Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Collage Puzzle

Today, I wanted to talk a little about my collage process. I think that the finished product means more if you know the story behind it so I just wanted to give you a brief look into my collage construction.

First, I paint the canvas. It's very rare that I have anything in mind other than I'm into a certain color scheme or I have an inspiration. I normally will work on a number of canvases at a time which is why, my pieces often come in series. Most of the time my color scheme is almost a direct reflection of the current fashion color trends. High fashion is my greatest muse and passion. My first coats of paint are strong base coats with Gesso and acrylic paint. The next step is to let the base coat dry. Then over time I paint layers on until I feel the base painting is finished. Sometimes, this takes hours or sometimes this takes weeks of work and drying time. Water color paints are normally faster than acrylic paints.

Next I take the magazine tears that I've recently ripped out of the fashion magazines that month and I choose my inspiration piece. I normally base my choice on an outfit that the model is wearing or the color scheme of the photo shoot I've pulled from. I then pour through magazine after magazine until I find a couple of things that can could work with the inspiration.

Once, I have a good collection of things that I think are going to work together I do a preliminary cut- out. Getting most of the major parts cut down but, saving the detail cutting until the layout phase.

Then, I just start playing with the pieces and seeing what makes sense in the scene I'm starting to create. Sometimes, this comes very easily but sometimes I have to leave a half finished layout for days before everything starts to fall into place.

Finally, I cut out all the detail work and lock down how everything must fit together to get glued. This is what I call the collage puzzle. I mark the pieces with tiny bits of blue painters tape and take off everything but the bottom piece glueing my way up to the top piece of magazine cut-outs. I'm a big fan of spray adhesive for a non-wavy look. The trick is to coat each back in about four light layers of glue, let it congeal (about 5-7 depending on how wet it is) and then lightly tap in with the tip of my finger to carry it over to lay in it's marked spot on the collage. If you try and tap the piece and it doesn't easily stick to your finger then the glue needs more drying time. It's important not to mess up here but, things happen (you rip the fragile magazine paper while trying to get in in the exact right spot). When something go wrong. When "mess" something up; I use it as a sign that I need to add something. Then, I find the missing piece of the puzzle that covers up my mistake.

Finally, when the piece is complete I spray it lightly multiple times with a sealer for protection. If it will be in direct sun and not under UV glass make sure to spray it with a sealer that offers UV protection. Depending on your collage materials different sealers work best. So read your can to see what the sealer works best on (paper, chalk, charcoal, paint). Also, be aware that there are Shiny and Matte finishes so know what end product you are trying to achieve. I use shiny on my pieces with a lot of shimmer, light, or metallic. I like Matte for my matte acrylic paints and to use it in combination with Shinny helping to cut down on the glare.

I hope this gave you a behind the scenes look at how I produce my art. Happy creating my friends!

In "Puzzle" mode. Pre-tape phase.

Finished product.

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