When it comes to the order of each step of the process it is not always predictable. Sometimes I find the main image before I start a piece and sometimes I will build up a background and some design elements on the working surface and then find an image that fits well with the background or developing composition.
On some occasions I have actually designed and decided in advance on finished compositions in Photoshop. I’ve then transposed that composition onto wood or canvas using fine art mediums to make original handmade artworks. This method has been very useful when making much bigger works, for example, canvases that are around 48 x 48 inches.
In addition to collage I use acrylic paint for creating areas of color, shape or line. I often use gel transfers for applying images, scratched logos, words or numbers. Otherwise I use good quality photocopies and seal all the finished layers with gel medium.
Most of my images come from old books and magazines that I’ve been collecting over the last few years. These usually range from the 1940s to the 1980s and I’ve collected magazines from all around the world. I usually find them at flea markets, thrift shops and yard sales but some I bought on eBay.
In between finding old magazines and books my eyes are often scanning city walls and streets for torn detritus, old bill posters, discarded tickets, luggage and airline tags, old brochures, bits of typography and whatever else I think might become useful one day for incorporating into my work.
I was trained very well as a graphic designer but I’ve always felt that the art from of collage is not so much about trained technical skill, but very much about natural intuition.
Do you keep the magazines whole? Or do you cut out the pieces that you like and store them for later?
I cut out the pieces I like. I’ve never been too cautious or delicate with the publications that I collect. I’ve always acquired them with the intention of using the original images and elements. I believe this has been vital to my development and work process. I store lots of images in labelled boxes or drawers. The magazines then get stored in stacks. I’ve also got packets of imagery that have different labels on them like transport, people, furniture, typography, design elements, animals, etc. I sort most of my imagery in this way. It makes it much easier to find specific images later on when I need them.
Tall Wing (No.3), Mixed Media on Wood, 20″ x 24″, 2012
Five Percent, Collage on Paper, 11″ x 14″, 2011
Lounge (No.2), Mixed Media on Wood, 20″ x 20″, 2012