Recycled Art: Collage (Part 2)

“Every artist needs to find the right material through which he can express himself.” -David Mach, sculptor

Last week I wrote about a method of recycling old magazines etc to produce a work of art. In terms of collage making, this is an effective, but basic technique. However, artists are not restricted to paper based materials when creating their artwork. Almost any unwanted object can be recycled to become a part of a bigger, creative picture.

Here are a few examples of artists that use a broad range of resources:

Jane Perkins

I am a ‘re-maker’, taking inspiration from found objects and working them into something new.

Using mostly plastic materials (buttons, beads etc), Jane Perkins recreates paintings by the Old Masters. Inspired by Impressionism, Perkins’s artwork needs to be viewed from a distance to see the full picture, however a close-up look will reveal the thousands of ‘found’ objects used to produce such amazing outcomes.

Tom Deininger

Tom Deininger also uses plastics in his collages. If you look closely at his artworks, you will see that they are made up of small toys as well as buttons and other everyday objects. Not only must it be difficult to create a realistic image from the amalgamation of material, but we can imagine finding objects of the precise colour is a nightmare.

Zac Freeman

My final example today is Zac Freeman. Similarly to the previous two artists, Freeman uses found objects or ‘junk’ to build portraits that are better off viewed at a distance. Up close, evidence of buttons, beads, broken computer parts and lego bricks can be seen amongst the collection of materials. Whereas Perkins and Deininger painstakingly sought out particular colours,  Freeman has been more relaxed, using a rainbow of colour to produce an interesting effect.

What can you make with all the junk and unwanted objects around you? Perhaps you could recycle it into a fantastic work of art!

Recycled Art: Collage

Recycled art is not something that’s beautiful but just a waste of time and space. It’s like alchemy which turns base metal into gold, except that it turns trashes into gold.

In this day and age, recycling is something that is regarded as extremely important. The government leads us to believe that we are doing something good for the environment by placing paper, cardboard, plastic bottles etc into specially labelled bins. In actually fact, recycling is something that humans have been doing for centuries – it is human nature to reuse things, make-do-and-mend or just “I think I’ll put this broken thing in the shed, it may come in handy one day.”

Recycling can also play a role in art. Every artist is always creating some new – a new portrait, a new landscape painting, a new drawing and so forth. In fact, it is impossible to produce something old. The methods in which the artist goes about making their masterpiece, however, is not limited to new materials. Using pre-existing materials within artworks has become fairly popular in recent years. One such method is collage – a combination of materials stuck onto a backing to produce a picture or pattern.

Derek Gores

American artist Derek Gores, encompasses the idea of recycling in his captivating collages.  From using very simple materials – magazines and labels amongst other printed elements – Gores creates realistic images. From a distance, some of his work could be mistaken for photographs, which is amazing considering that they are nothing but cut up pieces of paper.

Gores is mostly influenced by past abstract painters – those whose works have so much going on, it is difficult to completely focus on the overall picture without being distracted by the odd element. Although his work is not abstract in the same sense, there is so much to look at due to the significant amount of collaged parts, that it becomes impossible to view in the same way one might look at a photograph or painting.

Whether or not Gores is possibly contributing to the environmentally conscious world through his use of recycled material is up for debate, but it is admittedly a fantastic and beautiful way of doing so. Anyone can cut up paper and stick it down, yet to create such vivid, lifelike images is a very rare skill – something for us all to be jealous of!

Recycling “Boring” Greeting Cards

For years my Mum and I have been making our own greeting cards by cutting up and reusing shop bought cards. I also know a lot of other people who do this too. After Christmas and birthdays we sit down and cut out the parts that might come in useful: the “happy birthdays”and “merry Christmases,” stars, hearts and other shapes. But quite often we get “boring” cards – a painting or photograph that cannot be cut up into reusable parts. HOWEVER, if you have a creative mind, nothing is completely useless.

Here is one idea that will turn a generic image into an effective hand made greeting card. All you need is: 1 “boring” card, 1 blank card, a simple template (Google has many), a craft knife or scalpel, Blu-Tak, a glue stick, and a cutting board.

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In this instance I am using a greeting card version of Lowry’s The Old House, Grove Street, Salford 1948.

 

 

Step one: Cut the back of your “boring” card off, you will not need that part. Blu-Tak your chosen template onto the front of the card. This will prevent it from slipping when you begin to cut it out.

13059643_10207611221070037_138096388_nStep two: Using the knife, carefully begin to cut out the inner sections of the template, pressing really hard to make sure you go through both the paper and the card. Take your time, rushing leads to mistakes. If you have not used a craft knife before it would be a good idea to practice cutting out shapes, or following lines before starting on the real thing.

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Step three: Only once all the inner sections have been cut out should you begin to cut the outer shape. Depending of the complexity of your template you could either do this with scissors or the craft knife.

 

Step four: Once everything has been cut out, glue your cut out card onto the plain card and, voilà, your unique greeting card.

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Once you are confident with using a craft knife, the possibilities are endless! Have fun creating cards for all occasions and impress your family and friends.

(Sorry the examples are not that great. I’m out of practice!)