right materials can be
fun or frustrating, and choosing the right art media to work with those
matierials can be a challenge. Sometimes this is what makes or breaks the
work. Artistic knowledge of how the materials and mediums interact is very
All of my collage works require preliminary
steps. Sometimes it is the of preparation of special papers, manipulating
photos or drawings in graphic programs on the computer, or drying or preserving
natural elements that will be used. There is always the need of finding
the right support and applying grounds. Depending on the complexity of
the collage, the preparations can take months to complete.
As you can see, 'assembling' is only
part of the process. After all the preliminary steps, the artist is finally
ready to shape something whole from the fragmented vision of the creative
inward eye. The pile of collected materials are always more than I will
ever use. This makes the matter of 'choice' one of the most difficult stages
of all. Artistically speaking, this is my moment of great anticipation...
the thrill seeker's moment of adrenilyn rush. It is the challenge
of creating something beautiful from the chaos..... that penical between
despair and hope. That is the part of collage which carries a deeper meaning....
my life song. It is too profound and too personal to explain.
Aside from the creative 'understanding'
one comes to with their chosen art form, the collage artist has to have
an understanding of composition. It is crucial to understand the elements
and principles of design, because the work can fail if an artist does not
know how to unify the various parts. This is why many become discouraged
with the art of collage. Layering dynamics is equally important. This goes
beyond which adhesive works for each type of material, or what to glue
down first. Collage requires a combination of skill, technique, and artistic
It also demands patience and the ability
to manage the mess of collecting, sorting, and storing all the materials.
Space is another factor. The collage artist has to store: supports (ranging
from canvas, heavy papers, or boards); files or boxes of various paper
types; various art media (acrylic paints, gels, and mediums; watercolor
paints, inks, pastels... and more); the non-art objects, which can range
from fabrics, to cut outs of images and text, to dried leaves and broken
jewelry. There is no limit to the types of material a collage artist
might use. My family helps me in the 'great search', making my storage
system even more demanding as all these neat treasures float in from unknown
Trial and error, and occasional failure
are commonplace in collage work, therefore the love of collage has to be
larger than the ego of the artist. This is an art form full of problem
solving and innovative risk taking. It offers mystery, hidden secrets,
and adventure. I never really know how it is going to turn out, but even
if it is less than I had hoped, the journey is always fun.
Even with all of the requirements and processes,
collage is a freindly art form. It is one that invites children and the
non-artist to explore. More and more crafters are using collage in creative
explorations... such as scrapbooking, journaling, and card making. You
will notice advertizing design often engages the art of collage to get
the message across, which reinforces my own conviction of the expressive
possibilites for communicative content of this art form. Collage, as an
art form that is here to stay. It is one of boundless possibilities and
will most likely never be nailed down to any one set of rules or conditoins.
It is a free-form of artistic expression. Only the artist can say what
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