My journey in discovering collage began less than a year ago. I came across a magazine called "Somerset" which I had never seen before. It contained an article about an artist name Keith Lo Bue. I read that article in pure amazement, I never knew this kind of art even existed. It was the most amazing art I have ever seen! His art is eerie & hauntingly archaeological, historical, small scale assemblage/jewerly. His pieces are like "Little vapours of memories" an exact quote from Mr. Lobue.
After viewing his website, it was like an awakening for me...as if I had been in a deep slumber all these years! His art moved me to take deep reflection on life in general.
So in search of new inspiration, I came across Art E Zine & found these amazing artists & there beautiful artwork. I then, came to the conclusion, "I have to create!" Mostly for my sanity living with 3 boys!
To find vintage images & ephemera to create something, I found ebay had many great items for collage/altered books & much more. I also found my favorite artist, Lani Kent (healingexpressions) her art was so inspiring to me, it touched my soul. There is also so many talented artists on ebay, under ACEO & ZNE that I truly admire. So from that point on, I started making altered books & atcs to sell & to my surprise, people were buying my art! My first altered book I made sold for $368.00...my feet didn't touch the ground for days! (contd. below)
To me, the fascination of collage is like a visual statement or story from times past & forgotten, and the thought of bringing together different fragments into a new context & creating meaning, where there wasn't much meaning before, intrigues me. I adore using images that are pained & bittersweet. A vintage lost ticket, an old handwritten letter, a tattered bottle cap or old books, these things seem to take you back to a lost place in time, but are brought to life again in a whole new aspect..that amazes me.
One day, my young son & I, were sifting through an old sepia~toned photo album, he asked me "Mommy, when did color come into the world, and why was everything colored brown?" That statement was so innocent, yet so deep. I seem to base my art ,on his sweet statement, as if color was just beginning to creep into the world...slightly stained, muted & with a hint of color.
As for creating these pieces, I have found images, cd's & ephemera on ebay, also have found many old books & photo's at antique stores. Sadly, I don't use the original images, I usually scan copies, they are precious to me & I will hand them down to my children.
I don't use a lot of supplies in the process of making my art, I have a few favorite things...for example black ink stamp pad for edging, walnut ink & cat's eye fluid chalk, chestnut roan which give my pieces the browned, aged effect. Also, colored tinting pens. I use blue gel glue sticks for paper & gorilla glue for jewerly & rhinestones. I personally don't like to seal my art with varnish's or anything over the finished piece, it seems as if the images are not as touchable & not clearly seen, when sealed. With the plain papers visible, you are able to see more of the details, of cutting & pasting & the more they get touched they will look more aged as time goes on. (contd. below).
My technique could be easily described as...simply put-.collage & glue. But there is an immense spiritulness behind my work, even though I am new to art itself, I believe this is huge part of my method. I feel as though I am looking straight in to the depths of fear, pain, wishes, hopes, dreams, andexcitement, and by stepping into that reality, it helps me to use my untapped creativity, which is why I find collage art, easy for me, it feels second nature.
Collage technique has many processes to get to that final piece...and most of it , for me is, time spent on, searching & placing the pieces together. Less time is spent on the rest of the piece. Actually, painting & using the inks, is the easiest part of the process.
So in that sense, here is a synopsis of how I begin. I first envision a piece that I want to create, or I see an image that I love & want to create something with that image... I sit quietly, listening to that still small voice ,or walk away from my work & ponder awhile about that image. And I ask myself... What do I want to portrait? What does this image portrait to me? sadness? sorrow? love? joy? then eventually, thoughts come to mind and .... I am led to create.
The hardest part of beginning a piece is finding the main image, which I can spend hours looking on cds or thumbing through vintage images that I have collected, or search the internet for inspirational images. Then finding the right background & accompanying ephemera to add to the main image is always another huge undertaking.
With the right placement of the images, it just starts to appear before me & then all that time searching for the perfect pieces, all seem worthwhile, a sense of...."ok I am getting somewhere with this!"
Then comes the task of gluing each piece. Balancing them in the right perspective is the most crucial, but it is altered art, so if I don't like it, I can just rip it off or glue over it.
To bring it all together, I feel it is important in choosing the right colors, whether it is paint, inks, papers or a combination of all of them. I take the piece & slide it across the edges of the black ink pads, so it looks ragged & spotted, then I use the brown inks & lightly edge & dab over the black ink, then lightly rubbing the brown ink into the inside of the piece, with the brown stamp pad it is shaped like a cats eye, so it is held in hand easily, and shades nicely. I keep going over it several times until the I achieve the color of brown, that looks very aged & has had many years of handling.
In conclusion, I find it difficult to put into details, how to describe one's technique, & how to create art, when it is truly an act of ...soul creativity, within each individual. We can share with each other our methods, to get hints but when it comes down to the actual creation, we still have to lean on our own intuition of what feels right, to be led by your own sense of style. Debrah Pierce 04 05.