technique + making of
scissors are my paintbrush
My analog collages contain dozens of cut out pieces, each meticulously hand-scissored after being chosen for their content, and also importantly, for their scale. Collectively, these layers are combined to form a new reality, and it’s this technique that’s applied for each original work.
While my resource library is vast, specific decades from 1950s-70s are usually a starting point for subject matter, and give my works a retro-futuristic vibe – especially in the modernist architecture of the era.
In developing my collage style, I set my own rules early on, whereby I would camouflage any noticeable blunt edges or cuts, in order to make a work that is as seamless as possible. This may mean covering an imperfection, or, for example, extending a subject matter if only part was usable from its original source. This problem solving is an integral part of my process when conceptualising these new visual narratives.
For new large scale works, I have been custom-printing oversized images, creating seamless backgrounds. This development has been a major step for enhancing the scale without restriction.
I love to draw people in with my collages, so that they may discover the small surreal details after repeated views. These minute details, added with the context of the picture, tend to play with one’s consciousness. And hopefully yours!
BUILDING A STORY
VIDEO – MAKING OF 'DESERT BABES'
Selected artworks are available for sale,
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After image selection is made, and pieces are cut and individualised, the arrangement takes a constructive turn. As the picture builds, the cut outs are placed in several options, all photographed and viewed on a device before proceeding. This way I can take a step back and see it clearly as a picture, and if it's the story I want to tell. Sometimes this can lead down another visual path.
DESERT BABES [left + below] was a commission piece. The brief asked for cactus, rocks, architecture, nudity, and Palm Springs vibes. I placed the house in the middle of a desert, complete with ancient pillars and arches, and built the story of the sunbathing women around a double pool.
working in scale
When I discovered an ancient wall image, perfectly in scale to use inside a large, double page spread of a pool interior, I was very inspired as the arch of the ruin mimics the arch in the pool's reflection, and in perfect scale. After that breakthrough, the picture naturally built up using layers of ancient arches to form a roof. A statue was found in a similar colour to the water. With an arm outstretched, it is now at the bottom of the water, forever reaching for air. If you look closely you'll spot signs for the changing rooms just behind the pillars.
Lastly I placed a moody cloud skyline upside-down, to give the picture a dreamlike quality.
THE FINISHED COLLAGE
Each individual piece is glued in reverse order of layers with a premium-strong glue-stick. The finished board is then sprayed with a protective matt spray.
For cutting, I almost always use scissors. There is more control in that you can hold the image and turn the page as you cut, rather than a knife flat on a board. There are times though when the knife is needed for holes.
For this large scale piece, I wanted to create a new city with excessive use of architecture. Modernist and brutalist buildings predominate, complete with retro-futuristic towers and sunken gardens. A huge overhead bridge seamlessly joins the street in the distant horizon. This is one of my most technically challenging works, as there are so many pieces to make a collage of this size.
A collage of discovery. I built this piece up of rocks and cliffs, creating an organic window. We see through the eyes of the camouflaged mountaineer, resting as he looks down towards the building perched in front of the powerful falls. Across the vista, he spots another climber high above the scene. I purposely made this piece in a neutral palette, where tiny cutouts are only found on close inspection. Something I try to incorporate with most of my collages.
For this piece I knew I wanted to have a spectator aspect, where the people have their back to the viewer. They are placed in an electric art gallery setting, looking at gilded frames that hold the universe. Bold graphic stripes of neon complete the background. An early and cropped version was used as the official invitation to THE OTHER ART FAIR in 2017.
MEET YOU AT THE RAPIDS
I use photography every step of the design process. It helps with image selection, especially when selecting foreground or background options. I can look at the device to see the image, rather than the actual collage, and this gives me another dimension to make decisions as the story is built. For this piece I created a tourist sight – the rapids – next to a modernised castle, which could be a gallery or visitor information building.
Architecture is a major beginning point to a lot of my works, and by mixing modernist and brutalist buildings to form THE COMPLEX, it became a monochrome study of dimension, angles and ratio. This square collage was sent to LemoArt gallery in Berlin. [below] the finished piece.