Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Collage and its place in fine art.

I have always been a little bothered by collage , in respect to its place in the fine arts. Yes I know its evertywhere, and lots of artists use it but I have always kept it separate from my paintings. It has always been something that I felt I had to apologise to friends about. I don't know why but it just didn't seem to be "quite" the thing for an artist to be involved with.


"Clothes To Die For", my first ever collage and was 20 x 16 inches, see a larger version on my Flickr account. I was involved with an art group which held special subject evenings and at a collage evening I was presented with a pile of magazines - this was the result. The variation in styles was something I had never conceived of.. But after this it was a very long time before I was to do another collage.


"We Will RememberThem", the next collage was a result two things. One: I had begun to take notice of ACEO collages on Ebay and Two: I had found a stash of family photos which I never knew existed. Putting these two together I made this collage. the three service men were three brothers of my mother who had all been in a different service. from the front, army, air-force and navy. they were fine at the end of the war but putting this together I couldn't help putting this title to the work. Once I had done this, I was grabbed by collage and it gradually became a more and more important part of my art work.

But still it bothered me!

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I needed to sort out my feelings with respect to collage, and so did some research into its history and its place in Fine art. The result is a Squidoo lens ( a single page web-site focusing on a niche topic.) it is called, not surprisingly, "Collage In Fine Art". This has eased my fears that it is not quite art and I found that it has a long history in the fine arts dating back to the days of cubbism when Picasso and Braques started to use ephemera to add interest and texture. I found a new hero in the shape of Kurt Schwitters and his work with found objects and of course there is so much collage and collages with other media in modern art that there can be no question of its right to be considered REAL ART.

I have run workshops for my art group in collage,







These are two collages, approximately 10x 8 inches; "Indulgence" and  "A Weekend In Prague" were both created using modern ephemera and again larger versions can be seen on Flickr. Indulgence was made using magazine images and A weekend in Prague uses tickets, ephemera, coins and photographs collected on a weekend in Prague - where else?

This actually raises another question. Why is vintage ephemera considered such a major item for much of the more craftier side of collage. And yes, I know I am falling into subjective use of the terms again. I think I will start a one man crusade for a fairer representation of modern ephemera, anybody feel like joining?

Why not take a look at the lens, "Collage In Fine Art" and let me know what you think. thanks for reading this far.

4 comments:

Tee said...

Great Post John! Very interesting! Thanks for sharing! Tee

Ranie Patridis said...

Very interesting post John. I do not understand collage. I have read the history I just can not fathom it. I do not understand why one would want to cut out pictures then re-arrange them into a scene. To me it never has that feeling of completeness. Guess that is why I do very many collage pieces anymore I do not feel it is my work instead a compilation of other's work re-arranged. I am interested though in another type of collage that is taking my sketch and tearing up small pieces paper to fill in the picture. Now to me that is collage art ..giggle.. each to their own!

Artyfax said...

Hi Ranie, you raise a very interesting point. I believe this is something like I felt but after my research into its history, I am now happy to treat collage materials just like the PAINT or PASTELS That I use in painting and drawing, etc.

Using your own work is certainly a great way of stimulating the creative juices, I have done that in a number of collage works.

Thanks for your comment

Lee said...

Hm, I needto go read up on it. I think collge is a valid form. For me, I can't paint (I think), but I still have ideas, and color schemes and other things that float around in my mind. Being able to cut things out and arrange them to make my statement is satisifying. That being said, I don't like hodge podge types of collage- I think there must be a definite flow and statement. Therefore, I add things to it, like color and paint and texture. OK, now I'm off to read up!!