Tuesday, 14 May 2013

First Handmade Collages

Collage #1

These collages are handmade collages, approximately book-page size, which I made in the early to mid1990s. They are made primarily from scrap paper such as old prints of mine; old geographical maps, foreign newspapers, colored/marbled papers, old books and old documents which I Xeroxed and cut up. They are glued to a stiff background of watercolor paper or Stonehenge. In some collages are contained more personal scraps such as my old study notes, ticket stubs etc. and various types of printed stuff picked up on travels so there is an odd indirect sense of autobiography. 

It is obvious, especially in retrospect, that I, like all collage artists, have had my ‘affectations’.  Most collage artists, for example, like vintage papers and other ‘old’ materials that sometimes cause the work to seem a bit too ‘nostalgic’ while many other collages I have seen have struck me as too decorative.   I have my affectations too – I like old papers, stains, textures, old text and illustrations.  I like the coarse borders and half-tone patterns in old Pravda photographs and all sorts of detritus from print culture, especially on soft or old paper – tickets, maps, newspapers, packing tape etc. I like things such as letters, words, numbers etc. that imply an information system but are meaningless out of context.  I have always avoided glossy magazine photographs as material for collage and have avoided images that still carry the weight of cultural currency – brand names, advertisements etc.

The more successful of these are the basis for originally wanting to do something further with the collages - such as convert them into prints. The collages included here are some of my favorites that I kept and did not mail or give to people. Converting many of these collages, I knew, would be too difficult to translate into handmade prints in the traditional ways, involving a number of different techniques and plates or steps required to capture all the various colors, textures etc.

For years, I thought of converting the images to prints in a larger format but in the early 90s the only options (such as Iris printing) were expensive and prohibitive and not always produced the desired results. That has all changed with the reasonable affordable new lines of Epson digital printers, graphic scanners and archival acid-free rag papers designed for use in the printers.  I purchased a new Epson 9900 Inkjet printer in 2012 and haven’t looked back.  

#69 - 28/III/95

#11 - 6/X/93

#54 - VIII/94

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