This was the very first collage project I experimented with. This was more of an artistic cleansing of sorts. Many aspects of the project were at once therapeutic and inquisitive. Here is a brief synopsis of the stages of the project:
FACE THE PAST: Once the idea hit me it was quite simple. I often use 1 or more source photos for my paintings and have kept all of the source images either still tacked on my inspiration wall or retired in a folder under my studio desk. Really they have all fulfilled their purpose as all my beautiful paintings have already been produced from them! Keeping them around was maybe a bit neurotic and a barrier for new ideas to really develop. Fish related or nature related, it was time for the pictures to evolve!
SPONTANEITY: Once all my old photographs were collected, I sat on the studio floor and flipped all of them over. All I saw now was about 50 or so blank white pieces. I grabbed my black sharpie and while looking around at current works in progress or new inspiration photos I had tacked on the wall, I drew quick line sketches of whatever initally grabbed my attention. Lines of fish: patterns, eyes, fins, lips, gills. Lines in nature: bends in a river, leaves, waterfalls, trees, clouds. Lines in my paintings: anything noted in my works in progress. Whatever was NEW was getting drawn on the OLD…lets just see what might happen??
INSTINCT: Now I cut out the shapes I had drawn on the back of the old photos. I still have not looked to see what the actual image was on the front of the photograph. This stage was me purely allowing the drawing based from my present influences to direct the shape I would cut out. The overall shape and what interior spaces I would cut out were all directed at random, in that I let my instincts guide me what to leave as positive & negative space. Xacto knife skills required at this point.
*COOL POINT #1: Letting it go. Sometimes I wanted to flip the image over so bad to see what I was cutting out. But that would be going backwards- and annihilate the whole objective of the project.
*COOL POINT #2: Since the images were always flipped over, I never knew if I was sketching a fish related drawing on the back of a fish image or nature image- and vice versa. Just interesting to note.
THE RESULT: I made a series of collages using my newly transformed "past imagery" shapes. Again, instinct was the driving force in my selection of which particular pieces to start with. The first collages started out joining just 2-4 shapes to make one collage. By the end I was using 6-9 shapes to make one collage. Sometimes I just overlapped shapes, sometimes I linked them together (looping or weaving the shapes). Some collages took me 1 minute to create, others took 20 minutes. Some were more successful than others. The objective in these were just to create "pleasing compositions"- I worked to create visual balance among the shapes, the colors, and the spatial arrangement on the white background.