Collage artists have been repurposing for years. It was called recycling, before it became trendy, and frugal folks have always been involved in it.
Collage is a term derived from the French word for glue. Paper, string, ribbon, photos and other objects are commonly used to embellish paintings. Found objects, items that have a non-artistic use, are also incorporated into a work of art.
Collage has been seen in artwork many hundreds of years old, but it began to take a significant place in art just after the turn of the 20th century. Pablo Picasso and Georges Braques both came up with the phrase to define the new approach of art they were creating as a specific style of modern art.
No Saggy Supports, Please
Anything that will fit on a support without falling off is fair game for the collage artist. The first thing to consider, however, is how much weight is going to be attached to the support.
If paper, threads, beads, photos and very small objects will be used in a piece, standard canvas or paper may be considered as the support for the work. If, on the other hand, the artist plans on adhering large amounts or heavy pieces to his painting, he should use a rigid support. Gessoed Masonite is a practical, sturdy support that can hold considerable weight without flexing. This is important, as movement of the support can weaken the glue holding the assemblage, cracking and dislodging the items.
Composition And Collage
Collage is typically pre-planned, to some degree. The artist has a theme or specific composition in mind, and plans to use found objects or additions to the painting. The artist will compose his work just as he normally does, with the idea that certain elements will be added to specific locations on his painting to add interest and texture, become a focal point, or be the center of interest.
This artist has learned to see the found objects as an integral part of his work. They blend homogeneously with the work and do not appear as postage stamps stuck on as after the fact. It takes time to develop this ability. As the student learns to paint, he becomes comfortable with laying the two-dimensional paint onto a two-dimensional support. However, adding three-dimensional objects to the work without appearing as an afterthought is something experience teaches.
Seemingly random bits are actually planned additions to the piece, whether by design, or by the artist’s innate feelings. Composing grows easier as the student practices, and the addition of found objects will become easier as he continues to produce works that include collage.
Start Small And Simply
A student should get comfortable with integrating found objects into a painting. This takes time and repetition to add items in a subtle and understated manner. Perhaps a memory painting, incorporating things from a subject’s life, is an easy way to start.